Legendary woman boxer Christy Martin is still recovering from being stabbed and shot in November yet she has already scheduled her next fight.
Martin and Dakota Stone will have a 12 March rematch of Martin’s September 2009, 10-round, majority decision victory when they meet on the Showtime pay-per-view televised undercard of a main event featuring WBA junior middleweight king Miguel Cotto against ex-belt-holder Ricardo Mayorga from the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas.
The fight is promoted by Top Rank Promotions’ Bob Arum and rival Don King. Martin (49-5-3, 31 knockouts), who turns 43 in June, and Stone (9-8-5, one KO), who will be 42 next month, were last in the ring against each other when Martin earned the WBC’s vacant light middleweight belt.
Martin was on hand with Cotto (35-2, 28 KOs) and Mayorga (29-7-1, 22 KOs) during Wednesday’s New York press conference at B.B. King’s Blues Club and Grill in Times Square.
“I can honestly say that I’m very glad to be with you today. I want to thank God for bringing us all here together. Mr. King did give me a wonderful opportunity that no one else would give me back in 1992-93,” said Martin, who once graced the cover of a 1996 Sports Illustrated.
“Mr. King put me on the pay-per-views and treated me like any other fighter, like, ‘Go out there and sink or swim, Christy,’“ said Martin. “I was fortunate enough to swim. And thanks to Showtime and the MGM Grand, 15 years ago, in 1996, March 16, I think it was.”
On 23 November, Martin was hospitalised after being shot and stabbed in her Orange County, Florida, home. Two days later, Orange County Sheriff’s Office spokesman, Jim Solomons, reported that the bed-ridden Martin — still hospitalized — had her Apopka-area home burgled.
A week laster, it was announced that Martin’s 66-year-old husband and former trainer, James Martin, was arrested in northwest Orange County as a suspect in the stabbing and shooting of his wife. James Martin was charged with attempted murder and aggravated battery with a weapon.
“I’ve been through a lot in the last few weeks that I’m sure you have all heard about, and it has given me the opportunity to start over again. Before I left the hospital I told everyone there that I would be back in the ring. Some believed me and some didn’t, but here we go.
“March 12 on pay-per-view on a great under card, and I’m great at opening for future hall-of-famers. It is an honour to be on the same card as Miguel Cotto and Ricardo Mayorga,” said Martin. “I just want to say one last thing. Life gives us all hurdles. Life gave me a lemon and I have definitely made pink lemonade. So we will put on a great show for you on March 12.”
The Cayman Islands boxing team met Martin just a few days before the attack. The team was in Tampa to fight on the Hurricane Boxing Club shot. They won seven out of 11 bouts.
A pioneer in women’s boxing in the 1990s, Martin went 3-0-1, over the course of her last three fights after losing an October, 2006, 10-round, split-decision to Angelica Martinez that was Martin’s third loss in her previous four match ups. Martin was stopped just once in her career in the fourth round by Laila Ali in August of 2003.
King handled the bulk of Martin’s career, often placing her “on these cards with Mike Tyson and Julio Cesar Chavez,” said Arum, who signed Martin to a multi-fight deal three weeks ago.
“Now, 15 years later, I have a new promoter, Mr. Arum. I think that shows a lot of class to let Mr. King do my introduction. He’s the one that stepped up first. Now, when I needed his help and needed a second chance, Mr. Arum is the one that stepped up and gave it to me,” said Martin.
“So thank you for that. Everyone at Top Rank has opened their arms and welcomed me in. I’m training hard, and Miguel Diaz is my new trainer, and we have a great team around me. I am going to be in great condition and we’re going to bring back the excitement we had in the 90s.”
Martin’s case against her husband is being represented by celebrity attorney Gloria Allred, a Los Angeles-based lawyer who has represented everyone from Tiger Woods’ alleged mistresses to the family of O.J. Simpson’s slain ex-wife.
Martin’s announced return already has drawn the attention of some of the top fighters in women’s boxing, one of which is Chevelle ‘Fists of Steel’ Hallback, a mobile boxer-puncher with good defence.
“I’ve fought the best female fighters there are. Lucia Rijker, Belinda Laracuente, Melissa Hernandez, Holly Holm, but the fight I’ve always wanted is Christy Martin. Now I’m going about making it happen and hopefully soon,” said Hallback, who is 28-6, with 11 knockouts.
“Years ago when Christy was with Don King, he wouldn’t make the match. So now, I am going to see if Bob Arum and Top Rank will,” said Hallback. “As soon as Christy gets through the fight with Dakota Stone, I’m ready to fight her. I said that I will fight anyone from 135-147, and Christy fits the bill.”
A former WBA and WBC welterweight and WBC junior middleweight king, even Mayorga expressed his admiration for Martin at the press conference. “Christy, it is an honour to be fighting on the same card as you the way you have always stood up for women’s rights,” said Mayorga. “I don’t even have tapes of all of my fights, but I have all of yours.”