By Steve Corbo
On Saturday, March 30, 2013, I saw one heck of a great fight when Mike Alvarado went to war for a second time with Brandon Rios. Alvarado came away with a unanimous decision victory setting up a third meeting between these two warriors. I think a couple of things must have made this such a sweet victory for Alvarado. First, redemption! He avenged his loss five months ago and evened up the score. Second, he was a 4 to 1 underdog when he stepped into the ring and he beat the odds!
Coming up on April 27, 2013, down in Buenos Aires, Argentina, another fighter is going to step into the ring, an even bigger underdog than 4 to 1. Little known Martin Murray from St. Helens, Merseyside in the United Kingdom, will be squaring off against WBC Middleweight Champion Sergio Martinez, with Sergio’s Middleweight title on the line.
Talk about an uphill battle… First, this is Sergio’s homecoming. A return to the country of his birth. The last time he fought there was on February 02, 2002, over 11 years ago. On April 27, the entire country of Argentina will be hailing the return of the conquering hero when he steps into that ring. In fact, once the match was made, it was the President of Argentina who announced the fight to the public, adding that the fight will be televised, free of charge, throughout the country, so all of Argentina can witness the event.
Let’s face the facts; Martin Murray isn’t being brought in to spoil the party.
Could it be a little national pride is on the line here? The last time a British invasion made so much noise was in April of 1982 when a British Naval Task Force, complete with Prince Andrew piloting a helicopter off the HMS Invincible, cut through the Argentine military like a hot knife through butter and retook the Falkland Islands.
Second, President or no President, Sergio Martinez is acknowledged as the top Middleweight in the world and pound for pound one of the top boxers in the world today. If the fight took place in Murray’s back yard, and Mrs. Murray was one of the three judges, Martin would still be an underdog in this fight!
But as much of a mismatch as this may seem, this is still a fight worth watching and I am happy to see that HBO is televising this bout. Make no mistake, Martin Murray is a pro and he can fight. He’s 30 years old (Martinez is 38) and he has yet to taste defeat in 26 professional bouts. On December 02, 2011 he fought German WBA Super Middleweight Champion Felix Sturm, in Germany, and walked away with a draw. And that was a lucky break for Sturm (The author was the ring announcer for this bout).
In addition to youth, Murray will have a couple of inches in height on Martinez and he is also the naturally bigger man. Martinez started off as a welterweight and has gradually moved up in weight while Murray is a natural middleweight. And if he can fight Sturm to a 12 round draw, in Germany, on a show promoted by Sturm, in front of a packed house of German fans all cheering for Sturm… you can bet Murray is one focused and mentally tough warrior who won’t get rattled by a hostile crowd in Argentina.
Murray is a long shot in this one, but this kid is for real and he will beat a lot of world class middleweights! He is rated #12 in the world by Boxrec, #9 in the world by Fightnews, Ring Magazine has him rated #7 in the world and he is the current WBA Interim World Middleweight Champion. He basically is unknown here in the US, but he’s a hungry young gun, looking to make a name for himself, and he’s taking on the top gun in the game. After April 27, Martin Murray will no longer be unknown.
Murray has the potential to give Martinez a heck of a fight. This kid can box and he is physically strong. However, fortunately for Martinez, Murray has only 11 KO’s in 25 wins. And then the big question has to be, how will he stand up to Sergio’s power? His chin will surely be tested, like it’s never been tested before.
Of course, the smart money has to be on Sergio. But I keep thinking about all the smart money guys who said “Buster Douglas has been stopped by Mike White, Tony Tucker and David Bay. He lost a decision to Jessie Ferguson and could do no better than a draw with somebody named Stefan Tangstad. He doesn’t even belong in the same ring with Tyson….” On April 27, I think Martin Murray is going to show us he belongs in the ring with Sergio Martinez.