Martin Murray may feel he was robbed of a deserved victory over RING middleweight champion Sergio Martinez last weekend but he knows a rematch is completely out of the question.
Make no mistake, the British contender, the magazine’s No. 7 at 160 pounds, would love to set the record straight after losing a close, albeit unanimous decision to local favourite Martinez in Buenos Aries, Argentina.
However, the fact Murray, from St Helens, England, came so close to dethroning the 38-year-old WBA holder on Saturday – he dropped Martinez in the eighth and, arguably, in the tenth, too, though it was ruled a slip – means there is zero chance of him getting that second shot.
“I’d love the chance to fight Martinez again, but there’s no way I’ll get the opportunity,” said 30-year-old Murray (25-1-1, 11 knockouts). “Martinez is amongst the top five pound-for-pound fighters in the world and I had him down twice, bossed him and lost a very close, debatable decision in his own backyard so I think I’ve proved I belong at world level.
“I’m obviously gutted not to be taking the belt home but I’m happy and proud that I can leave Argentina with my head held high, knowing that I represented St. Helens and Great Britain. If it was fair scoring then I would have got the decision but it was always going to be an uphill battle in Argentina. I knew that when I accepted the fight.
And in an emotional message to his entourage, Murray, promoted by Ricky Hatton, promised to win a title via another route.
“I just want to say a massive thank you to my family, friends and team. I’m so lucky to have these people around me, especially Oliver Harrison, who is just an amazing trainer. I know that one day I’ll get them that world title that they all deserve.
“Also, a big thank you to Sergio Martinez, his team and the people of Argentina. From day one we were all treated so well and really looked after.”
Murray’s next step may be to silence the domestic debate regarding who is the top British middleweight. Both Darren Barker (25-1, 16 KOs) and Matthew Macklin (29-4, 20 KOs) are possible opponents. Hatton, however, reckons Murray’s brave performance in South America surpassed anything Barker and Macklin produced in respective defeats to Martinez, both of which ended in the 11th round.
“I think Martin should be the middleweight champion of the world,” said the Hitman. “It was a good competitive fight but there was only one winner for me. Martin was the aggressor. He also scored a knockdown and it should have been two in my opinion.
“But if one good thing did come out of the fight, it’s that we now know Martin is the best middleweight in Britain. His performance against Martinez eclipsed those of Macklin and Barker by a long way.”
Photo: Juan Mabromata-AFP/Getty