A little over three weeks ago Vanes Martirosyan,36-3-1-(21), received a phone call offering him the opportunity to fight Gennady Golovkin, 37-0-1-(33), on May 5 after Saul ‘Caneo’ Alvarez pulled out following a failed drug test. It did not take the 32 year old Armenian born fighter long to make a decision and accept the biggest challenge of his life because he believes that he will finally be facing a man that will not take a backward step.
At the StubHub Center in Carson, California this Saturday, Martirosyan will finally fulfil his dream of fighting on the biggest stage and on a conference call recently Martirosyan spoke about facing the pound for pound No.1 boxer in the world.
Below is what Vanes Martirosyan had to say
VANES MARTIROSYAN: We are very blessed to have this opportunity. We can’t wait – this is what we dream about having a fight like this. I am just so excited and every day I have a big smile on my face. I will get to show the world where I belong in this sport. I finally get a guy that wants to fight and come forward. Other fights I have had with fighters running away not wanting to engage. It’s a perfect fight for Cinco de Mayo because it is going to be two guys -- Mexican-Style fighters -- going head to head. It will be a perfect show for the boxing fans. They are going to enjoy this fight on the night.
How has it been for you the last couple of weeks once you took the fight? Has the backlash given you motivation?
VANES MARTIROSYAN: We are in the gym every day, whether we are boxing or doing strength work with Jesse Forbes -- we are there every day -- so when fights kept falling out we were getting depressed, because we were happy training for fights, then fighters were pulling out. When we got information about this fight being GGG’s next fight, we’re excited and so happy to get to work. Nothing but happiness and everything in camp has been going great. We went to SNAC for a week with Victor Conte and we trained up there then we came back. Everything is good. I have no excuses. People talk about taking the fight on short notice but we are ready. You could wake me up in my sleep and I am ready to fight. I’ve been doing this since I was seven years old. We have been waiting for an opportunity like this and we are happy that Tom Loeffler and GGG that they accepted it and so did we and we are going to put on a great show on the 5th.
How did it help you staying in the gym? Many guys say they do but really don’t.
VANES MARTIROSYAN: We were supposed to fight in June and then it was March – March 17, I was supposed to fight Sulecki and he pulled out. Then they told me I was fighting March 29, then it was April 9 – guys just kept falling out and we just stayed in the gym. When we got the call for the fight they asked me if I could be 176 by Thursday or Friday and I weighed in that day at 174 or 175 that day. One week before the fight we came in at 167 so we are in shape and we are good to go. My trainer Edmund always tells me ‘fight or no fight, stay in the gym and stay sharp. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a fight.’ I know some fighters when they don’t have a fight they just stay home chillin’ till they get the call to go in the gym. When you’ve done it for such a long time you get tired of training. The good thing about my team is fight or no fight – go to the gym for 30 or 40 minutes even if you’re going to watch sparring – we are always in the gym and always around boxing. We were happy to get the call and ready to go on the 5th.
VANES MARTIROSYAN: When we signed for the fight I need to be 176 lbs. a couple days after but I was already there. It was the WBC 30-day weigh-in and I stepped on a scale and I was 176 and then last week I weighed in at 167, so the weight has been good.
What kind of changes in training have you had to make to now prepare for GGG?
VANES MARTIROSYAN: Edmund is my head trainer and we have been training for fights so when we got the fight all I had to do – we went to SNAC – and that’s where Danny Jacobs was while he prepared for GGG – so we went there for about a week and a half training in the high altitude and we came back down here with Jesse Forbes – a great strength and conditioning coach, so we just got ready for Golovkin – we are fighters and styles do make fights and I think that GGG’s style and mine fit very well. I just want to see where I belong in the sport. I never had the opportunity to show. . I can honestly say, and I promise you guys that this is the first time of my life in camp that I have been so happy with my trainers, with my strength trainers – everybody’s working together and nobody is arguing about anything. The good thing about Edmund is he is like a friend, like a brother we are family. When you see how Gennady is with Abel and his team with Tom – they are a class act and for the first time in my life everyone is so classy – everybody is together, working together rather than people trying to take control over things. Right now I am in the gym sweating my butt off and that’s why I was a little bit late to this call, and I apologize for that, and I just want to say one thing about Golovkin and Tom and his camp – this is the first time in my life that I have seen gentlemen and everything has been so classy with everything – with the promotion and the press and everybody. There is no cursing trying to promote the fight – everybody knows how big this fight is for me and for GGG – he’s going for a record and I’m also going for a record – to beat the baddest man on the planet – just the thought of that alone is amazing.
