Although Sebastian Contursi has served as an advisor to Marcos Maidana throughout most of the Argentine's career, he has officially managed the fighter for nine bouts, starting with a unanimous decision over ex-beltholder DeMarcus Corley in August of 2010.
So Contursi was there in June of 2009, when Maidana rose from three knockdowns while scoring two of his own during a sixth-round knockout win over future 147-pound beltholder Victor Ortiz.
The triumph over Ortiz helped Maidana to rebound from his previous loss by split-decision to Andriy Kotelnik in February of 2009.
After the Corley fight, Contursi facilitated Maidana's clash with Amir Khan, against whom Maidana rose from a first-round knockdown before losing by unanimous decision in December of 2010.
Contursi was also by Maidana's side in April of 2011 for his next bout, when Maidana won a disputed majority decision over ex-beltholder Erik Morales that was followed by a fourth-round stoppage win over Peter Petrov in September of that year.
And after Maidana (35-3, 31 knockouts) suffered a one-sided loss to to Devon Alexander in his 147-pound debut in February of last year, Contursi was the catalyst for switching to trainer Robert Garcia, under whom Maidana was transformed from a demoralized boxer into a rejuvenated winner of three straight fights by knockout: in the eighth round over Jesus Soto Karass, the third against Angel Martinez and the sixth opposite Josesito Lopez..
In August, Contursi announced that Maidana was signing with high-powered boxing manager/advisor Al Haymon, whose impressive list of clients includes Alexander, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Adrien Broner, Danny Garcia, Paulie Malignaggi, Deontay Wilder, Peter Quillin, Gary Russell Jr., Erislandy Lara, Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter, and Chris Arreola, among others.
Then, on Dec. 14, Maidana dethroned three-division beltwinner Broner (27-1, 22 KOs) as WBA welterweight titleholder.
"Marcos Maidana has worked hard for the last few years to recover from that disappointing Devon Alexander fight, and I think that he's done it," said Contursi.
"Marcos Maidana is an entertaining fighter every time that he steps into the ring, To be honest, we think that he still is one of the best out there. Maidana beat Adrien Broner fair and square, and I think that he deserves the right to fight Floyd Mayweather."
Contursi said that he has not had any formal discussions with either Haymon or Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer regarding Mayweather.
"We've not talked about any of this, and I've not talked to Richard about the Mayweather fight. Marcos is at home, enjoying the holidays with his family, and his pregnant wife," said Contursi. "Al just left me a message wishing me a great holiday, but I was away from home before Dec. 25, and I returned the call, wishing him well. But that's all."
During the week after defeating Broner, Maidana was mentioned by Mayweather (45-0, 26 KOs) as being "in the lottery jackpot box" as potentially his next opponent for a planned May 3 return to the ring at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
There is also wide speculation that final details are close to being completed for Mayweather to face Khan. Regarding a potential fight with Manny Pacquiao, Mayweather said it "won't happen" because the eight-division titlewinner is promoted by Golden Boy rival Top Rank.
"Obviously, we feel that Maidana is deserving of a shot at Floyd, but it seems like Khan is the leading candidate. We can totally understand it from a business standpoint," said Contursi.
"But I think that the people, the public has already said that Maidana is the one who deserves that shot. So if the Pacquiao fight is impossible to get done, and you have to choose between Khan and Maidana, I think that you go with Maidana."
Although he has yet to compete as a true 147-pounder, Khan's resume includes unanimous decisions over Maidana and Kotelnik as well as a technical decision victory over Mexican great Marco Antonio Barrera.
In his past two bouts, Khan won by 10th-round knockout over Carlos Molina (not to be confused with the IBF junior middleweight titleholder of the same name) and by unanimous decision over former titleholder Julio Diaz.
Meanwhile, Mayweather took shots at Khan and Maidana through his Twitter account.
"Just imagine what Amir 'Con Artist' will get," reads the caption beneath a photo of Khan, who is falling backward in a fight with Mayweather, "if his name gets picked in the Mayweather sweepstakes."
The face of Maidana, meanwhile, absorbs the impact of a Mayweather right hand.
"Can I please order a one-piece with a biscuit?" reads the Maidana caption. "No sides."
"Obviously, Marcos has has been interested in what he has seen on the internet with Floyd's photoshopped pictures, or whatever you want to call it," said Contursi. "No dispect to Amir, but I don't think that, under the current situations, Amir deserves to be the one."
Other possibilities for Maidana include Porter (23-0-1, 14 KOs), who has stated his case for a bout with Maidana after having dethroned Alexander for the IBF's 147-pound belt on Dec. 7, and Thurman (22-0, 20 KOs), who declared himself ready for Maidana following a ninth-round stoppage of Soto Karass on the Maidana-Broner card.
WHY DOES SAMPSON LEWKOWICZ HAVE TWO BIRTHDAYS?
Sampson Lewkowicz celebrates his 63rd birthday on Dec. 30, even though his driver's license lists his date of birth as Jan. 10. The situation developed as a result of a miscue by Lewkowicz's father, Aczyak, pronounced "Isaac."
"I was born Dec. 30, but my father was away partying after Uruguay had won the World Cup over Brazil," said Lewkowicz, of a game won by Uruguay in July of 1950. "He was away all of that time, and when he came back, he listed me in the books as being born on Jan. 10. Everybody called him 'Tito,' and he spent all of his life apologizing to me."
Sampson Lewkowicz said that his mother's name was Elisa, whose name is the same as the wife of his son, Nathan Lewkowicz.
"My dad is Uruguayan, but his ancestry comes from Poland. My grandmother was from Hungary, and my grandfather was from Poland," said Nathan. "They came to South America basically around the time that Hitler was coming into power, so they got out of Eastern Europe as quickly as they could."
Meanwhile, Sampson Lewkowicz said that his client, RING/WBC 160-pound champion Sergio Martinez (51-2-2, 28 KOs) still is involved in negotiations for a bout with three-division titlewinner Miguel Cotto (38-4, 31 KOs), the latter of whom said that he favors a bout on June 7 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Martinez's promoter, Lou DiBella, is in talks with Top Rank.
ARGENIS MENDEZ-RANCES BARTHELEMY ON FRIDAY
Former undisputed heavyweight champion Mike Tyson will be on hand at Thursday's final press conference and weigh-in to be held at the Pourhouse in Minneapolis for Friday's ESPN-televised card headlined by IBF junior lightweight titleholder Argenis Mendez (21-2-1, 11 KOs) against Rances "Kid Blast" Barthelemy (19-0, 12 KOs).
Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com