(Photo: Tom Hogan)
Steven Martinez waited for the opportunity to make a statement. The 25-year old super welterweight from the Bronx has been fighting as a professional the past six years and there have been the struggles in trying to make that statement about getting where he belongs.
Getting ranked and being more consistent are the goals, and Saturday night at the Turning Stone Resort Casino up in Verona New York, Martinez closed his year with that goal of getting closer to his opportunity at being ranked and positioning for more lucrative opportunities in the ring. He stopped Jorge Melendez (29-6-1, 27 KOs) by TKO in round two in the opening bout of an HBO televised card of boxing.
And it was a statement. Melendez was a formidable opponent and hard hitting puncher from Manati Puerto Rico.
“Definitely opens the doors for me and puts a statement that I am a legit fighter and contender,” said Martinez (16,2, 13 K0’s) Tuesday afternoon from his home in the Fordham section of the Bronx. “He was a good and tough opponent and I was prepared and focused.”
The wins have come but they have been sporadic over the past few years with a lack of that consistency for a fighter. Martinez has prepared for numerous fights this year under his new promoter, Dmitriy Salita (Star of David Promotions), the one time professional who knows about the trials and tribulations of getting to the top of the ladder.
But there have been opponents who failed to make weight which caused potential fights to get scrapped, and Martinez also had a minor hernia that required surgery that put him on the shelf for a few months.
Martinez said fights fell through back-to-back, but he stayed positive. He and trainer Marco Suarez established a plan that made Martinez get better with his jab, combinations, and of course the defense. That showed in the second round when Martinez let his hands go and the jab went to work. A solid left rocked Melendez and there were several lefts and rights that followed that got Martine his win.
More importantly the message was sent and the win came against an established fighter handled by the Oscar De La Hoya Golden Boy Promotional company.
“Fights feel through back to back,” said Martinez who established himself by first becoming a successful New York City Golden Gloves champion. “I stood positive, training and focused, and waited for the opportunity. Then when they offered this fight I was ready in fight mode and it was me executing the game plan.”
He said about the win: “This opened the door. Next year every fight is important. Every fight I am content in fighting to become a world champion. Next year every fight is a stepping stone to get to my dream.” The intent is to stay at 154, and Martinez has no struggles with making weight with a good conditioning program and proper diet.
The plan is to fight three times in the new year, hopefully with no setbacks of injuries or opponents causing the plan to fall apart But this is boxing and Martinez, like many fighters at his level, are aware about the plan and setbacks that are beyond their control.
But if all goes to plan, Steven Martinez will be making a statement and in boxing that is possible.
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