“I hate the cowardice that Chavez has taken on, as well as that of his coach, Freddie Roach, and Bob Arum in avoiding every day the fight with me and promoting him as a champion in the boxing world, which is a lie,” said Martinez. “I never thought that a world champion would avoid somebody this way. Unfortunately, this sort of attitude can hurt our sport.”
Martinez said Sulaiman attempted recently to pursuade him to go along with Chavez’s bout against Rubio.
“On Dec. 20, Don Jose Sulaiman spoke to me, and he asked me to move aside and to let Chavez fight Rubio on Feb. 4. I was shocked. From then on, I felt like there was a knife that had been stabbed in my back. I told him that I had to speak with my team because that sort of decision is something that I can not decide by myself,” said Martinez.
“But people [apparently] thought that the WBC had thrown me some change or some money to step aside, but what had happened is that Don Jose said that I had authorized his decision. That’s an absolute lie. I have not authorized that fight. And from here on, that fight is the end of a lie.”
Martinez followed up his victory over Pavlik with a second-round knockout of Paul Williams in November, a rematch of their 2009 fight that Williams won by a controversial majority decision. Martinez was then forced, however, to give up his WBC belt for fighting Sergei Dzinziruk in March on HBO, a bout Martinez won by an eight-round KO.
“The truth of the matter is that he lost the title because of HBO,” said Lewkowicz. “He was never treated like the rest of their boys.”
Martinez was then demoted to “Diamond” belt titleholder after the WBC elevated Sebastian Zbik to the status of full champion and mandated that Zbik face Chavez, who dethroned him by a unanimous decision in June.
“I don’t agree with what HBO did with me, and that’s why I’m leaving them at HBO,” said Martinez. “You know that for a boxer, it might be harder to say no to HBO and to the WBC. But there are a lot of changes today with HBO and with the Showtime boxing people.”
Martinez said that he would consider fighting Ward, who is contracted to Showtime “at a catchweight,” said Lewkowicz.
“I don’t know about the 168 pounds, but it’s an option. That would be a spectacular fight,” said Martinez. “Ward is a great champion, so that would be a spectacular fight, and I’m open to it. Let’s do it.”
Martinez also said that he might pursue a clash with RING No. 2-rated pound-for-pound fighter Floyd Mayweather Jr. should Mayweather fail to successfully negotiate a megabout with RING No. 1-rated pound-for-pound Manny Pacquiao, holder of the WBO’s welterweight belt.
“That door to Mayweather is definitely not shut,” said Martinez. “This is a business, so you can never shut any doors.”
Martinez also said that he was disappointed with words attributed to Sulaiman in The Manila Standard, where which the WBC president appeared to dismiss the physical abuse of women by their male counterparts in general, and, the case of Mayweather, in particular.
As a result of last Wednesday’s guilty plea to a charge of misdemeanor battery domestic violence and no contest on two counts of harassment, Mayweather was sentenced in Las Vegas to 90 days in jail starting on January 6. Mayweather was also ordered to pay a $2,500 fine, to complete 100 hours of community service and to undergo 12 months of treatment in a domestic violence program.
Sulaiman e-mailed a clarification of his comments to several media outlets, but Martinez believes that he needs to do more.
“Just a few days ago, Don Jose made some controversial statements in reference to Floyd Mayweather’s sentence for domestic violence,” said Martinez, who often visits women’s shelters and domestic violence centers in support of the victims.
“I know that he sent an apology, but I have the right to ask from Don Jose a public apology about the insensitive comments that he has said about the violence against women.”
Photos by Fightwireimages.com
Photos by Craig Bennett, Goossen Tutor Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org