RSR: Legend Retires, Weird Debut, Saudi Money Talk, Etc



RSR: Legend Retires, Weird Debut, Saudi Money Talk, Etc
Salute, tough man Kiko Martinez

The great thing about this column is I have complete control over the content that fills it. While I’m open to suggestions from my editor and writing colleagues, it’s a huge privilege to be able to share the boxing thoughts that have been rattling around inside my head each Sunday.

With that said, this week’s composition offers up three different slices of randomness for your consideration.

Former two-time world champion Kiko Martinez has retired from boxing.

The 37-year-old Spaniard who boxed professionally for 19 years announced he was hanging them up last weekend.

Kiko Martinez, Boxer from Spain

From a career ending to one just beginning. Aadam Hamed, the 23-year-old son of former world champion “Prince” Naseem Hamed, debuted on the Usyk-Dubois undercard on August 26.

Randomly, and that makes it perfect for this column, Hamed’s one sided victory took place right before the main event.

Before I wrap today’s column up I’ll put out a little suspicion I have surrounding Saudi Arabia’s interest in continuing to pay huge site fees in order to host boxing matches.

Let the randomness commence…..

Adiós Campeón

Around the time I was finalising last week’s RSR, I learned that Kiko Martinez had announced his retirement from boxing.

The veteran, who compiled a record of 44-12-2 with 31 wins coming inside the distance, had been grinding on the professional circuit since 2004.

During his career, the man who was born in Elche, Alicante, Spain and was known as “La Sensacion” (The Sensation) often had to fight on the road.

As his pro journey unfolded Martinez gloved up in Ireland, South Africa, France, Japan, Argentina, America and the United Kingdom.

In fact UK boxing fans got used to seeing Martinez as he boxed there 11 times during his campaign.

He was a stalwart at super bantamweight and later featherweight.

Martinez enjoyed world title success twice.

Kiko Martinez retired

One good thing about social media, fans are now better able to publicly salute their favorites when those vets exit the big stage of competition

In 2013 he shocked unbeaten Jonathan Romero in Atlantic City to capture the Colombian’s IBF 122-pound title.

Martinez would defend that belt twice before losing it to Carl Frampton in a 2014 Belfast brawl for the ages.

In 2021 “La Sensacion” produced another upset when he stopped Kid Galahad in Galahad’s hometown of Sheffield, England. That victory saw Martinez capture the IBF 126-pound title.

Along with world titles, Martinez also won the European title at both 122 and 126-pounds.

From Bernard Dunne and Rendall Monroe to Scott Quigg, Leo Santa Cruz, Josh Warrington and the aforementioned Carl Frampton, Martinez faced all the main players in his weight classes in his close to two decades as a pro.

Always in entertaining fights, his attritional style didn't seem suited to a long career, but somehow the gutsy battler from Elche managed to achieve longevity in the sport.

Martinez last fought in April, dropping a unanimous decision to Reiya Abe in Tokyo.

After he made his announcement, many former foes offered some words of praise for Martinez and his career.

Josh Warrington wrote: “Congratulations Kiko on a fantastic career. It was an honour to share the ring with you on both occasions. I wish you all the best in the future my friend. A real fighting man.”

Carl Frampton, who also faced Martinez twice tweeted, “Spain’s greatest ever fighter. I’ve a lot of respect for the majority of my opponents but none more than Kiko Martinez. Enjoy your retirement Campeón.”

Kiko Martinez was held in high regard by boxing fans and opponents alike.

Thanks for the memories, Kiko, and all the best for your future. You served the sport of boxing with class and dignity.

“Prince” Naseem Hamed’s Son Makes His Professional Bow

Another son with a very famous boxing father has arrived on the scene.

23-year-old Aadam Hamed didn’t have an amateur career so his bout in Poland Saturday night was his first experience of stepping through the ropes for a meaningful contest.

