THE time is right for Martin Murray to rule the world – just ask his manager Neil Marsh.
Former Wigan ABC ace Murray gets a second chance to win a World title in April when he travels to Buenos Aires, Argentina, to take on arguably one of the best pound-for-pound fighters on the planet – Sergio Martinez – with the South American’s WBC middleweight crown on the line.
So-far unbeaten Murray, now aged 30, undoubtedly faces a mammoth task in Martinez’s own back yard, but Marsh understandably has great faith in his charge ahead of the mega fight against the 37-year-old opponent, writes Simon Smedley.
Murray’s first World title bid ended in a dramatic and well-deserved draw when he travelled to Felix Sturm’s German back yard to try and wrestle away the WBA middleweight title 13 months ago, but now Marsh is confident that this time his man will fly back home with the coveted belt.
Marsh told me: “We know it’s a massive task, we’re not going to be full of ourselves.
“Sergio Martinez is the number three pound-for-pound fighter, but it’s about timing and we believe he’s ready to be took.
“All boxers get took at some time. Very few stay unbeaten through all their careers and we believe that it’s our time.
“Martinez has proven to be the best fighter in the middleweight division, he’s proven he’ll fight anyone and respect to him for fighting an unbeaten Martin Murray, who’s proved he’s world class. It takes a lot of stomach.
“Yes, Martinez is a great fighter, we have the utmost respect for him, but we believe this is our day.
“We love it. Hopefully people will pick up in this interview the confidence in me, in our team. We’ve got one hell of a fighter, and he’s going to make the local people of St Helens, Wigan, Warrington, the North West, the country, proud of him on April 27th. Everybody.”
Marsh fully acknowledged that Murray will be the second favourite going into his dream chance to really shake the world of boxing, but again, timing and maybe even Martinez’s exertions in his previous 54 will take their toll on the California-based Argentine.
Marsh went on: “Martin’s a massive underdog because [Martinez has] cleaned up [British rivals] Matthew Macklin and Darren Barker.
“He’s beaten Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, but boxing’s about timing. Now us as a team, we know Martinez is ready to go and everybody’s seen his performance against Chavez [a points victory in September].
“He’s had problems with his hand, his knee, six stitches in his head, cut eyes, he’s a 37-year-old man, you know.
“We’re ready, so going into this fight there’s no negativity, you’re going to see the best Martin Murray the British public’s ever seen.”
Already the Martinez-Murray showdown is making big news across the Atlantic and throughout South America, and a few days spent promoting the fight in Argentina just before Christmas went brilliantly for the Englishman.
He might be gearing up to face a feared man who has lost just two of his previous 54 bouts and recently won the Argentine Sports Personality award of ahead of a certain Lionel Messi, but Murray just took all the press conferences and tv appearances in his stride.
Marsh said: “The Argentinian people were very respectful, they welcomed us with open arms.
“The trip was very hectic. We landed at 9am in the morning and they got us straight into the interviews.
“We did interviews with Fox Sports, TYC Sport and a South American channel which is broadcast through Mexico, Venezuela, Chile and places like that. There were a lot of local papers and national papers there too.
“We went to an awards do and Sergio Martinez won the big prize over Lionel Messi.
“Every tv channel, every interview, every advert was Martinez and Martin. The fight is massive over there.
“Martin just doesn’t care though - in a totally respectful way. It’s water off a ducks back.
“Fortunately he’s given me the opportunities in boxing which every manager would dream of. His words have been ‘I’ll fight anyone anywhere, just get me the best deal’, and that has allowed me to manoeuvre him and get him the opportunities that I’ve got him.
“When we said about going to Argentina, it was ‘wow, I’m buzzing’. He couldn’t believe it. This is what we dreamed of.
“This is what will propel us into superstardom, and it’s going to come.”
Don’t bet against Murray rocking the boxing world in the Spring – this is the chance the former British and Commonwealth champ is determined not to pass up.