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Gennady Golovkin vs Sergio Martinez: 'Maravilla' now the hunted

Lee Cleveland Updated
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Two years ago, fans demanded to see then WBC Middleweight Champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr defend his title against RING/Lineal Champion Sergio 'Maravilla' Martinez, who held the WBC strap previously before being forced to relinquish it.
Martinez had been granted 'emeritus' status by the WBC, the right to an immediate title shot should he desire it. 

And although Marivilla was essentially the WBC's mandatory contender, it seemed Team Chavez was intent on sidestepping him.

Moreover, the WBC initially seemed reluctant to enforce its own edict, seemingly content with the young, popular Mexican as its champion.

The organization was in no hurry to match its old champion against its new star as evidenced by the immediacy, or lack thereof, of the rematch.

After winning the WBC Middleweight strap in June 2011, Chavez Jr, instead of facing Martinez, the mandatory opponent, defended his title against the likes of Peter Manfredo Jr, Marco Antonio Rubio and Andy Lee.

During this time, Team Martinez, the media, and fans publicly taunted Team Chavez, insisting they were scared.


"It's better to die on your feet than to live on your knees," Sergio Martinez's manager, Sampson Lewkowicz, told FightSaga in March 2012 in response to Team Chavez's presumed avoidance.

But finally, thanks to public demand and a little pressure from the WBC, Martinez vs Chavez finally happened in September 2012.

The pay-per-view numbers were strong, the fans and promoters were happy, the fighters were paid handsomely and the drama of the 12th Round made it a true 'fight for the ages.'

It was a win-win all around sans Chavez's testing positive for marijuana afterwards.

And looking back, the Martinez vs Chavez bout hadn't matured anyway until Fall 2012.

Chavez Jr looked so strong in his three title defenses, Martinez vs Chavez Jr was no longer universally considered a mismatch because the young man had legitimized himself as a formidable foe and interest peaked as a result.  

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The delay helped build the fight, making it much bigger than it would have been had they fought 4, 8, or 12 months prior.

Now, fast-forward to November 2013. Today, the proverbial shoe is on the other foot.

Just as Martinez called out Chavez Jr, Gennady Golovkin now calls out Martinez. And Golovkin, the WBA Middleweight Champion, like Martinez two years ago, has convinced a sizeable portion of the media and fans he's the division's best.

Two years ago, general consensus among fans was Chavez's handlers were trying to shield their fighter from Martinez. Today, many of those same fans now believe Team Martinez will avoid Gennady Golovkin at all cost.

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Sergio Martinez is now the hunted.

So what's the big deal? Doesn't Golovkin already have a world title?

Although both men hold major world titles, Gennady Golovkin, for now, is simply that - a "title-holder." 

Sergio Martinez is the RING Magazine Middleweight Champion. He's the lineal heir to the real and legitimate middleweight crown and the true champion.

Second, since Martinez and Golovkin are viewed by fans and the media as far and away the two best, most popular fighters in the division, a Martinez vs Golovkin match-up is Gennady's most lucrative, realistic option at 160 lbs.

Has the Martinez vs Golovkin match-up matured to the point where it's a legitimate PPV superfight a la Martinez vs Chavez Jr or Cotto vs Margarito 2?

If not now, will Sergio Martinez risk it all against boxing's most feared fighter, pound-for-pound, when the time is right?


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