BIOGRAPHY Sergio Maravilla Martínez

Sergio Gabriel Martínez was born on February 21, 1975 in Quilmes, Buenos Aires, Argentina. He is the middle brother of three. His father, Hugo Alberto, was a metal worker, who along with his wife Susana Griselda saw the need to uproot the family in order to provide food on their table. The family travels took them to places such as Quilmes, the Capital District of Buenos Aires, to Mar de Plata, and back to Quilmes. Sergio made it through elementary school and commercial secretarial classes. Eventually he had to forgo his studies when he saw the need to help his father feed the family by working from sun up to sun down.

From a very young age his athletic ability was evident. He starred on his local soccer team, Claypole, where he was the leading goal getter. At the age of 20 Sergio came very close to being signed by 1st division Los Andes. He played alongside players that today are still playing in the top leagues of Argentina. Following a family tradition, Sergio began to box at the age of 20 along with his uncle Ruben Paniagua. He was so talented that only five weeks later he made his amateur debut and was victorious over José Pisani. During this period he was being handled by his two uncles, Raúl and Carlos Paniagua. His unique crowd-pleasing style caught on, making him a hit with fans as well as the news media. His nickname "Maravilla" (Marvelous One) comes from a moniker that has stuck with him for the rest of his career. During an outstanding amateur career with a total of 41 bouts, Martínez was a 2-time Argentine Champion as well Inter Continental Champion. He was member of the National Team where he participated in the 1997 World Amateur Championships in Hungary, along with teammates Omar Narvaez, Javier Álvarez, Fabricio Nieva, Guillermo Saputo, and Santiago Nieva. ;

Martínez turned professional in December 1997 in his homeland of Argentina and Martínez proceeded to go undefeated in 17 fights while building a record of 16.0.1. During this time period, Sergio faced opponents of all styles and calibre –helping him to develop and work on slick combinations, superior hand speed, excellent footwork, punching power, and most importantly; his winner's mentality – all now highly developed skills he brings to the table as a seasoned fighter. In February of 2000, Martínez received the opportunity to fight outside of Argentina for the first time, at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. There he suffered his first defeat as a professional at the hands of Tijuana's rugged Antonio Margarito, a highly decorated former three-time world champion. Inexperience and bad planning by Sergio's manager at the time, led to his premature defeat. Martínez returned to his native Argentina for a fresh start.

With an injured hand and abandoned by his promoter, "Maravilla" refused to let the Margarito loss taint his intrinsic "fighter's" will. The warrior proved his spirit was still strong and returned a mere two months later, in April 2000, to reel off eight straight victories in his homeland over a two year period, including knockout victories over Adrian Walter Daneff And Javier Alejandro Blanco, respectively, to capture the WBO Latino and Argentine welterweight titles. Now a titlist, Martínez matured tremendously as an elite athlete and skilled technician. He took the time to hone his craft, make the necessary technical adjustments, and advance toward perfecting his style. On October 27, 2001, in defense of the Argentine belt, Martínez TKO'd Sergio Ernesto Acuña in seven rounds in Buenos Aires. It was an impressive victory for Martínez because the experienced Acuña was the ex-Argentine champion – having been stripped of the belt a year earlier. Following on more victory in Argentina, Sergio left home with not much more than a plane ticket to Europe and a bunch of telephone numbers. After four days of train travel he arrived in Madrid, minus his suitcases and his phone book that were lost along the way. A desperate Martínez managed to contact countryman Pablo Sarmiento who at the time was an IBO World Champion.

Martínez settled in the city of Guadalajara training under Gaby Sarmiento, the brother of Pablo. Under Sarmiento's tutelage, Martínez went on to win four fights in Spain. With the exception of the Margarito fight in Las Vegas, this was the first time Martínez was fighting outside of Argentina. He now successfully proved he could "take the show on the road". It culminated on June 21, 2003, in the M.E.N. Arena in Manchester, England, where an ecstatic Martínez captured the IBO 154 pound world title via unanimous decision over 17-1-1 Richard Williams. "Maravilla" impressed everyone present as he showcased his outstanding technical abilities – fast hands, quick feet, excellent reflexes, and an obvious will to win. His next two defenses were in enemy territory (the United Kingdom) where he faced Adrian Stone (33-4-2) and fought a rematch against Williams. Martínez, now riding high, earned two impressive IBO title defenses, both via stoppage.

