By Felipe Leon
Photo: Paul Gallegos
It has been a long winding road for twenty-six year old Christopher Martin (25-2-3, 8KOs). From first lacing up the gloves as a fourteen year old kid and now a professional for a little over six years, the correctional officer by the day and married father of two has known success but just recently also has tasted defeat. This coming Friday night, Martin has the opportunity to right one of those wrongs when he faces the man that gave him his first loss, veteran Jose Angel Beranza (35-25-2, 27KOs) of Mexico City in a super bantamweight eight rounder presented by Thompson Boxing at the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario, CA.
Everything was more than fine the morning of October 1st, 2011, Martin was on the verge of experiencing a series of firsts, his first fight for his new promoter Top Rank, his first fight in Las Vegas and his first time on a major fight card since his first match up against the rugged Berranza was on the undercard of Toshiaki Nishioka versus Rafael Marquez.
Unwillingly, Martin experienced another first.
Berranza unexpectedly took a close split decision over Martin over ten inspirited rounds from the San Diego fighter.
“He can take a punch and he is rugged,” Martin said of the Beranza who in his tenure of sixty-two fights in a seventeen year career has faced everybody who is anybody from flyweight to featherweight. “This time we are ready for everything he did in the first fight, punch and hold. I think I was too nice in the first fight, I could have been rugged, that was my mistake.
Top Rank retained him despite the loss and in his very next fight, put him in with the then once beaten Teon Kennedy who Martin fought to a majority draw on ESPN. After the fight, Martin received his walking papers from Top Rank and in early last year faced the highly touted Luis Orlando Del Valle who Martin dropped a unanimous decision to. Not be discouraged and with California’s Thompson Boxing now footing the bill, Martin vindicated himself with an impressive knock out of hard hitting Roberto Castañeda on ESPN and late last year, Martin scored another first by stopping Robert Guillen in two, the first time Martin scored two knockouts in a row.
Now back to his winning ways, the once highly ranked Martin is not taking a step back but only making a side bar to to prove something to himself. “That loss to Beranza was a tough fight but I know that ninety-nine times out of one hundred, I beat him. It was an off night and I want to prove it to everybody but more to myself. He took a little of my confidence.”
To make sure things this time are different, Martin has added on San Diego based trainer Joe Vargas to his team who along with Sergio Melendez, his long time teacher, is now working his corner.
“He understands me. This is my second fight with him and he knows me,” Martin stated. “Sergio is still there but sometimes he has a hard time putting his thoughts into words in the corner and Joe does that better. He knows a lot and he has seen many of my fights.”
Another difference will be that the rematch will not be in Las Vegas but in southern California, giving Martin the comfort of of fighting near his home but not exactly as familiar as his hometown where Martin enjoyed a healthy following fighting there multiple times. “It’s close. We have a bus going up with family and friends and I have family in Orange County, Riverside and Moreno Valley. It’s not San Diego but it feels like home.”
Always in shape, Martin has no intention of moving up in weight like many fighters do once the clock starts ticking. Comfortable in making the super bantamweight limit, Martin feels that the third time is the charm with his new promoter, Thompson Boxing, after fighting under the banner of Don Chargin and Bob Arum.
“I feel that a title shot is definitely close, I think its my time,” Martin said confidently. “I’m in my prime. I talked to Alex (Componovo, Thompson Boxing’s matchmaker) and he feels the same. They told me that they are going to keep me busy and get me ranked again. Look for a title shot with the WBC now that Mares left the title vacant and hopefully by the end of the year we get it.”
For Martin, only a ghost from the past is standing in his way.