After starting off the week with a joyous personal milestone — the birth of his first child — Vanes "Nightmare" Martirosyan will look to finish it off with a professional one, his 31st victory in the ring.
Martirosyan (30-0, 19 knockouts) and his girlfriend welcomed son Andrew into the world on Monday, five days before he is to face Richard Gutierrez (26-7-1, 16 KOs) in a 10-round light middleweight bout at the WinStar Casino in Thackerville, Okla. tonight.
"It's a big week," said Martirosyan, who will be returning to action for the first time in nearly five months. "It's just a big fight because I have a new addition to my life, so I have a chance to go out there and put on a better performance.
"I'm just excited, I can't wait to fight and come home."
The Glendale native will headline the card, which will be broadcast live on Fox Deportes beginning at 7 p.m. PDT.
Martirosyan last fought on June 4, when he defeated Saul Roman via seventh-round TKO at the Staples Center to claim the World Boxing Council Silver light middleweight title and become the No. 1 contender for the WBC light middleweight belt held by Saul Alvarez.
In September, Martirosyan was proposed a blockbuster fight against No. 2 contender Alfredo Angulo in Mexico, but refused it. The match with Gutierrez, which is likely intended more to keep Martirosyan active than to further advance his case for title shot, was arranged immediately after.
Another plan that didn't come to fruition over the past month was Martirosyan's announced intention to switch trainers from the team of World Boxing Hall of Fame head trainer Freddie Roach and Glendale Fighting Club owner Edmond Tarverdyan to veteran trainer Buddy McGirt.
Martirosyan said that after one session with McGirt the decision was made, for unspecified reasons, to have Tarverdyan oversee the bulk of his training for Gutierrez at the GFC in between sparring sessions at Roach's Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood.
"Freddie was here and he started giving me advice," Martirosyan said. "We went to Buddy for a day and decided to stay with Edmond and Freddie. Edmond's been training me the most for the fight.
"I'll be better. More boxing, but better boxing. Aggressive and explosive, that's what you'll see [today]."
Between cutting his training off a little bit early for the birth of his son and then flying out to Oklahoma on Thursday, Martirosyan didn't quite get to finish camp as he normally would.
"We usually drop down the weight, we do two sessions of training and he gets in great shape the last week and we didn't have a chance to do that the last two days," Tarverdyan said.
Nonetheless, both fighter and trainer agree that Martirosyan is physically ready and prepared and, if anything, will get an emotional bounce going into the fight after becoming a new father.
"He is focused in a way, but in a way he just had his baby, so this two or three days has been crazy with Vanes," Tarverdyan said. "But our camp went good, we had good sparring at Wild Card. He is prepared.
"He should take [the birth of his son] as a motivation and get the big victory,"
While an upset loss would certainly be disastrous for Martirosyan, a win over Gutierrez would not be considered one of the former Olympian's finest or most significant by any stretch.
Once a strong prospect, who brought a 21-0-1 record into an International Boxing Federation Inter-Continental welterweight title bout with Joshua Clottey in July of 2006, Gutierrez has gone 5-6-1 since losing to Clottey in a 12-round decision. Over his last nine fights going back to 2008, Gutierrez has gone 2-6-1 and has lost his last three.
Still, Martirosyan can ill-afford to take the veteran out of Miami by way of Colombia lightly, nor come away with anything less than a convincing victory at that if he wants to stay on track for a title shot early next year.
"Gutierrez [is], you know, tough, he's been there," Tarverdyan said. "He's a good fighter, he has experience."
Said Martirosyan: "He's a tough guy, he comes straight forward and wants to fight. We'll see what happens."