Promoter/matchmaker and legendary talent scout Sampson Lewkowicz wishes to congratulate his long-time fighter and former junior middleweight and middleweight champion Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez, for being included on the International Boxing Hall of Fame (IBHOF) ballot for the class of 2020.
In his long and storied career, Martinez held the Interim World Boxing Council World Super Welter Title and the WBC Middleweight Championship, which he defended six times. His memorable victories over Paul “The Punisher” Williams (KO 2) Kelly Pavlik (UD 12) and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (UD 12) cemented Martinez as one of the top fighters of the early 2010’s.
Lewkowicz, best-known as the man who discovered Manny Pacquiao, signed a then-unknown WBC Super Middleweight Champion David Benavidez and brought Martinez to North America, is also making his debut on the hall-of-fame ballot this year. Lewkowicz was a long-time advisor to Martinez through all the most important parts of his career and the pair enjoy a warm relationship to this day.
Martinez will have his work cut out for him to make the cut, as the Class of 2020 is stacked with superstars including Jorge Arce, Timothy Bradley, Vuyani Bungu, Joel Casamayor, Diego Corrales, Carl Froch, Bernard Hopkins, Juan Manuel Marquez, Shane Mosley, Antonio Tarver and Israel Vazquez.
“I congratulate the great champion, Sergio Martinez, for being named in this esteemed hall’s ballot. He was and will always be a role model and beloved fighter and this recognition is well deserved. I hope the judges see him as the great warrior he is and put him among the best of all time.”
Lewkowicz, a former amateur boxer, was born in Montevideo, Uruguay, and came to the US in 1971. He met then World Boxing Council President Jose Sulaiman while managing an electronics store in New York City and caught the boxing bug. The rest, as they say, is history.
He is nominated in the Non-Participant Category, along with 29 others including Kenny Adams (trainer), Rodney Berman (promoter), Freddie Brown (cut man), Bill Caplan (publicist), Miguel Diaz (trainer/cutman), Lou DiBella (promoter), Cameron Dunkin (manager), Kathy Duva (promoter), Duane Ford (judge); Al Gavin (cut man); Harry Gibbs (referee); Brad Goodman (matchmaker), Dr. Margaret Goodman (ringside physician), Dan Goossen (promoter), Chuck Hull (ring announcer), Brendan Ingle (trainer), Jackie McCoy (manager/trainer); Dave Moretti (judge), Carlos Padilla (referee), Abel Sanchez (trainer), Fritz Sdunek (trainer), Francisco “Paco” Valcarcel (administrator) and Ulli Wegner (trainer), Ted Broadribb (manager), Charles E. “Parson” Davies (Manager), Francois Deschamps (manager), Dai Dollings (trainer), John Fleming (manager/promoter) and Gilberto Mendoza Sr. (administrator).
The hall of fame’s electors, made up of members of the Boxing Writers Association of America and selected non-members of the BWAA as well as a panel of historians from Japan, England, Canada, Italy, South Africa, Germany, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the United States, will vote for five people in each category and, in Lewkowicz’s category, the top three vote-getters will be inducted.
Adding some hope to Martinez’s chances, the IBHOF has made a rule change that states that in addition to the top-three vote getters, any fighter who receives more than 80% of the vote will be inducted, creating the possibility of five fighters being enshrined in one year.
“It is just an honor to be on the ballot with so many great names,” continued Lewkowicz. “My hope is for Sergio Martinez, who deserves to take a place of honor among the greats. He is an icon and a treasure to his countrymen and deserves any accolades he receives.”