‘Martínez capable of punishing Bascome’
David Martínez will look to expose any vulnerabilities Nikki Bascome may have bubbling beneath the surface after being knocked out in his previous bout.
That is according to Manuel Garrido, Martínez's manager and trainer, who believes Bascome could show signs of weakness in his first outing since his brutal defeat by Portugal's Fábio Costa a year ago.
Martínez, who has 12 wins from 15 fights, certainly seems a dangerous opponent for Bascome, but with the vacant IBA international welterweight title on the line for the winner, the rewards arguably outweighs the risk.
Garrido, however, has questioned the logic of Bascome making his return to the ring in a fight of this magnitude and against someone of Martínez's calibre.
“I'm sure [the knockout] will be a factor for Nikki Bascome,” Garrido told The Royal Gazette. “When a fighter gets knocked out, it's in your head and it stays in your head. After a knockout like that, you usually don't fight for a while and when you do comeback, your promoter tries to get you a fighter who is less experienced and not that strong.
“You have to carefully choose the right opponent after a tough knockout. I don't think they are doing that; [Martínez] is a very, very smart fighter.”
In an effort to tighten up his defence, Bascome has spent several months training at the Mayweather Boxing Club in Las Vegas under the supervision of Jeff Mayweather, who will be in his corner at the Fairmont Southampton on Saturday night.
Despite the presence of Mayweather, the uncle of Floyd — the undefeated former multiple-weight world champion — Garrido is confident his man will have too much ring craft for the home favourite.
“[Bascome] got caught with an uppercut and then just stood there and took a couple of punches,” said Garrido, who has been busy preparing Martínez at the Miura Boxing Gym in Mexico City. “That was a result of a lot of defensive mistakes. Obviously we are preparing for him not to make those mistakes any more, but we will see.”
Although Martínez has fought only twice outside of Mexico, losing on both occasions in Canada, Garrido does not feel there is any extra pressure on the 25-year-old. Conversely, he wonders how Bascome will handle the stress of challenging for a title in front of a partisan crowd.
“All of the pressure is on Nikki Bascome,” he said. “All of the people will be looking out for him; all of his family, all of his friends. It's a different kind of stress.”
Garrido said Martínez is far more than just a force of non-stop aggression, a trait often associated with Mexican boxers, and that he is capable of fighting inside, at mid-range and outside.
“He can box around or he can push himself forward and look for the knockout,” said Garrido, who will not make the trip to Bermuda because of work commitments. “It all depends on what Nikki Bascome shows. If Bascome wants to box around, then [Martínez] will push the fight in. If Bascome looks for a fight, he'll box him around. Martínez is comfortable with both strategies.”
Bascome, 28, has already beaten one fighter from Garrido's boxing stable, having earned a unanimous points win over Mexican David Rangel at North Field, National Sports Centre, in May last year.
Martínez, however, is “way smarter” than Rangel, and has impressed his coach in sparring against Ricardo “Magic Man” Salas, who won the Wray and Nephew Contender series in July, and respected Mexican welterweight Diego Cruz.
“[Martínez] is a much better all-round fighter than David Rangel,” he added. “He has a better geography of the ring and his punches actually go into the opponent. David Rangel is a tough guy, a strong guy, but he misses a lot of punches.”