By: Jerome Souza (@Jerome510)
This week Vanes “The Nightmare” Martirosyan took time to give FirstClassBoxing.com an in-depth look into his desire to continue to fight the best at Junior Middleweight, his problems finding opponents, and his take on boxing’s upcoming schedule.
FirstClassBoxing.com asked Martirosyan about his recent drop from the WBC rankings due to his failure to sign up for their drug-testing program. “Everything is taken care of. I will be taken off that list and back in the rankings”. Martirosyan said it was a case of miscommunication and that he wasn’t aware of an apparent deadline for compliance. Martirosyan added that he has completed the process required by the WBC and expects to be back in the rankings soon.
Martirosyan told FirstClassBoxing.com that he currenlty does not have an opponent or dates lined up but he is still staying in fight shape. Once Martirosyan gets the word that he’s fighting, he’ll be ready join his trainers Mike Bazzel and Roma Kalantaryan at the Main Event Boxing Club in Glendale, California.
With no fight scheduled, Martirosyan gave us his wish-list of opponents who he thinks would make for the most compelling fights: Liam “Beefy” Smith, Gennady “GGG” Golovkin, and Julian “J Rock” Williams.
Martirosyan on a potential fight with Liam Smith:
“I’m tired of the fighters in America. They don’t want to fight anymore. The best fight that would make the most sense honestly for me and him would be Liam Smith. He just came off of a loss. I lost to Lara, he lost to Canelo right? A lot of people think Lara beat Canelo and [Smith] got stopped by Canelo. A fight with Liam Smith would be great. It would test him. It would be his comeback fight and my comeback fight…The only title he had was a gift to him and he can’t hold on to it for more than two minutes… I respect him as a person, as a fighter, but I know where I belong in the game”.
In order to take on fighter like Liam Smith, there’s a strong possibility that the fight would take place in the U.K. Rather argue to have it in the U.S. at Martirosyan’s venues of choice in Southern California which would include Staples Center, StubHub Center, and Honda Center, Martirosyan is excited for a possible matchup overseas and looks forward to the opportunity if it comes to fruition. “I love the UK, I traveled to the UK when I was going to the Olympics. The fans there are crazy. If they have one champion from the U.K. that comes to America to fight, everyone travels with them. That’s an amazing fan base”.
The next fighter on Martirosyan’s wishlist is Middleweight wrecking ball Gennady Golovkin. “People are scared to fight him. I’m not”. Even though Golovkin is in a heavier weight class, Martirosyan wasted little time in throwing his own name into the mix for a chance to face Golovkin. “I called Danny Jacobs’ coach [Andre Rozier] as soon as the fight happened. [Rozier’s] a great man and also makes my boxing trunks from Havoc. If you guys don’t want the fight, would you please, please, throw my name out there and that Vanes would take it. I would even let you (Rozier) train me. I would love to fight [Golovkin].” FirstClassBoxing.com asked Martirosyan about the recent back-and-forth negotiations regarding the purse of the potential Jacobs vs. Golovkin fight on December 10, “Danny definitely deserves more than 25%. I think 35-65 would be a fair split”.
Undefeated Julian “J Rock” Williams was number three on the wish-list. Martirosyan told FirstClassBoxing.com that fight was supposed to happen before, but arguments over fight purses kept it from happening:
“They offered me J Rock, I accepted the fight. They asked me how much I would take for a fight. I told them I would take the same offer Austin Trout didn’t take.They said I priced myself out [but] they didn’t offer me anything, they just told me it was an IBF eliminator and I said ok. I then said forget what I said [and] just send me the contract. I fought Lara (the 2nd time) for much less than I would’ve gotten if I would’ve fought J Rock… They’re trying to act like he’s Superman and trust me he’s not. I want that fight, let’s go”.
Martirosyan also touched on the business of boxing and how it is changed over the last decade:
“It’s the money I think with the young guys. With us back then ten years ago, the money wasn’t like this. If money was like this ten years ago, trust me it would have been different for a lot of fighters. Fighters these days, they’re just after the shoes and cars and money and stuff like that. I don’t blame them man. But at the same time I’m a fighter man. To make the Olympic team I had to win 12 fights in three weeks. [Now] they’re ignoring me. [I’m] the one fighter that will say ok I’ll fight you. It’s not even about the money. I know I told most of these guys just send me the contract and pay me after, winner take all. Doesn’t matter, I just want to fight… The titlists from the 54’s, they’re not doing nothing. They’re just complaining and whining… Most of these fighters they just act like they’re hard, they’re tough, but they just want to fight you know, the ‘champions’, the easy way to get the belt, [be]cause they want to get the money. You gotta fight your way over there man and everyone’s just trying to jump straight to the title fight”.
FirstClassBoxing.com asked Martirosyan’s take on Danny Garcia facing unranked and little known Samuel Vargas in the Premier Boxing Champions main event on November 12. “If Danny signed a fight already to fight Thurman after this fight or he has signed a contract to fight Thurman at all, then you would understand why Danny is fighting this guy. Maybe that’s all they can afford”. Martirosyan said it’s unknown, but Garcia and Thurman may have a similar deal to the contract Kovalev and Ward set up in which they agreed to fight and beat other opponents prior to facing each other on a pre-determined date.
Martirosyan gave FirstClassBoxing.com his prediction for the November 19th matchup between Kovalev and Ward, “I’m going with Kovalev. John David Jackson will be the difference. There was a reason [Kovalev] was boxing like that in his last fight. Kovalev was just testing stuff that they’re were working on”. Martirosyan cites the 2006 matchup of Joe Calzaghe and Jeff Lacy. Like Kovalev and Ward, Calzaghe and Lacy were both undefeated prior to the fight and it ended with a major upset by Calzaghe. Calzaghe later retired undefeated and was elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, New York.
Martirosyan does have some experience mixing it up with both Kovalev and Ward on different occasions. Martirosyan recently sparred with Demetrius Andrade who helped him prepare for his rematch with Lara. However, Martirosyan will never forget his experience sparring six rounds with Sergey Kovalev:
“Let’s say you dream about a dream like a few weeks ago that you’re playing basketball right? And your sparring like two weeks later with Sergey Kovalev and [he] hits you one time and all of a sudden you end up in that dream. I’ve never been hit like that in my life, I would never spar with [Kovalev] ever again… I took a week off of boxing after sparring with him. I actually thought ‘should I fight again?’, [be]cause it was so scary to be hit like that… I was 154, [Kovalev] was 180 or 190 at the time. I sparred with Ward five times. I sparred the Kovalev one time and I’ll never spar with him again”.
Martirosyan also touched on the current state of the heavyweight division given Tyson Fury’s current absence competition. “Tyson Fury, I just wish him the best. A fast recovery. Get back in the gym first thing and get on the right track. And know why you’re on this earth before the blessings go away”. Martirosyan believes Anthony Joshua has great potential but believes that Deontay Wilder will come out on top of the division, mostly because “he has really crazy power like Kovalev”.
Martirosyan’s next opponent will have to be ready to face the hungriest “The Nightmare” has been in years. The former US Olympian’s list of previous opponents looks like the current Junior Middleweight rankings. Martirosyan is a throwback. He has never been stopped. He is a blue-collar boxer that fights for a living, not for fame or glamour. Without a fight scheduled, Martirosyan is a caged-beast waiting to become a real “nightmare” for the next fighter willing to accept his challenge. “No matter what I give 100% and never quit. I’m willing to fight everybody. I’m ready to fight anybody”.by