What was the reaction of your fan base when they heard about this fight?
VANES MARTIROSYAN: All of my fans in Glendale were so excited. But I do have to say that most of my fans are also GGG fans.
And your wife . . .
VANES MARTIROSYAN: Well I do have to clear that up. We were watching fights ago and I asked my wife – who do you like besides me? I didn’t even know I was getting the GGG fight this was 4 or 5 weeks ago. She said ‘you obviously, there is no one else.’ And I said ‘no, you have to pick someone.’ My wife is actually Asian and she said ‘the Korean guy’ and I didn’t know who she was talking about. She said Gennady the guy is so nice and I said, yes, I think GGG is part Asian also, if I’m not mistaken. She likes guys that are humble. I think people took it the wrong way.
The fan reaction of you fighting GGG?
VANES MARTIROSYAN: I get messages from my fans saying ‘we are GGG fans but we are supporting you for this fight.’ All of the Armenians are big fans of GGG – I’m also a fan of GGG – the guy is a killer, he’s a good fighter and people respect that. The part I respect about him most is that he’s a clean fighter and he does everything straight – he doesn’t try to dodge anything and he’s a gentleman. He goes in there and he does his job and he gets out of there. There’s no yelling or hollering ‘I’m the baddest man in the world.’ Actions speak louder than words and he has proven that.
Vanes, can you tell us why you will win on Saturday night . . .
VANES MARTIROSYAN: The hunger, you know, and being out of the ring for so long. I love boxing with all my heart and all we do every day is just wake up every morning, go online and read boxing news. I’ve just been hoping and waiting for this opportunity and I can honestly say this will be the best version of me. A lot of people see me as my nickname “Nightmare” and they don’t really know how I got that name. I didn’t pick that name – that name was given to me when I fought Timothy Bradley. I’m the last guy he lost to before he turned professional. I beat Austin Trout three times, I beat Andre Berto and the fans gave that name to me. They were like ‘I don’t know who this kid is but he’s like a nightmare.’ At one of my fights someone yelled ‘the Armenian Nightmare’ through the crowd and that’s how that name stuck with me. This fight is going to be a nightmare. We are trying to beak our record, he’s trying to break a record and the StubHub is going to break a record. I’m trying to break a record by becoming the middleweight champion of the world. For the Armenian’s and for all fans it’s going to be a great fight.
VANES MARTIROSYAN: Most of GGG’s opponents – when they got into the ring they already lost. They already thought about the power before they got in the ring and they fought defensive. Gennady is a monster and the he hits really hard. So they got in the ring scared and I don’t get in the ring scared. I am going to do my thing, just go in there and have fun to see where I belong in this sport and to see what this man is about. I never turn down fights. If you look at my last five fights – Andrade, Ishe Smith, Charlo, Lara and Alberto Lorenzo – those are just my last five fights. I don’t back down from anyone. I take all fights and this is another one and you are going to see the best of me.
Do you consider it an advantage that you will be the bigger guy in the ring?
VANES MARTIROSYAN: I always fought better at higher weight classes. Whenever there was a catch-weight in my career I always did better. I think it’s going to be good because I don’t have to kill myself to make 154. I remember when I fought Lara they day before the weigh-in I was 162 and I had to cut eight pound to make 154 – 24 hours before the weigh-in. At times I had trouble making 154 but I always made it – the struggle is like that for all fighters. For a short camp like this it is perfect. The weight is good and everything is good and I can’t wait to rock and roll. I’m strong at 160. I might be bigger and I think 160 is a great weight class for me and I’m going to be there for a while I think.