After lengthy discussions with members of his team, now-former WBC Middleweight Champion Sergio "Maravilla" Martinez has decided to continue his boxing career.
Determined to return and erase the terrible memory of what happened against fellow-great Miguel Cotto in June, 39-year-old Martinez will next face a top-10 contender with the goal of recapturing his world title.
"Miguel De Pablos (Business Manager) and I met with Sergio at his home in Madrid and he says he is 100% healthy and ready to do what it takes to return to the very top of boxing," said Martinez advisor Sampson Lewkowicz.
Lewkowicz says Martinez will first undergo a full battery of head-to-toe testing from top specialists in New York, but pending full medical clearance, the former champion will be returning to the ring on a mission.
"Against Cotto, Sergio was badly hurt in the opening round from the first left hook that landed," continued Lewkowicz, "after that, he remembers only pieces and had very little control of his body and especially his legs. He fought entirely on instinct. It was the worst night of his entire career and he is coming back to prove he is a superstar fighter who just had a bad night."
Martinez (51-3-2, 28 KOs) had been favored to defeat the smaller Cotto when the pair met last month at Madison Square Garden. But one monstrous Cotto left hook a minute into the fight led to three first-round knockdowns and an eventual 10-round stoppage loss.
While many speculated that Martinez's previously injured knee had affected the southpaw's normally cat-like agility in the fight, Lewkowicz says it was not the case.
"He got caught with an unexpected punch and it disconnected his body. It happens in boxing, especially against a puncher like Miguel Cotto. If you look at the tape of the fight, look how slow his hands were. A bad knee doesn't cause your hands to slow. It was clear it was not the real Sergio in the ring that night."
Lou DiBella of DiBella Entertainment, who will continue as Martinez's promoter, says a great fighter like Martinez deserves the benefit of the doubt if he still feels he can compete at an elite level.
"Obviously June 7 was a terrible night in the ring for Sergio Martinez," said the always outspoken DiBella. "But he says he can still do it and that he's totally committed to winning back his title, so I stand behind him. He's already come back to do great things after a stoppage loss to Antonio Margarito earlier in his career and he's positive he can do it again. So we're going to put him in with someone who can get him in line for a title shot and see what he can do. If he doesn't look to be the same fighter anymore, I will be the first to admit it, but he deserves the chance to prove it was just an off-night in an otherwise stellar career."
No opponent or return date have yet been finalized, but an announcement will be made in the near future.