In January, 2005, after Sergio had vacated the IBO title, he fought for the WBC Latino 154 lbs. belt against Albert Airapetian in León. Martínez scored a stoppage win in eleven rounds, after he knocked Airapetian down three times in the deciding round. Following this bout, rumours began to fly of an imminent world title opportunity. Determined to stay sharp and hopeful for his chance, Martínez remained busy with five victories over the likes of Álvaro Moreno, Tamaz Tskrialashvili, Presente Brito, Vasile Surcica, and Oliver Tchinda, including two successful defenses of WBC Latino title. After numerous postponements the WBC finally granted Martínez a semi-final elimination bout for their 154 lbs. world crown. Sergio faced Mexican Saúl Román at the Grand Plaza Hotel in Houston, Texas, on April 27, 2007. In his first return to the United States since his lone defeat to Margarito in Las Vegas, a determinated Martínez destroyed Roman in a four-round one-sided bout.

A vicious body shot ended the fight, and Martínez became more of a known commodity. In spite of the Roman fight being an official eliminator, the title opportunity continued to be elusive. At this point Martínez decided it was time to make a smart career move. He signed with well-known promoter Lou DiBella, of DiBella Entertainment, based in New York City. The move was designed to help Sergio become a more well known name in the US and win a world championship. With DiBella's guidance, Martínez has started to become a crossover star under the DBE banner. He has fought in the Bronx, New York, Las Vegas, Connecticut and California. Impressed American fans have been enamored by the Argentinean/Spanish sensation. Within six months, Sergio has earned victories over Russell Jordan, David Toribio, Archak TerMeliksetian and Alex Bunema. Martínez's triumph over number-one, world rated Bunema on October 4, 2008, at The Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, CA, was a masterpiece. Sergio flawlessly outboxed and outclassed Bunema with his signature quick southpaw style, and proceeded to beat Bunema all around the ring. The ringside doctor eventually stopped the fight before the beginning of the ninth round. Martínez picked up the interim WBC 154 lbs. title with victory, seen on HBO. The newly crowned titlist was back in action February 14, 2009, but ther was hardly any love in the air when he stepped in with former welterweight world champion Kermit Cintron. It had appeared Martínez was a knockout winner in the seventh round when he dropped Cintron who was then counted out by referee Frank Santore. However, after lengthy commotion, it was ruled Cintron had risen before Santore had counted to ten, and Santore only waved his arms to signify the end of the round. Still, after twelve rounds had concluded, most observers felt Martínez had won the majority of rounds. Still, the judges saw it another way, ruling the bout a draw but allowing Martínez to keep his title.

In May, 2009, the WBC elevated Martínez's status from interim to full champion at 154 lbs. due to the inactivity of title holder Vernon Forrest. Tragically, the tow will never get the chance to determine the deserving champion in the ring because on July 25, 2009 Vernon Forrest was murdered in a senseless act of gun violence in his home city, Atlanta, GA. The impact of Forrest's death hit the boxing community, including Martínez, hard. On 5th December 5 2009 at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ, "Maravilla" decided to fight the feared Paul Williams, one of the most avoided fighters at the moment and welterweight world champion. The fight, without any title in game, was a real twelve rounds drama, considered by many experts like the fight of the year. Finally, a majority decision makes the second loss in Martínez career, nine years later.

Despite the defeat, the big opportunity for the Argentinean arrives on the 17th April 2010 in the same scenario that in his last fight. The opponent would be the Middleweight World Champion Kelly Pavlik. Sergio, informed just five weeks in advance to replace the injured Paul Williams, is a surprise, and with a masterpiece of boxing, defeats the American, claiming the best in the 160 pounds. Sergio becomes thus a World Champion in two different weights and goes off to the big fights.

 

But his final emergence into the few best boxers in the world takes place in the first defense of his new belt, he knocks dramatically, and in a rematch, his former tormentor Paul Williams. In just two rounds, and a powerful left hand, Martinez finished 2010 considered the best fighter of the year and number three in the pound for pound ratings, just below Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather.

Since then, "Maravilla" Martinez has made three defenses of his title as lineal Middleweight World Championship, knocking out the Superwelterweight World Champion Sergei Dzinziruk in eight rounds, the Middleweight European champion Darren Barker in eleven rounds and also the British, and considered by everybody as the number 2 of the division, Matthew Macklin, by retirement in another eleven rounds. After being avoided again and again by Mayweather, Pacquiao, Cotto and Chavez, it seems that during 2012 Sergio Martinez will have finally his Big Night and definitively become the best pound for pound boxer on the planet.