Rocky Martinez pulls out of March 12 title defense

PR Best 05/03/2016

Idris Erba

World Boxing Organization (WBO) junior lightweight champion, Roman “Rocky” Martinez, will not fight on Saturday, March 12, in Merida, against Mexican Miguel “El Alacran” Berchelt due to an injury on his left hand.

Martinez (29-2-3, 17), who was supposed to travel to Mexico on Monday, March 7, for his defense against the #1 ranked Berchelt (28-1, 25 KOs), was examined by Dr. Jose M. Santiago Figueroa, who gave him a diagnosis of “External Carpi Radialis Longus” and a Tendinitis in his left hand recommending rest for four weeks.

“Definitely Rocky will not fight on March 12. Rocky had a pain on that hand and we went last week to see Dr. Santiago Figueroa, who specializes on hand injuries and is one of the best in Puerto Rico, and he prescribed some medication to Rocky, but the pain continued and we went to see him again yesterday (Thursday). After the evaluation Dr. Santiago Figueroa gave him the diagnosis and advised him not to punch with that hand and rest for four weeks. As soon as the doctor notified us yesterday, we talked with the people from Promociones Zanfer, Berchelt’s promoter, to let them know of the situation and to work the possibility of a new date for the fight,” said Peter Rivera, vice president of PR Best Boxing Promotions (PRBBP), Martinez’s promoter.

For the Puerto Rican titlist the situation is frustrating because he had several months of preparation for this fight and now he has to wait to enter the ring again.

“I feel bad for all Puerto Rican fans, including some people who already had tickets to go to Mexico with us, but I had to be 100%, and I could not disappoint my country fighting there injured. Now, I have to follow the instructions of the doctor and wait patiently until they give me the green light to train at a high level again,” Martinez said. “Everyone knows I’ll be ready to return to the ring and defend my title when I recover.”

Martinez, a WBO champion at 130 pounds three times, had injury problems and illness in 2011 and 2014, respectively, which stopped him, at the time, to fight world elimination bouts.
“This injury delayed our plans with Rocky, but these things happen. It’s not the first time this happens to Rocky. It happened when he went to face Luis “El Artesano” Cruz ( in 2011) in a WBO eliminator at 130 pounds, when he injured his back and could not fight, and then when he was about to face Raymundo Beltran (in 2014) in a 135 pounds fight, he got sick and neither fought. These things happen, as recently with the fight between Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter, unexpected things happen, and fights fall,” Rivera said. “It’s better this way, to Rocky rest the hand and not punch, so let us hope that he does not have to undergo surgery.

Martinez will rest the hand for as long as the doctor said, but he will keep exercising to be ready when he can train fully and to use his left hand.

“Rocky is a warrior, he wanted to go ahead with the fight, but recognizes that for the sake of his career is better to follow the doctor’s recommendation. Everyone knows that Rocky does not shy away opponents, so when it recovers he will be ready for anyone,” Rivera said.