Sergio Martinez: Can "Maravilla" Obtain The Legacy Of Marvelous Marvin Hagler?

Justin Tate@justindavidtateCorrespondent IJanuary 2, 2011

Sergio Martinez
Sergio MartinezAl Bello/Getty Images

Maravilla is the nickname given to Sergio Martinez. It means marvel in Spanish. Sergio Martinez is a freshly dominant world-class middleweight (160 lbs). He's well on his way to becoming the next great middleweight.

In order to make sure he becomes the next great middleweight, it might be a good idea for Sergio Martinez to compare himself to the best. In that regard, there isn't anyone else besides the greatest middleweight of all time, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, that Martinez should look toward.

Now, what makes Hagler better than other great middleweights? Bernard Hopkins has the most consecutive defenses by any other middleweight (20). Carlos Monzon defended his middleweight title for seven years, yet he isn't considered the greatest middleweight of all time.

Marvelous Marvin Hagler is the greatest middleweight for essentially three reasons.

1. Up until his very last fight, Marvin Hagler beat every opponent he ever faced and avenged his only two losses and two draws by knocking out his opponents. He obliterated his competition in every rematch and never loss by knockout.

2. Marvelous Marvin Hagler held his title for a decade, beating the title-holders to unify the major world title belts in the process.

3. He beat the best and most popular fighters at the time, Roberto Duran and Tommy Hearns. In his last fight, he fought Sugar Ray Leonard to a close and hotly debated loss. This is the only "loss" Hagler never got to avenge. Leonard never gave him a rematch. After that, Hagler retired with a marvelous career.

Sergio Martinez has been knocked out once before by Antonio Margarito early in his career. Sergio Martinez can't be expected to hold a title for an entire decade, because he's 35 now and turning 36 next month. This means Sergio Martinez will have to do some quick unique objectives to counter Hagler's accomplishments.

Martinez likely has three years of good prime fighting left within him. Martinez started late so his body is fading late, but Martinez likely won't be the same fighter at 40 or 39. So here's a year by year three-year plan for Martinez's rise to greatness.

Year One: Vengeance

Martinez has only one unavenged draw and one unavenged loss left on his record. Kermit Cintron made Martinez suffer a draw after he somehow got up after suffering what looked to be a ten-count knockout. Kermit proceeded to complain so well to the referee about a headbutt no one saw that the  referee stopped the clock and started up the next round.

The argument gave Cintron's legs time to recover and his mind time to think while Martinez thought he had won. Martinez still continued to fight well, but was rewarded a draw, despite many considering him the clear winner.

Martinez was again swindled out of a decision victory, but this time against Paul Williams. Sergio Martinez landed the harder shots and was far more evasive. Instead of suffering a second career loss, Paul Williams won by majority decision in his first fight with Martinez.

To avoid another theft of victory, Martinez KO'd Williams with a perfectly timed left hand in the second round of their rematch.

Martinez will likely do the same to Kermit Cintron. All Martinez has to do is put Cintron down repeatedly to make him unable to even remotely win on the scorecards or put him down permanently so the scorecards are entirely not necessary.

Antonio Margarito gave Martinez his first loss over ten years ago. Now that may seem insignificant now, but it would mean a lot for Martinez if he could avenge the loss. Bob Arum, Margarito's promoter, seems content to match his fighters against each other.

In order to get this match, Martinez will likely have to come up with a good ppv proposal. Right now, HBO has the hots for Martinez. They loved that his rematch with Paul Williams was their second highest rated boxing program of 2010. They love that he's attractive. They love that there's money to be made off his boxing ability.

With that said, HBO would likely bend over backwards to convince Bob Arum to let Margarito fight Martinez in a ppv (pay-per-view). This could be a good barometer for Martinez's popularity. Cintron would most definitely get picked up by HBO, but only for a match that would air on HBO's regular programming.

Antonio Margarito is a ppv mainstay from his win over Miguel Cotto and loss to Manny Pacquiao. Martinez is a growing star with highly watched matches on HBO. This sounds like the makings of a hit, especially if placed around a BIG Hispanic holiday and packed in with a few HBO 24/7 documentary segments.

Year Two: Unification

This will require Martinez to be a draw filled with money that no one can turn down. Year one will take care of making Sergio Martinez into a star. This year will make him a legend.

As of right now, there are three other major middleweight world champions besides Sergio Martinez. Felix Sturm, trained by Freddie Roach, holds the WBA middleweight title and has done so since April of 2007. Sebastian Sylvester holds the IBF middleweight title and has done so since September of 2009. Dmitry Pirog is the youngest and newest of the bunch, a 30-year-old who won his title last July.

