Thursday, May 8, 2014

Fighter Stayed in the Game

Fighter Stayed in the Game
Ready for Next Oppoenent
By Rich Mancuso
BRONX, NEW YORK, MAY 8- Steven Martinez knows how the boxing business works. The 24-year-old middleweight from the Bronx has been a professional since 2009. But the fights were not coming at a pace to validate his claim a fighter with potential to make noise in a competitive division. Then, as a fighter has to do, he made a change. Recently he signed a new deal with the new Dmitriy Salita, (Star of David) promotional group that also works in conjunction with the former champion, Roy Jones. Jr.
Salita, a one time a welterweight contender, had his share of difficulties with the promoters and as much as Jones had success as a champion, he also had his trials and tribulations. In other words boxing is a business. A fighter has the opportunity when it is presented, however there are obstacles.
At times a fight is scheduled and suddenly an opponent can’t make weight, or a promoter has no contingency plan to find a last minute opponent. Or there are the issues of the trainer, fighter, and promoter not being on the same page.
That has been a part of the boxing business for years. And Martinez has been on that side of it; that, is until he signed with Salita. The fights are constant and Martinez is scheduled for his second under the Salita banner next Thursday night at the Millenium Theatre in Brooklyn.  The six-round fight is scheduled and the opponent, for the 14-1 Martinez, is Antonio Chaves Fernandez.
“Definitely they are promoters and coming up both were fighters so they see the ins and outs better,” commented Martinez who is in the final phases of training. His first fight with the Salita promotion was in late February, also at the Millenium, when he got the TKO in the sixth and final round over Rahman Mustafa Yusubov.
So, what has been the difference? Previously he was under the management of former NY Giants running back Brandon Jacobs and fought under the DiBella Entertainment banner.
Martinez is just a fighter. He may not know what went wrong in the past. But, he is aware, the career is on the move again and that is all he wants.
“They see the fighter's view and promoter's view,” he says about two former fighters in the promotional business. “Hopefully they treat the boxers the way they were treated. The first time around was a learning experience. I’m more grown now, seasoned. I have experience. I know how to fight. The first time I was learning the business.”
And waiting for fights, preparing and then getting cancelled off cards, Martinez certainly learned how the boxing business worked. But, as he continued to be patient and strived for the opportunity there was interest by others. Though, the loyalty to his previous promoter and management only stalled a promising career.
That, though, seems to be in the past and Martinez, with a new three-year deal, hopes to be making noise quick and soon.
As he says, “They (Salitia) were always interested in me but I was signed by someone else. They were knocking at the door. Once I was a free agent they were calling me every other week. I was out for a year… It was a big issue. Now everything is in the past. Now it’s a new chapter for me. I felt it was the time.”
His trainer, Marco Suarez has been with Martinez all the time. Training has been going well at Pop's Gym in the Norwod section of the Bronx. Martinez, married and a father devotes his time to his family. Boxing is what he always wanted to do, and there was never a moment during the hiatus about hanging up the gloves.
“This is what I love,” he says. “I’m not backing away from nobody. I train hard, work very hard. I’m still aggressive. I’ve been doing this half my life. I was still in the gym, frustrated I wasn’t fighting. It’s part of the business. I stood with my head high and positive   I didn’t think it was going to last 16- months, more than a year.
Yes, Martinez moved on. And in the sport of boxing when there is a second chance the opportunity does present itself. The journey continues with his new promoters in a week and Martinez is anxious to get back in the ring.
This time though, it won’t be a long time.
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