With the negotiations for a proposed blockbuster fight between Glendale's own Vanes "Nightmare" Martirosyan and Alfredo Angulo having long since gone cold, it now appears the closest Martirosyan will get to the man known as "Perro" for the foreseeable future is taking on an opponent who once fought Angulo.
Martirosyan's next fight is set for Oct. 29, a 10-rounder with Richard Gutierrez at the WinStar Casino in Thackerville, Okla. And, while that news is likely to disappoint those who were hoping to see the unbeaten light middleweight step up to the elite level of competition in the 154-pound division, the hope in Martirosyan's camp is that this will be the final small step toward a big-time title shot and a huge payday.
"I hoped the last one was the last step [to the title]," Martirosyan (30-0, 19 KOs) said of his seventh-round TKO victory over Saul Roman on June 4, which won him the World Boxing Council Silver light middleweight belt, securing him No. 1 contender status to the WBC light middleweight title currently held by Saul Alvarez. "Hopefully, they'll let this be the last one because I'm getting tired of it."
Instead of his win over Roman leading to a crack at Alvarez, who is signed to Golden Boy Promotions, Martirosyan was offered yet another eliminator bout with the rugged Angulo, another Golden Boy fighter, in Mexico on Nov. 5. The fight was scrapped in early September when negotiations reportedly broke down over Martirosyan's concern over sticking points ranging from money to venue.
And, in another intersecting career twist in a fall that has already seen him change managers, Martirosyan confirmed on Friday that his training camp for the Oct. 29 fight will be headed by Buddy McGirt.
Martirosyan's uncle, Serge Martirosyan, who replaced Steven Feder as his nephew's manager in early September, said Martirosyan's trainer for most of his career, Freddie Roach, gave his blessing for Martirosyan to find another trainer for the Gutierrez fight, while Roach is preoccupied training other clients. McGirt, winner of the Boxing Writers' Assn. of America Trainer of the Year Award for 2002, has cornered fighters such as Antonio Tarver, Arturo Gatti, Vernon Forrest and Lamon Brewster.
"[Roach] told me if I could find somebody to train for this fight, do it, and I know Buddy McGirt is a very respected trainer," Serge Martirosyan said. "We're going to let him train this fight and we'll go from there. If Vanes likes him and everything goes well, he might even stay with him."
Serge Martirosyan did say that his client will "hopefully" train with Roach again in the future when he is available, although Vanes Martirosyan was more noncommittal, saying, "For this fight, we'll see how it goes with Buddy. Freddie's always busy, so I need to think about me."
Glendale Fighting Club proprietor Edmond Tarverdyan had taken the lead in training Martirosyan for his last several fights and will remain involved, according to Serge Martirosyan.
"He's still on the team and he's a very good friend of ours," Serge Martirosyan said.
Gutierrez (26-7-1, 16 KOs), a Colombian native who fights out of Miami, was once considered a promising contender in the division, but is currently riding a three-fight losing streak and is 2-6-1 over his last nine fights.
At the peak of his ascent in the light middleweight division, Gutierrez challenged Angulo for the World Boxing Organization Inter-Continental title in May of 2008. He picked up his second loss in the fight, setting his current slide in motion.
"It's a good fight for me to stay busy and to get better," Vanes Martirosyan said. "I'm happy with it.
"Top Rank tells me, 'You want to fight this guy?' and I go, Yeah. It doesn't really matter to me who I fight."
The fight will be televised on the Top Rank Live series on Fox Deportes.