One method is to start campaigning with his promoters for a Middleweight World Boxing Tournament to counteract the excellent tournaments Showtime has been putting on. HBO has been losing ground to its rival, so if Martinez (HBO's biggest new star) comes with a tournament idea, they will at least listen.

The tournament doesn't need multiple rounds of round robin like the Super Six on Showtime. The tournament can just have the four middleweight champions fight in two matches. Maybe Felix Sturm against Sylvester Sebastian and Martinez versus Pirog. The winners could take each other on and HBO could film a special 24/7 documentary series to accompany the tournament over the course of the year.

Fighters often fight twice a year so this works perfectly within the confines of that period of time. Sturm and Sebastian have history between each other. Sturm beat Sebastian by unanimous decision on November of 2008. Pirog is a young fighter and Martinez is an older fighter. Young versus old always creates an interesting dynamic and lots of drama for the cameras to capture before the fight begins.

Year Three: Superfights

After beating Cintron and Margarito to avenge past defeats and unifying the middleweight titles, Sergio Martinez should be well on his way to a few superfights.

Manny Pacquiao will be two years older than now. That means his body chemistry will be changing and likely adapt to being at a higher weight. Fighters tend to move up in weight over time. Sergio Martinez is currently barely a middleweight. In two years, Sergio Martinez will be a full-fledged middleweight.

Manny Pacquiao has said he'll fight for three more years. If that is definitely true, then Martinez could catch him on his way out, especially if Martinez's ppv sales are very good.

Martinez versus Margarito and the middleweight finals could make two great selling ppvs, but only if HBO backs them right with heavy promotion and their famous 24/7 documentary series. Martinez needs to be a proven money-maker so his previous ppv sales being stacked high is imperative toward this final year working out well.

For historical precedence, let's look at Roberto Duran versus Marvin Hagler.

Roberto Duran came furiously with punches in bunches like Manny Pacquiao. His reach was short and height was only 5'7" compared to Manny Pacquiao's 5'6 1/2". Pacquiao has a 67-inch reach, one inch longer than Duran's. Both fighters had tough chins.

Roberto Duran fought a full 15-round fight with Marvin Hagler. The fight was scored for Roberto Duran by round 12, but Hagler pulled through to win at the end of round 15. Fights today end after 12 rounds. If Hagler and Duran can be compared to Martinez and Pacquiao, a 12-round fight could end in a similar fashion. Pacquiao could win by split decision. Martinez better be on his game and learn from Hagler's mistakes in that match.

There are only two other superfights for Sergio Martinez outside of one with Manny Pacquiao. Floyd Mayweather is one of those options. Sergio Martinez has historical precedence for helping to understand how to get a fight with Mayweather.

Sergio Martinez should look at Hagler's fight to get the fight with Sugar Ray Leonard made. Hagler had been out of the ring for over a year trying to campaign for a fight with Leonard. Hagler knew Leonard was the bigger star and Leonard was coming off a three year layoff.

Leonard said he wanted something and Hagler's people gave into his demands. Instead of the normal 15 round fight, Leonard got 12. Leonard got 12-ounce gloves instead of the usual eight- to 10-ounce gloves. Leonard also got an unusually large 24ft by 24ft ring. These things would help Leonard dance round the ring, block hard punches, and try to cruise to a unanimous decision victory.

Hagler gave Leonard all his demands to make sure he got this wonderful payday. Hagler got paid, but also got bamboozled out of a decision victory in many viewers' eyes. Leonard ran and flurried every now and then as Hagler exploded punch after punch in search of Leonard's body and chin.

Sergio Martinez would have to follow Hagler's example to get Mayweather in the ring. Agreeing to the unlimited blood testing is a start.

Agree to 10 ounce gloves, a large ring, and whatever else Mayweather may demand numerous advantages to counter either time spent in "retirement" or in prison, where he won't stay for long with the highly paid celebrity lawyers by his side to garner him only the very lightest of sentences IF he gets convicted.

Besides Mayweather and Pacquiao, there exists one final match. Martinez could fight in a rubber match with Paul Williams. A rubber match is a third match to settle the score between two fighters who each have one win over the other.

Paul Williams will not be in a rush to rematch Sergio Martinez who handed him such a horrible first knockout loss. But with that match being two-three years gone in the past, Williams will hopefully be a better fighter through vigorous training and hard sparring. The first match was nominated for fight of the year awards in 2009. Their second match was the knockout of the year in 2010.

Paul Williams and Sergio Martinez could lead to both fight and knockout of the year honors from various publications. Martinez could easily retire if he can land at least two of the possible three superfights I've named. Losses and draws completely avenged, unified middleweight division and two or three superfights is a great way to end a great career and earn the nickname Maravilla.


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