Prince Naseem Hamed and son Aadam

The Prince and his boy

On the broadcast I watched it was explained that Hamed had been working intensively in the gym for around two years in order to prepare for his launch into professional boxing.

He certainly looked like a professional boxer, with his well defined muscle tone and athletic physique in sharp contrast to that of his opponent.

Hamed took on 17-year-old Vojtech Hrdy, who looked like he had never lifted a bag of groceries, let alone trained for professional combat.

The youngster from the Czech Republic looked like he weighed around 100-pounds (Hamed was 139-pounds for the record) and presented the skinniest set of arms and legs I have ever seen on a male boxer.

The elastic on his shorts must have been glued on to him as he had no waist to speak of.

It was strange to imagine him taking part in any type of sporting contest.

What was also peculiar was Hamed-Hrdy being allocated the chief support bout.

The stadium was full with the Usyk-Dubois crowd when this fight began.

I guess Hamed’s name recognition played a part in this but I think it would be better for these young boxers, who are carrying a certain amount of pressure and expectation on their shoulders because of who their fathers are, to be able to learn and develop away from a stadium full of spectators and a huge global TV audience.

The bout was a complete mismatch with Hrdy just waiting to get beat.

He took a few shots then cowered away in the corner while Hamed threw a combination or two before the towel was tossed in.

Hamed Jr. begins his campaign with a TKO1 victory but from the opponent to its positioning on the card, everything about it was freakish.

Is Saudi Arabia About To Bail Out Of Boxing?

This has absolutely no basis to it at all, but hear me out.

As we know, Saudi Arabia has been a popular landing spot for several big boxing matches over the past couple of years.

Large site fees were paid by the Saudi monarchy to ensure the events landed in their country.

High profile boxers got used to the huge paydays and now seem to expect more of the same.

The money that Saudi Arabia uses to bring sporting events to the Kingdom comes from its Public Investment Fund (PIF).

Since boxing and perhaps a Formula One Grand Prix have been hosted in the country, the PIF money has been used to set up a golf tour to rival the PGA Tour in America and DP World Tour which is based in Europe.

Very recently, the PIF kitty has been dipped into again to take over four football (soccer) clubs in the country.

The aim of this is to improve the standard of the Saudi league by bringing in established football stars from the much stronger European leagues.

Large sums of money are being paid in transfer fees; huge wages are being dangled in front of some of the world’s finest players.

The clubs that are now owned by the PIF in Saudi Arabia are Al Ittihad, Al Ahli, Al Nassr and Al Hilal.

Some of the big name players that have been tempted to leave elite European leagues include Riyad Mahrez, Sadio Mane, Jordan Henderson and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.

The biggest star to so far join the Saudi revolution is Brazilian Neymar Jr.

When considering Neymar’s wages I began to wonder if the money on offer to boxing promotions may decrease slightly.

Neymar will reportedly earn $500,000 a day. Yes, half a million bucks per day for the duration of his stay at Al Hilal.


Show of hands, who else would allow themselves to be kicked in the head for $500,000 a day?

They also paid around $90 million to secure his transfer from French club Paris Saint Germain.

This is only one transfer window. If the Saudis continue to invest in football like this over the coming years then it will see a major shift in the power base of the sport – both in finance and quality of competition terms.

While the PIF in Saudi Arabia isn’t likely to run out – I looked into this and learned that its assets under management are currently valued at $595 billion – it looks like they might have shifted their focus to investing in football over everything else.

Boxing could still be part of the Saudi sporting vision.

The Fury-Ngannou event will take place there in October and an announcement on Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua facing off in the Kingdom in January is expected soon.

It might be worth noting though how the money the PIF of Saudi Arabia puts forward to host future boxing events compares to site fees they paid in the past. Before they heard about football.

A boxing fan since his teenage years, Morrison began writing about the sport in July 2016. He appreciates all styles of boxing and has nothing but respect for those who get in the ring for our entertainment. Morrison is from Scotland and can be found on Twitter @Morrie1981.