Vanes Martirosyan has heard the derisive comments. He’s read the harsh critiques. He’s aware that many not only think that Gennady Golovkin is going to blow him out on Saturday when they meet for Golovkin’s WBA and WBC middleweight titles at the StubHub Center in Carson, California, but that they are angry he got the fight in the first place.
And he has a message for those critics: Talk to me Sunday morning.
Martirosyan is a former U.S. Olympian who in a 13-year pro career so far has compiled a 36-3-1 mark with 21 knockouts.
Critics, though, have pointed out that in his four biggest fights – two against Erislandy Lara and one each against Jermell Charlo and Demetrius Andrade – Martirosyan is 0-3-1.
In addition, they say, he’s never fought as a middleweight, but will find himself challenging for the middleweight title. He won’t, though, get a chance to fight for all of Golovkin’s belts because the IBF opted to withhold its sanction of the fight.
Landing a fight with one of the sport’s biggest stars, which happened when Canelo Alvarez withdrew from the bout after failing two drug tests and receiving a six-month suspension from the Nevada Athletic Commission, isn’t simply a free spin of the wheel in his view.
There is a lot at stake for him.
“I’m not going in there like I have nothing to lose, because I have everything to lose, man,” Martirosyan told Yahoo Sports. “I have titles to lose, you know what I mean? I don’t care what the boxing fans think or what the boxing writers think. They’re not getting in the ring and most of them never have gotten in there. They have no idea what it is like in there, what it really is like when you have another guy trying to take your head off.
“One punch can change everything, for me or for him. That’s the beauty of this sport. People can have opinions and think what they want, but they don’t know what is in a true fighter’s heart. One punch can change a whole career.”
Martirosyan’s career has largely been successful, as his 91.3 percent winning percentage would indicate. Martirosyan, though, isn’t pleased. He hasn’t gotten everything out of his career he believes he could have and says circumstances have caused some of his issues.
He’s once again trained by Edmund Tarverdyan, who is best known in combat sports as former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey’s trainer. Martirosyan points out he was 4-0 with three knockouts with Tarverdyan in his corner.
But Martirosyan tried other, well known trainers, to try to improve on things, but they never worked out. He said he made “a terrible, stupid mistake,” by signing with Hall of Famer Freddie Roach to be his trainer. Roach, he said, left him hanging.
It is one of the many things that happened during his career that prevented him from being as good as he believes he should have been.
“When I left Edmund, I had gotten a fight with Lara or Andrade, I can’t remember which one, and I signed with Freddie,” Martirosyan said. “He was going to be there and work with me every day and try to help me improve. The first day I showed up at his gym, he had gone the day before to Manila to train [Manny] Pacquiao and he left with no notice to me. I was trained by his assistants, basically Freddie’s water boys, and that threw me off.”
Martirosyan said he had a number of situations in his career that prevented him from maximizing his talent and going as far as he could. Back with Tarverdyan, the Golovkin fight provides an opportunity for him to rectify all the past mistakes.
“I’d say my career has been a disappointment and the reason why is this: I have not been able to show my best in the sport,” Martirosyan said. “My nickname, ‘The Nightmare,’ that isn’t something I picked. It was given to me by the Armenian fans. ‘He’s the Nightmare.’ When I fought Timothy Bradley [as an amateur], I dropped him in the first round and that’s when I got that nickname. I was the last person Bradley lost to [in the amateurs]. I beat Austin Trout three times. I beat Andre Berto.
“That name was given to me because of the way I was fighting then. I was a nightmare for so many guys. Things happened, and I got with the wrong people, and you know how it is, this led to that and boom, here I am. But where I am now, the hunger I feel and the way I feel every day in the gym, it’s like I felt when I got that name in the first place. Everything is clicking and I think you’ll see the best version of me.”
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