Tucson Boxing

Retooled & rebuilt for redemption: Martinez wasn’t going to stay away from the ring forever

“I lost a brother, Angel Martinez. It was my biggest loss in life. Going through that adversity in the ring, training or anything, he is still my motivation. I was never going to stay away from boxing. I made a promise to him to get a belt. For me, I’m putting in the work so it’s a matter of when. Losing my pro debut was a setback but I don’t have any doubts. I know my skill, the support I have. I’m ready to put it all together.”

Mike Martinez shadow boxes at Guerra de Gallos Media Workouts. Photo: Andy Morales

Two years since losing a unanimous decision in his pro debut and having stayed away from an opening bell since, Mike “The Cobra” Martinez (0-1) reflected on his experience with the wisdom and perspective of a grizzled, 50 year, pro boxing trainer. Willing to acknowledge where he came up short, where he needed to grow and never neglecting to remind you of his accomplishments and massive support built with Tucson boxing fans over the span of a successful amateur career.

Martinez spent an evening describing a complete tear down and rebuild of a professional boxer with us.

“I’ve become a much smarter fighter. Went back to basics and retooled with a total focus on everything I know I had to upgrade. My time off hasn’t been a waste. I’ve grown as a person. Not just a fighter. I’ve pretty much just built myself back up to the level I know I should be at and wanted to be in order to come back. I feel like I’m rebuilt now and better than I expected.”


Tickets for “Guerra De Gallos” this Saturday start are going FAST, and are available online at Casino del Sol’s Web site, by phone at (520) 333-5150 or at the Casino Del Sol Gift Shop. The card begins at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m.

On August 8th, 2016, TV, promotions, banners hanging from the ceiling and press alike, were all on hand to see boxing great and champion many times over, Juan “Baby Bull” Diaz take the ring at Casino Del Sol, in front of a capacity crowd. On a night when newly crowned WBO Featherweight Champion and longtime Tucson resident Oscar Valdez addressed the 2000 fans, Martinez’s supporters, without a doubt, made up 35%-45% of the crowd on hand. Fans wearing Martinez’s merchandise were everywhere. The loudest roar of crowd that night, without exaggeration, very well might have been for Martinez’s introduction.

The buildup for Martinez’s first bout was huge for an Old Pueblo pro debut. Public appearances, radio interviews, autograph sessions, etc. made Martinez’s fight against Jesse Ruiz (6-3-2 5 KOs)events in themselves. In Ruiz, Martinez faced relatively seasoned fighter who along with an amateur career, had 5 pro fights under his belt.

Drawing from past experiences. Using steel to sharpen steel, Mike Martinez (left) spars with Jesse Ruiz (right).

Fighting hard and coming up short in front of massive crowd for any fighter making their pro debut, seemed, at least to those of us outside of his inner circle, to have deflated Martinez and he acknowledged he stayed away from boxing. In Martinez’s mind, however, it wasn’t a retreat.

Holding the promise Martinez made to his fallen brother in his heart, he made a concerted effort to retool. Mind, body and soul.

“Before I was ready to come back, I needed to make sure everything was right. I fully believe in my skills and my ability to be able to bring them out.”

Studying boxing history, past fighters and becoming a student of the sweet science is what Martinez said has really been much of his focus. With a new trainer and gym going into his second professional bout after having had a long, successful amateur career, boxing has become his life. His craft.

“I feel blessed. That’s the reason I wanted to come back. I feel like I owe my supporters a lot more than what I showed that night,” Martinez said of his pro debut. “I fought my heart out. Mentally, I know I wasn’t there. I felt like I let a lot of people down. I’m back in it because of the people that supported me, the whole city showing their love. It pumps me up. I’m excited to redeem myself.”

“I’ve learned from my first one. Now I’m ready to move on.”

“You don’t lose if you get knocked down. You lose if you stay down.” – Muhammad Ali

Tickets for “Guerra De Gallos” this Saturday start are going FAST, and are available online at Casino del Sol’s Web site, by phone at (520) 333-5150 or at the Casino Del Sol Gift Shop. The card begins at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m.

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