Prospect Watch: Jesus “Panterita” Martinez
On June 10, 17-year-old bantamweight Jesus “Panterita” Martinez (1-0, 0 KOs) made his professional debut, scoring a four-round decision win over Daniel Nunez Gomez (1-1, 0 KOs) at the Domo Alcalde in Guadalajara, Mexico on DAZN. Martinez’ debut was a highly anticipated one.
The young man from Del Rio, Texas, enters the pro ranks off a decorated amateur career. He amassed a 137-9 record and was a 14-time United States National champion as well as an international champion. With so much success and still so young, one would think he would stay around with aspirations of the 2024 Olympics in Paris, France. But the temptation to turn pro proved to be an opportunity he refused to pass on.
HIGHLY SOUGHT AFTER
In January 2022, Martinez signed a management deal with International Sports Group, a new management company founded by Hall of Fame inductee Joe Calzaghe and business partner Darren Barker. The two were ringside in Guadalajara to witness their fighter’s pro debut.
Fighting on the undercard of Hiroto Kyoguchi’s eighth-round stoppage win over Esteban Bermudez to retain the WBA light flyweight title, Martinez put Gomez down in the opening round. While he didn’t score a highlight-reel knockout, he won comfortably. You can see why Calzaghe and Barker decided to sign him.
What stood out was his speed and power. There were moments when he rushed himself, however, the skills, fundamentals, and physical ability are clear to see.
THIS IS ONLY THE BEGINNING
Martinez has goals of winning world titles in multiple weight divisions. After the win, the fighter was understandably ebullient. He left the viewing audience this message during the post-fight interview.
“You haven’t seen nothing yet. I don’t wanna sound arrogant or anything, but you haven’t seen nothing yet. There’s so much more left in me.”
One can never guarantee what heights a young and ambitious fighter will reach in their career. But Martinez is a young man with plenty of talent. Plus, he has a great support team backing him. At the very least, his future looks to be a very bright one.
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By: Michael Wilson Jr.