Lem Satterfield

Martinez wants to fight Ward, and vice versa

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RING middleweight champion Sergio Martinez said on Thursday afternoon that he would be open to facing RING super middleweight champ Andre Ward at a catchweight.

The 27-year-old Ward (25-0, 13 knockouts) told RingTV.com on Thursday evening that he would jump at the opportunity.

“My response to a matchup with Sergio Martinez is pretty short and sweet,” said Ward, who is promoted by Dan Goossen. “I like it. Hopefully the fight can be made.”

Ward’s response came in the wake of assertions made by the 36-year-old Martinez (48-2-2, 27 KOs) during a press conference in his native Argentina. Martinez also renounced his WBC “Diamond” belt and indicated that he might pursue a relationship with Showtime over HBO, which he feels has mistreated him.

Contracted to Showtime, Ward defeated RING No. 3-rated, super middleweight Carl Froch (28-2, 20 KOs) on Dec. 17, adding Froch’s WBC belt to the WBA crown he already owned and also capturing the network’s Super Six World Boxing Classic Championship Cup.

Some media outlets already have honored Ward’s effort against Froch as a Fighter-of-The-Year-caliber unanimous decision victory.

Martinez said that he would consider fighting Ward, who is contracted to Showtime, “at a catchweight,” according to his advisor, Sampson Lewkowicz.

“I don’t know about the 168 pounds, but it’s an option,” said Martinez. “That would be a spectacular fight.”

During the press conference, Martinez expressed disappointment in what he feels is the WBC’s failure to follow through with last week’s mandate that WBC middleweight beltholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. face him in his next bout.

Chavez will instead defend his belt against Marco Antonio Rubio on HBO on Feb. 4 at Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. Martinez is coming off an 11th-round knockout of Darren Barker in October while Chavez scored fifth-round stoppage of Peter Manfredo Jr. last month.

Martinez is scheduled to face RING No. 3-rated middleweight Matthew Macklin (28-3, 19 KOs) on March 17 at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

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