New York, NY. Next Wednesday, Middleweight Champion and pound-for-pounder Sergio "Maravilla" Martinez will have the opportunity of a lifetime when he sits down one-on-one with Pope Francis. The meeting between the two Argentineans will take place at the Vatican, and will mark the first time a professional fighter has had a one-on-one closed session meeting with the Pope since Muhammad Ali.
Martinez, who intends to speak about his anti-bullying and domestic violence against women campaigns, is absolutely ecstatic about the meeting.
"In the past couple of months, I will have had two of my dreams as a Catholic come true, to visit the Basilica of our Lady Guadalupe in Mexico and to be received by the Pope. I will be asking the Pope for blessings and spiritual protection to all of those who enter the ring," said Martinez.
"In his short time as leader of the Catholic Church, this gentle Pope from Argentina has already changed the dialogue of his people. I am thrilled that Sergio will have a private audience with Pope Francis and that he will be able to discuss his campaigns against bullying and domestic violence," said promoter Lou DiBella.
"Sergio Martinez continues to make history in our sport by having this historic meeting with Pope Francis. I'm very happy for Sergio, because as the great champion and great person that he is, he has earned this tremendous opportunity and honor of having this meeting," said longtime advisor Sampson Lewkowicz.
"Sergio's passion to help out people in need and who are down on their luck has truly exemplified the fact that you do not need to act brash or lack any tact in order for people to respect you in the boxing world. He is a great role model for young athletes around the world," added Nathan Lewkowicz, V.P. of Sampson Boxing.
Sergio will be accompanied to the meeting by longtime business manager Miguel De Pablos and Victor Gonzales, who was instrumental in the organization and staging of Martinez's last middleweight title defense in front of 50,000+ adoring Argentineans earlier this year. Sergio will be presenting the Pope with a special edition WBC green belt, with a picture of Pope Francis as well as the flag of the Vatican.