David Martinez Interview on Mayweather, Pacquiao, Chavez, Alvarez, Boxing History and much more... By David Tyler, Doghouse Boxing (Feb 7, 2012) Doghouse Boxing
writer, expert analyst, promoter.....just a few of the credentials that
qualify David Martinez as a boxing historian. He is also a member of
the World Boxing Hall of Fame....please welcome David into the doghouse.
David Tyler: David, what qualifies someone as a boxing historian?
David Martinez: Somebody that religiously, daily, every minute of their life, is passionately devoted to the sport of boxing.
DT: How many years have you accumulated using your criteria as a historian?
DM: I have about 52 years. It's in my life, my DNA, that's all I do. My house is like a boxing museum.
I noticed that on your website is a posting of your top 12 boxers. In
alphabetical order: Muhammad Ali, Henry Armstrong, Roberto Duran, Joe
Gans, Harry Greb, Eder Jofre, Jack Johnson, Benny Leonard, Joe Louis,
Carlos Monzon, Willie Pep, and Sugar Ray Robinson. How did you decide
these were the top 12?
DM: That's my personal opinion over 52 years. All of these fighters would
be 'all time' greats. My decisions were easy....let me give you an
example from my top Heavyweights also on the website.... people question
why I rate Jack Dempsey over Gene Tunney and bring up the fact that
Tunney beat Dempsey twice. I simply say this, 'at the pinnacle of both
of their careers, I believe that Dempsey was a better fighter than
DT: James Corbett lost twice to James Jeffries. Why do you rate Corbett higher than Jeffries?
DM: Same logic...I think that at the pinnacle of his career, Corbett was a
better fighter than Jeffries. Here's another example, I think that Joe
Frazier was a better fighter than George Foreman at the pinnacle of his
career even though Foreman beat him twice.
DT: Your pick as the greatest of all time?
DM: Sugar Ray Robinson....yesterday we had talked about Henry Armstrong and
the tough fights he had with Fritzie Zivic.....I had the pleasure of
interviewing Sugar Ray Robinson's wife, Millie, and she told me that
Sugar Ray told her that the toughest man he ever fought was Fritzie
Zivic, not Jake LaMotta as most would assume.
DT: David, where did we reach the pinnacle of boxing?
DM: There have been many pinnacles....boxing is a classic sport of
swings.....you have your highs and your lows. As I look at the 80's you
have Robert Duran, Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns, Pipino Cuevas, that
was an era where boxing peaked. Then it took swing to the opposite. The
Heavyweight division was not in good shape when Marciano retired. You
had someone like Floyd Patterson as champ and he was a good Heavyweight
but not a great one. Then came Ali and other great Heavyweights. So
there you have an example of what I call the pendulum swing. The true
boxing fanatics have been with the sport through the highs and lows and
that's also just the human nature of life.
DT: If forced to pick the highest pinnacle point in boxing, what would it be?
DM: I would have to say boxing reached the highest level on March 8,
1971....Joe Frazier vs. Muhammad Ali. I consider that the highest point
in my era of boxing...the fight of the century. Two undefeated
Heavyweight Champions meeting in such a stunning event. This not only
peaked boxing but it was a spectacle event on a global basis.
I consider the fight the greatest event in the history of sports. The
one sporting event that actually lived up to the hype!
DM: I totally agree. I remember all the particulars of the fight, what a
great night for boxing. You told me that your dad took you and your
brother. I went with my late father and friends and we had first row
seats in the balcony at the Grenada Theater. I remember the tickets cost
$15.00 which was a lot of money for a closed circuit fight. That fight
was not a Saturday night special....it was on a Monday night.
DT: What happened to boxing....why do we only have a few good fighters active today?
DM: Let's start with this....the fight that everyone wants to see is
Mayweather vs. Pacquiao....both quality fighters. However, there are
other fights out there....Sergio Martinez vs. Mayweather at
Middleweight. Alvarez vs. Chavez Jr. at Middleweight not at 154 pounds.
Also, how about Ward vs. Bute? That would sell big in Canada...the
equivalent of a NHL Stanley Cup playoff game.
DT: David, who would make your top ten of current active fighters?
DM: Good question....#1- Mayweather, #2-Pacquiao, #3-Martinez, #4-Ward,
#5-Donaire, #6-Marquez...those are your top six. I would throw in
Gamboa, the older Klitschko, Cotto, and Tim Bradley.
DT: Would any on your active list be potential candidates for your all time top 12 list?
DM: Mayweather of course could compete in any era of boxing. Boxing is all
about styles and he would be tough in any era. Pacquiao would probably
be competitive but I don't think either fighter would beat Roberto Duran
or Carlos Monzon.
David everyone affiliated with this sport wants to see the two biggest
stars - Mayweather & Pacquiao - square off in the ring. How do you
see that fight?
DM: In my mind...I would pick the bigger, more skilled fighter..Mayweather.
He is a lot better than people think. I know all of the circus
activities that surround him....court business, not speaking to his
father....throw all of that out the window when he enters the ring. If
forced to pick that fight, I would go with Mayweather by decision.
DT: Do you think the fight will happen soon?
DM: I do not. I'm saying that in a bias way because I want it to happen. My guess would be late November of this year.
DT: When you look at your library of fights can you pick a couple of your favorites?
DM: There is two fights that stand out - Diego Corrales vs. Jose Luis
Castillo - that's the best fight I have seen in the past 25 years. Next I
would go to April 15, 1985 - Haggler vs. Hearns - three rounds,
middleweight, it lived up to its expectations. Those are the two most
requested from my library. There are others that I could mention but
asked to pick two - those would be tough to beat for pure boxing
DT: When we look at the future of boxing, will we ever get back to 1971 or are we way beyond that kind of boxing?
DM: I think that somewhere along the line society has changed. By that I
mean people want everything quick and fast. People don't want to go to a
restaurant and wait for a home cooked meal....they go to a fast food
place. That's why MMA has become so popular with fans. I really don't
like MMA but I can understand why the sports has its fans...it's a quick
down and dirty sport. I prefer the 'sweet science' of boxing.
DT: What's happens when Pacquiao and Mayweather retire? Who will replace them?
I am not a fortune teller and that's a great question. Someone will
emerge from the pack. When the Hagler, Duran, Mancini, Arguello,
Leonard, Hearns, all left the sport....who's next was the question.
DeLaHoya, Mosley, Mayweather, Pacquiao all came along. I really believe
that some of the younger fighters will step up and carry the sport.
DT: So you believe that the sport will survive this 'low' point in its illustrious history?
DM: Here's another way of looking at the situation...just remember when Ali
and Fraizer carried the banner for Pay Per View (PPV) boxing television
audience, then came Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns, next
came Mike Tyson and Oscar De La Hoya...now we have Manny Pacquiao and
Floyd Mayweather Jr. They are both on the other side of 30...maybe the
next to carry the banner is Tim Bradley and Saul Alvarez...the point
being is that you can see the trend since PPV came into our living
rooms. This will surely continue as long as fight fans are willing to
pay the money.
David, it's been a lot of fun discussing the history of boxing and your
evaluation of the current boxing status. Can we do this again soon?
DM: My pleasure and you can find more historical trivia and list on my website.....www.dmboxing.com
Readers: I encourage you to visit David's website...a treat for all boxing fans. Thanks for visiting doghouse boxing!
***David Tyler replies to all his e-mails and loves to hear from the readers. Comments, Questions, Suggestions, E-mail David now at:firstname.lastname@example.org