NEW YORK – Sergio Martinez does not boast the name recognition of Manny Pacquiao yet he has something the famed Filipino does not -- Fighter of the Year honors for 2010, and the Argentine is aiming to continue his run.
Rather than rest on his laurels, middleweight champion Martinez (46-2-2) was in New York on Wednesday to promote his March 12 bout against unbeaten WBO junior middleweight champ Sergiy Dzinziruk (37-0) of Ukraine at Foxwoods in Connecticut.
"I believe my next fight could be my best fight of my career because my boxing is getting better," said Martinez, a former cyclist and soccer player who turns 36 this month.
Martinez claimed the WBC crown in April with a dominant decision over Kelly Pavlik in his second bout at the weight, and seven months later put an exclamation mark on his year with a booming knockout of another American, Paul Williams.
The one-punch, overhand left that knocked Williams cold in the second round at Atlantic City was also hailed as Knockout of the Year and cemented top fighter honors from the Boxing Writers Association, Ring Magazine and a host of others.
The charismatic Martinez, who combines speed and power, will be fighting for the WBC's 'diamond belt' -- a gaudy gold belt studded with 500 diamonds from the WBC, which awarded him champion emeritus status after the Argentine failed to arrange a mandatory defense of its regular world middleweight title.
"March 12 is what world class boxing is all about," said promoter Lou DiBella. "Martinez is the best in the world at 160 pounds and Dzinziruk is best in the world at 154 pounds."
Dzinziruk, who has stopped 34 of his 37 opponents within the distance, possesses a superb jab and is also considered a top-notch defensive fighter.
"I really appreciate the opportunity to fight Sergio and show the world how good I am," he said.
Featured on the undercard is a bout between middleweight contenders Andy Lee of Ireland and Scotland's Craig McEwan, who wore kilts to the Times Square news conference.
"This is a massive opportunity for me in my career against the best opponent I will have faced," Lee (24-1) said about going against McEwan, who has a 19-0 record.