Widely regarded as the world’s No. 3 pound-for-pound boxer after Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, lineal middleweight champion Sergio Martinez returns to action Saturday against England’s Darren Barker in Atlantic City (10 p.m. ET, HBO). SI.com caught up with the 36-year-old Argentine southpaw, who finds himself at an improbable career peak at an age when most fighters are thinking about retirement.
Age started fighting?
What’s your first boxing memory?
Watching Duran vs. Leonard on TV. I was so impressed and excited.
Who’s your favorite all-time fighter?
What’s the greatest fight you ever saw?
Tyson vs. Holyfield and Leonard vs. Hagler.
Who was the toughest opponent you ever fought?
What was your favorite subject in school?
What’s on your iPod?
System of a Down, Calle 13 and a mixture of Argentine music.
What is your favorite movie?
Midnight Run with Robert De Niro and The Usual Suspects with Kevin Spacey.
What would you be doing if you weren’t fighting?
A comedian or acting.
Favorite meal when out of training?
Asado, a kind of Argentine steak.
What would you change in boxing?
I would change the rankings and how the process works. I would make them more realistic.
What car do you drive?
Chevy Camero convertible.
What’s the biggest thing that changed from being a champion?
My family’s future.
Name three people you’d like to have dinner with (living or dead).
Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan and Nelson Mandela.
Pacquiao or Mayweather?
What advice would you give to young fighters coming up?
You can be betrayed by a friend, girlfriend, or even a family member but never from your training or gym. Never stop training.
What is your dream venue for a fight?
The MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
What sports do you watch outside of boxing?
Tennis, soccer, basketball, NFL and the Olympics. I love all sports.
Tell us something no one knows about you.
I want to pursue stand-up comedy and acting.
Your idea of happiness?
Love is happiness.
Your greatest fear?
Not reaching all my goals and dreams.
Your present state of mind?
I’m very focused right now and feeling better than ever.
When it’s all over, how do you want people to remember you?
I would like to be remembered as a great person and a great athlete.
– As told to Bryan Armen Graham