Vanes Martirosyan gets the call to face Gennady Golovkin
It’s not completely accurate to say that Vanes Martirosyan was warming up in the bullpen, when he got the call a couple of weeks ago to face unified middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin, at the StubHub Center this weekend, in Carson, California. The fact of the matter is he wasn’t even in the rotation and he last fought two years ago versus Erislandy Lara at junior middleweight.
From that point, Martirosyan was basically on the disabled list. (You can argue among yourselves whether it was self-imposed or otherwise).
“I was just on my bed every single day reading about the ‘Canelo’ (Saul Alvarez), reading about what’s going to happen with the ‘Triple G’ fight. I didn’t even think I’d get the call,” he admitted to a group of reporters last week in Glendale, California.
After the Mexican star withdrew from the May 5 rematch vs “GGG,” GGG/360 Promotions founder Tom Loeffler shouldered the unenviable task of saving this date and coming up with a suitable opponent. At this juncture, Martirosyan, who signed a promotional deal with Don King, was looking for any opportunity to come his way.
Then one morning, as he was hanging out in bed, with his kids hopping around, he got a call.
Martirosyan recounted, “Don King, he was like, ‘Hey man, there’s this guy they call Triple G or something like that – you want to fight him?’
“‘Don, you know who you’re talking about? Of course, I’ll take the fight; you serious?’
“And the next thing I know I was the frontrunner for the fight and I was excited,” continued Martirosyan. “I got up happy, called my trainer Edmond (Tarverdyan) and told my wife, ‘Baby, we got the fight.’ Nobody believed it. What’s funny is that like, two weeks ago, me and my wife were watching fights and I never asked her this – ‘Baby who’s your favorite fighter?’ and she was like, ‘You,’ and I’m like, ‘No, you’ve got to pick somebody.’
“And she actually mentioned him: ‘I actually like Golovkin; he’s a good guy. He’s very humble the way he carries himself,’ – and I’ve got to kick his ass.”
The last line drew a laugh from the gathered media. As Martirosyan interacted with reporters, it’s clear that, after being sidelined since 2016, he is just glad to be back and he seems to be enjoying the unexpected spotlight that is now coming his way leading into May 5. Since losing to Lara, he had been in the abyss and, last year, he lashed out publicly at Premier Boxing Champions and TGB Promotions over the direction of his career. Eventually he was granted his release (a mutual parting of ways, if you will) and became a free agent.
This is great, in theory, but as Dez Bryant is finding out, it’s only as good as the interest in you. While the 2004 U.S. Olympian is a solid professional fighter, one who has made some money, been featured on premium cable outlets and faced world-class fighters, Martirosyan had fallen short when it really mattered against Lara, Demetrius Andrade and Jermell Charlo.
Beyond that, the outspoken Armenian-American had developed a reputation of being difficult to deal with and, at times, his own worst enemy. Anyone who’s has had as many trainers, managers and promoters can be best described as a tad temperamental, at the very least.
It did seem like Martirosyan was blackballed from the sport in 2017.
He said of the past year or so, “As you guys know, the boxing game it’s about who you’re with, the right people. No matter who you are they’ll make you into a superstar. There’s a lot of great fighters, even right now, that are sitting in their house that are being benched. They don’t get the opportunity to perform because of the people they have in their corner, the people holding them back. I had that with a lot of boxing politics, as you know a little about it.”
(Yeah, he was really letting his hands go on Twitter last year.)
“But I’m just glad that Don King took me under his wing. He promised me something and I promised to give him a good fight,” Martirosyan continued. “So I’m just happy to be with Don King and I’m happy to be on the slate again because, being out every day, I’ve been missing the sport for so long. It’s been depressing because I want to be in the ring. I want to fight and fights got made; fights got canceled.
“I’m just very happy to get the opportunity to fight and I’m very happy to be back.”
Here’s this week’s edition of “The 3 Knockdown Rule” with Mario Lopez and Yours Truly. You’ll hear from Martirosyan and undefeated junior lightweight contender Ryan Garcia (who headlines at the StubHub Center on Friday night).
Ruslan Madiev, Ryan “Blue Chip” Martin and Brian Ceballo are part of the undercard on Saturday night in Carson…Visited Jaime Munguia, the young Mexican who challenges WBO 154-pound titlist Sadam Ali next week, on Wednesday afternoon. He is now under the guidance of Robert Alcazar…The Toronto Raptors are bunch of chokers…Should Dodger fans now be officially worried?…I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and I tweet (a lot) at twitter.com/steveucnlive. I also share photos of stuff at instagram.com/steveucnlive and can also be found at tsu.co/steveucnlive.