WBC #2 light middleweight contender Vanes Martirosyan is finally getting the big fight he has been clamoring for over the past year in the press and on Twitter. Nicknamed the "Nightmare", Martirosyan is about to awake from the safe slumber found behind the comforts of his computer and the soft competition he has faced over his 32-fight career when he faces #1 ranked contender Erislandy Lara tomorrow night at the Wynn Resort in Las Vegas.
Dreams initially appeared sweet for the Armenian-American Martirosyan, an eight-time National amateur champion, winner of a Golden Gloves championship and a 2004 U.S. Olympian. He compiled an amateur record of 120-10 with victories over future world champions Austin Trout, Timothy Bradley and Andre Berto.
While Trout, Bradley and Berto have all gone on to win world titles and build reputable resumes, the snooze button has been hit on Martirosyan's professional career. At 26, the undefeated light middleweight already has 32 fights with 20 knockouts, but these victories have all come against highly drowsy opposition.
Cuban sensation Lara (17-1-1, 11 KO's) will serve as the wake-up call.
"My fighter knows what it’s like to be in a big fight, Vanes doesn’t," said Lara's trainer, Ronnie Shields. "When Martirosyan walks down the aisle and he gets into that ring, he’ll know that it’s for real…he’ll know that it’s time to fight.”
Lara, a slick and speedy southpaw, became one of the most avoided fighters in boxing after his controversial split decision loss to Paul Williams in July 2011. Lara put Ronald Hearns to sleep in a first round annihilation in April 2012 that didn't necessarily leave any of the top tier light middleweights rushing to fight him.
In what the WBC has designated as a title eliminator, Lara and Martirosyan are finally going to face off against each other with the winner expected to become the mandatory challenger for champion Canelo Alvarez. Had it not been for this designation, this fight might not even be happening given the ongoing war between Lara's and Martiroysan's promoters, Golden Boy and Top Rank, respectively.
Unlike Lara who did his talking in the ring for the top ranking, Martirosyan reverted to white noise to gain attention. In an article by Steve Kim from Maxboxing.com, Martirosyan admits that his complaining and trash-talking on Twitter over the past year was intended to secure a big fight.
“I was just trying to get someone pissed off enough to fight me because I don’t really talk a lot of crap about nobody. I’m a nice person. I don’t like to talk a lot of sh*t. I was just doing it to get a big fight; finally I got one.”
"I’m not one of those bad fighters that talks a lot of crap," a reflective Martirosyan later went on to say. "I just wanted a big fight; I was just tired of fighting this many years as a pro and not being able to get that shot.”
Perhaps Martirosyan was napping when he was given previous opportunities to position himself for a big fight. As a mandatory challenger, he rejected a bout with Alfredo Angulo last year in Mexico and a fight with Lara earlier this year when the WBC refused to issue a written guarantee that the winner would face Alvarez.
Many fans have found Martirosyan's antics quite tiring. This could be his last chance to prove to us that he is a real threat and not merely a hallucination.
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