Lem Satterfield

Lewkowicz: Sergio Martinez is fine but future in boxing is uncertain

The adviser of Sergio Martinez said the aging fighter suffered a broken nose and no other injuries during Saturday's 10th-round stoppage loss to Miguel Cotto, whose victory for the RING and WBC middleweight championships at New York's Madison Square Garden made him the first Puerto Rican to earn four belts over as many different weight classes.

Sampson Lewkowicz also said that he has not addressed the notion of what is next for Martinez (51-3-2, 28 knockouts), a 39-year-old southpaw from Argentina.

"I don't think that he will be making any decision over the next few months. I think that he needs time to see how his body reacts and how he feels, mentally," said Lewkowicz, Martinez's advisor. "The people love him, he's an idol, but he doesn't need the money to fight again. If he asks my advice, I will give it to him, but it will be made to him, privately, and not to the public. He deserves that respect from me."

Martinez had last fought in April before facing Cotto, who floored him three times in the first round, once more in the ninth, and left him bleeding from a gash over his right eye after the bout. Martinez did not attend the post-fight press conference, instead, being examined at New York's Bellevue Hospital Center.

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"As far as his injuries, the only thing that there was was a broken nose. His hands were perfect. No damage," said Lewkowicz. "The only thing is that he got caught in the first round within the first minute of the fight, and he couldn't recuperate."

Promoted by Lou DiBella, Martinez had to rise from the canvas during each of his previous two unanimous decision victories over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in September 2012, and Martin Murray last April, while also having suffered knee injuries, among others, as a result of those bouts.

In between the ninth and 10th round, Martinez's trainer, Pablo Sarmiento did not allow the boxer to emerge from his stool, instead, electing to stop the fight. According to translations during HBO's replays of the exchange between Sarmiento and Martinez, the trainer told the boxer "Your knees are not working right, Sergio," and, "Your knees are not responding."

But Lewkowicz said Martinez told him that his knees were not a factor.

"Absolutely not. No knee [problems.]  What Sergio told me, precisely, is that he could not put his mind on his punches or on his legs or anything. Sergio told me that 'I tried to send the signal to my hands to move, and I tried to send a signal to my legs to move, but nothing was working,'" said Lewkowicz.

"This was how he expressed it to me was that whatever he tried to do, it wasn't working. So Sergio fought eight and a half rounds only by heart and instinct, and not the calm and control that Sergio Martinez usually does. Sergio is a great fighter who fought only by instinct and heart."

Prior to facing the 33-year-old Cotto (39-4, 31 KOs), Martinez was 7-0 with four knockouts since falling by majority decision to Paul Williams in December 2009, having avenged that loss by stopping Williams in the second round in November 2010.

Among Martinez's other triumphs is a decision victory over Kelly Pavlik to win the WBC's belt for the first time, and knockouts of former titleholders Sergei Dzinziruk and Darren Barker as well as one over contender Matthew Macklin. Martinez also battled to a draw with two-time beltholder Kermit Cintron.

After the Chavez fight, during which he regained the WBC's belt and also earned the WBO's title, Martinez received eight stitches to repair a cut over his left eye, two staples in his head, and suffered from both a broken left hand and torn ligaments in his right knee, the latter of which required surgery to repair.

Martinez required a second surgery after having damaged the knee injury, later determined to be a torn right meniscus, during his triumph over Murray.

Martinez is 35-2-1 with 22 knockouts since being stopped in the seventh round by Antonio Margarito in February 2000, and has been middleweight champion for four years since defeating Pavlik by unanimous decision in April 2010.

DiBella said after the fight that he is not going to try to talk Martinez into retiring and that the decision belongs to the boxer, even as he said that Martinez won't lack for things to do outside of boxing if he decides to leave the sport.

"The guy has a lot of heart," said DiBella. "But he wasn't the same after those three knockdowns in the first round."

Martinez was the subject of a documentary that covers much of his career, starting from his days as an amateur through his victory over Chavez Jr. Martinez also met fellow Argentine Pope Francis at the Vatican last October, marking the first time since Muhammad Ali that a boxer has met The Pope.

Lewkowicz has been with Martinez since the fighter's fourth-round knockout of Saul Roman in April 2007, a span of 16 fights over the course of which Martinez is 13-2-1, with nine stoppage wins.

"I have known this champion for almost eight years now, and I wish that every one of the other champions had watched their money like Sergio did, because he's done it the right way and he can make a wise decision based not on the money, but on what on simply he wants to do," said Lewkowicz.

"If Sergio makes a decision to retire, he doesn't need to work another day of his entire life. There are so many things that he can do. But I told him that whatever decision he makes, whether he has a farewell fight in Argentina to end his career, or another fight, or whatever he desires, we'll do our best to make it happen and to make his dream come true, or we will support him in whatever he chooses to do, next."

 

Video by Bill Emes

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