After suffering a deep gash over his left eye in the ring Saturday night, Vanes “Nightmare” Martirosyan will be on the shelf for at least a couple of weeks.
The much coveted world title shot the Glendale resident has had his eye on figures to be on ice for considerably longer.
Saturday’s World Boxing Council light middleweight title eliminator between Martirosyan, the No. 2 contender, and No. 1 Erislandy Lara at the Wynn Resort in Las Vegas ended with an accidental head butt that led to a technical decision draw. As a result, nothing was settled as pertains to WBC champion Saul Alvarez’ next title defense, although a rematch to begin the process all over again has already surfaced as one possible scenario.
Miguel Rivera reported on boxingscene.com Monday that, “the World Boxing Council is positioning to order a rematch. ...The two boxers will retain their top ranking positions and the organization will once again order them to exchange punches for a mandatory shot at the title.”
The WBC’s official website states that the issue will be discussed at the WBC Convention in Cancun in December.
“I would love to fight Lara again,” said Martirosyan, who saw his perfect record slip to 32-0-1 with 20 knockouts. “We’re just waiting to see what the best next move is for me.”
The options don’t appear to be too varied. Rematching Lara would likely remain the surest avenue to a shot at Alvarez’ title, as the unbeaten Mexican champion was previously balking at the prospect of having to fight Martirosyan or Lara even under the mandate of Saturday’s eliminator. Without a mandatory challenger in place, the WBC would appear to have no leverage in convincing Alvarez and his Golden Boy promoters to take a match against either fighter now, as Alvarez has designs on a super fight against Floyd Mayweather or Miguel Cotto and there were even rumblings that he would vacate the WBC title to get out of a potential mandatory challenge in early 2013.
And Martirosyan himself has misgivings about fighting Lara again after the first meeting featured little memorable action between a retreating Lara and an aggressive but often ineffective Martirosyan, not to mention what Martirosyan calls Lara’s dirty style.
“I feel like fighting Lara is not going to do much because I showed a lot in that fight and Lara didn’t show much, so I don’t know what the second fight is going to be like,” Martirosyan said. “And he’s a dirty fighter. I would rather fight somebody who’s clean and who comes to box, not to come and hurt you with dirty tactics.”
Another consideration is the commercial viability of a rematch. The first installment headlined an HBO “Boxing After Dark” card, but would anyone watch a repeat? Would anyone show it? Even Martirosyan’s uncle and manager is dubious.
“We’re OK with [a rematch],” he said. “It’s just the only problem is I don’t know if any TV station would be interested in showing that fight, as boring as Lara’s been making it. It’s going to be hard to find a promoter to promote that fight.”
But outside of the WBC title chase, Martirosyan may have trouble advancing his career with productive matchups, as he’s languished against inferior opponents in “stay busy” fights for much of the last two years.
So, for now, Martirosyan will spend some time recuperating from the head butt, as well as a painful low blow from Lara that Serge Martirosyan said his nephew stated still hurts, then resume training with Freddie Roach and Roma Khalantaryan while hoping his showing against Lara was enough to get moving closer to the ever-elusive title shot.
“I feel like I won the fight, I was the more aggressive one, I was pressing the action,” Martirosyan said. “It sucks that it happened like that. He was a dirty fighter with the head butt and the low blows.
“I think I proved a lot of people wrong because a lot of people thought Lara was supposedly going to whoop my ass and what not.”