GLENDALE — While it's not clear just yet who Vanes "Nightmare" Martirosyan's next opponent will be, the Glendale-based super welterweight promises that Top Rank Promotions is looking closely at pitting him against one of the big names in the 154-pound division by this winter.
Recently, speculation has circulated around a possible matchup between the undefeated Martirosyan and recently crowned World Boxing Assn. super welterweight champion Miguel Cotto, with the former's trainer, Freddie Roach, even going on record saying he would welcome the ambitious step up in competition for his client.
That matchup's viability took a hit on Friday when Top Rank CEO Bob Arum announced his intention to pit Cotto against undefeated Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr., another Roach client, in December, but that arrangement is yet to be finalized and would likely be contingent upon Chavez, Jr. getting past Pavel Wolak on Sept. 11.
If his fight with Cotto indeed fails to materialize, Martirosyan, currently ranked No. 8 in "The Ring" junior middleweight ratings, laid out several other scenarios he believes likely to happen.
"My next fight is gonna be a big fight," said Martirosyan, who improved to 28-0 (17 knockouts) with a unanimous decision over Joe Greene at the June 5 Stadium Slugfest, where Cotto would claim his current title against Yuri Foreman in the main event. "[Top Rank] is just looking to see who I'm gonna fight. Cotto is one of the names, and they're talking about Cory Spinks or Cornelius Bundrage … and Sergiy Dzinziruk. They're looking at all those guys and we're gonna try to see which one wants to fight, and we were even talking about me moving up to middleweight to fight Kelly Pavlik, also."
Spinks (37-6, 11 KOs) was upset in his International Boxing Federation title defense against Bundrage (30-4, 18 KOs) on Saturday and Dzinziruk (37-0) is the reigning World Boxing Organization junior middleweight champion. Pavlik is coming off a World Boxing Council and WBO middleweight title loss to Sergio Gabriel Martinez in April, in which he fought at 159 pounds.
Top Rank matchmaker Brad Goodman wouldn't confirm talks with any of the aforementioned names, saying only, "We don't have anybody right now, we're working on things."
While Martirosyan pegged a fight with Spinks as being a strong likelihood, obviously the upset loss to Bundrage could change all that. And, even before Saturday's turn of events, Cotto appeared to have been the first choice for the former Olympian and Roach.
"Freddie mentioned it to Bob [Arum] that if [Manny] Pacqiuao fights [Antonio] Margarito, then Cotto's gonna be left out and Freddie said, 'Put [Cotto] in with Vanes,' and that's when it all started," Martirosyan said. "We've always wanted to step up and fight bigger names — I've been calling out Paul Williams and other fighters — and after [beating Greene,] Freddie was like, 'It's time.'"
Roach certainly has experience with Cotto, having guided his most famous client, Pacqiuao, to a 12-round TKO win over Cotto in a WBO welterweight title match in Nov. 2009.
"I think Vanes can beat Cotto," Roach told boxingnews24.com recently. "When you're 28-0, you should be ready for anyone in the world. I told Top Rank to stop babying this kid. Vanes is calling out these guys, and he thinks he can beat Paul Williams, so let's take one of these guys. I am all for it."