Emanuel Steward: “Sergio Martinez should fight Andy Lee on March 17th, not Macklin”

Sergio MartinezBy Joseph Herron: Although a deal has not been finalized, sources have indicated that Martinez/Macklin is very close to becoming a reality for a March 17th date at the newly renovated Madison Square Garden.

Hall of Fame trainer Manny Steward sounds off on what he thinks about the potential match-up.

“I’m so upset about this. I know the fight with Macklin hasn’t been finalized yet, but the Andy Lee/Sergio Martinez match-up is a fight that HBO has been cultivating over the past year. Andy has appeared as Sergio’s co-main event in both of his network dates this year.”

“Andy deserves the fight with Martinez. He’s had to fight two very tough opponents on HBO and has really made a name for himself because of the dramatic nature of both bouts. To reward another relative unknown fighter with a Championship opportunity makes Sergio Martinez look bad. It makes him look like he is taking the easier fight with Macklin so that he doesn’t ruin a potential match-up with Chavez Jr.”

On October 1st of this year, the 6’2” Kronk Gym fighter virtually shut out fringe Middleweight contender Brian Vera for ten impressive rounds, hurting the rugged Texan several times throughout the contest and flooring his granite chinned opponent once in the 2nd stanza.

“Andy gave the best performance of his entire career and looked dominant against a tough fighter like Vera. He showed that he had the discipline to stay focused on the prepared game plan in fighting a smaller sized Middleweight. Martinez is afraid that Andy will have the same kind of success against him.”

“Andy has a four inch height advantage and would give Sergio the toughest fight he’s ever had as a Middleweight. He knows this. This is why I think they seem to be choosing the easier fight. They are doing the exact same thing that they’re accusing Chavez Jr. of doing.”

Sergio Martinez and promoter Lou DiBella have publicly criticized WBC Middleweight title holder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. of avoiding Martinez and not fighting the best opposition available.

During the 2011 WBC Convention in Las Vegas, the sanctioning organization announced that Chavez Jr. would have to defend his Middleweight strap against the universally recognized 160 pound kingpin in 2012, or be stripped of the coveted WBC title.

“This is the main reason why they want the easier fight with Macklin on March 17th,” explains Manny Steward. “They see the obvious dangers in fighting a big strong fighter like Andy and they don’t want to do anything to disrupt their plans of facing Chavez Jr. later this year.”

The 27 year old fighter from Limerick, Ireland, feels confident that he can indeed upset the Ring recognized Middleweight Champion.

“I believe that I’m ready for him,” states Andy Lee. “Obviously, Sergio is the best in the division and he deserves the WBC Diamond Belt. But in me, he faces a guy that he’s never seen before; someone who is physically bigger than he is who can actually punch, and someone with the technical skills to give him trouble as well.”

Manny Steward truly believes that a fight with Andy Lee on March 17th must be made for the good of the Middleweight division.

“The fight between Lee and Martinez is the biggest and most interesting fight that can be made in the division, outside of a fight with Chavez Jr. of course. So, I feel that this fight must be made for the good of boxing. The fans of the sport are tired of seeing the best avoid the best.”

Article posted on 27.12.2011

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