November 23, 2011 / 5:51 PM / 6 years ago

Ambitious Martinez eyeing Mayweather clash

Middleweight champion Sergio Martinez from Argentina removes hand tape after the boxing training session in Madrid November 23, 2011. REUTERS/Juan Medina

MADRID (Reuters) - World middleweight champion Sergio Martinez believes his most realistic chance of winning recognition as the world’s best boxer lies in a bout with American Floyd Mayweather Jr.

The 36-year-old Argentine (48-2-2), named 2010 Fighter of the Year by the Boxing Writers Association of America, told Reuters that Manny Pacquiao was reluctant to take him on.

He accused the Filipino of making unrealistic weight demands and said he was targeting the undefeated Mayweather instead.

Welterweight Pacquiao (54-3-2) currently tops the list of the best pound-for-pound boxers compiled by ‘The Ring’ magazine ahead of Mayweather (42-0-0), also a welterweight, in second place with Martinez third.

“It’s a disgrace what they (Pacquiao’s camp) are asking,” Martinez, a former cyclist and soccer player who came late to boxing, said in an interview in the Spanish capital after a training session at a local gym.

“It would be better if they just said they didn’t want to fight me, because they know I’ll knock him out.”

Martinez, who sports an elaborate dragon tattoo on his left bicep, said Pacquaio’s people had told him he would have to agree to slim down to 147 pounds and limit his weight to 150 pounds for the actual bout.

“We are working on a long-term plan to stabilize my weight at 154 pounds in case a fight with Mayweather can be organised,” Martinez said.

Middleweight champion Sergio Martinez from Argentina works out during a boxing training session in Madrid November 23, 2011. REUTERS/Juan Medina

”To be considered the best pound for pound I just need this little push, a great fight with one of the two.

“I feel as if I have achieved nothing yet in boxing. Nothing. If I quit tomorrow people would forget about me. I would even forget about myself.”

LUCRATIVE CLASH

Middleweight champion Sergio Martinez from Argentina hits a punching bag during a boxing training session in Madrid November 23, 2011. REUTERS/Juan Medina

Martinez may have a tough time making a match with either of the big two, at least until they have met each other in the fight eagerly awaited by boxing fans.

Pacquiao has never fought above 150 pounds and is under no pressure to accept a meeting with the Argentine, while Mayweather treasures his unbeaten record and may be loath to take on a dangerous bout before cashing in with a lucrative clash with Pacquiao.

Pacquiao’s latest victory, a majority decision against Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez in Las Vegas this month, disappointed even some of his most ardent supporters back home in the Philippines.

Martinez was scathing about Pacquiao, saying the Filipino did not deserve to be considered the world’s best.

“I don’t know when the last time was that Pacquaio took on one of the best pound-for-pound fighters,” Martinez said.

“Marquez today is not the fighter he was five years ago. I just need one chance, one fight against either one of them (Pacquiao or Mayweather). I think I deserve to be where I am.”

Additional reporting by Larry Fine in New York, writing by Iain Rogers in Madrid

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