Boxing


Mike Martinez: Fighting Mad!

By Andre Courtemanche: You wouldn't like him when he's angry. "They used to call me 'The Incredible Hulk' in the Marine Corps," laughs easy-going junior middleweight Mike Martinez. "Sometimes I get mad in there." In much the same way they say "everyone has a plan until they get hit," Martinez is the most unassuming and sociable person you'd ever meet -- until he gets hit..

"It's an amazing thing to watch the transformation," says Martinez's promoter, Kerry Daigle of Keeppunching Entertainment. "Mike is so well-liked and friendly and then when he gets in that ring, it's like he's trying to punch through his opponents."

Martinez will be seen turning green on February 23, as he is scheduled to appear on the "Johnson vs. Gonzalez" Fight Night for Climate Change at the Civic Center in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

"I'm pretty comfortable," relates the 26 year old about possibly fighting on pay-per-view. "In the ring, it's just me and him and there is nothing outside of it, so I'll be fine."

Martinez waited until his stint in the armed forces had finished before turning professional. By that time, he had racked up some impressive credentials. "I won the National PAL in 2002 and the National Ringside in 2003. I had about 250 amateur fights and was ranked #2 in the country. For a while I was on the USA Team. And then in the Marine Corps, I won five All-Marine championships and was nominated for Athlete of the Year one time."

He also holds an amateur victory over current undefeated welterweight prospect Andre Berto. "He was a year or two younger than me," explains Martinez in his typically humble manner. "Everybody told me that was an absolute war, but I just out-hustled him. He got tired and I didn't."

Despite his habit of getting angry once the leather starts flying, Martinez retains much of his wits in the ring. He describes his style as "smart aggression," and, like the dogged reporter Mr. McGee from the TV version of "The Incredible Hulk," says he can use constant pressure to make an opponent break down.

However, fighting as a professional started out in a maddening way for the West Texas native. He lost his pro debut via split decision in the other fighter's home state and dropped a split decision in his third fight as well.

After seven fights, Martinez's record stands at a modest 5-2, 2 KOs -- a fact that doesn't seem to make him angry. "I was trying to manage myself and taking fights on one day's notice and it really showed. I would go and give the guys hell and I couldn't seem to pull out the decision. You know how that goes. Now that I have Kerry, I'm going undefeated and hopefully it stays that way."

Martinez came to meet promoter Daigle through best friend Blake Prevost, a 10-1 light heavyweight, also fighting under the Keeppunching banner. With Daigle's help, the affable Martinez has put his career back on track.

"I get along with everybody. My biggest thing is do to people what I want done to me. I try to treat everybody pretty equal. Everybody is real nice when I fight in Louisiana. I feel like the crowd is mine. I stand on the ropes and they cheer me on. It's a good feeling. Plus there are a lot of good looking girls in Louisiana."

We all react differently under fire. Some run, some hide, and some fight. Mike Martinez gets fighting mad. With a new promoter making sure he takes the right fights at the right time, it could be a whole new episode for "The Hulk."

He hopes he'll be getting mad at world champions some day soon.

Tickets for the February 23 "Johnson vs. Gonzalez" Fight Night for Climate Change are on sale now at all Ticketmaster outlets and the Lake Charles Civic Center Box Office (call 337.491.1432) and are priced at $200 (Limited Ringside Seats); $125 (Floor Seats); $48.50 (Floor Riser Seats); $48.50 (Gold 100 Level Seats); $32.50 (Silver 200 Level Seats); and $15 (Bronze 300 Level, General Admission Seats). For more information, go to www.johnsonvsgonzalez.com or www.keeppunching.com.

Article posted on 16.02.2008



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