Vanes "Nightmare" Martirosyan won't be the main event in his return to a Southern California ring, but he's still looking to put on a big show when he faces Ryan Davis at the Home Depot Center in Carson on Saturday.
"They're going to see that I'm ready. It's past due, it's time to fight for the title," said Martirosyan, a Glendale native, who will put his 32-0 (20 knockouts) record on the line in what is widely seen as the latest in a series of stay-busy fights for the light middleweight world title hopeful. "Give me an opportunity, that's what I'm waiting for. This is going to be a statement that we're ready, so let's do it. It will probably be a knockout, I don't know what round, but hopefully in the first five rounds."
Martirosyan's fight is scheduled for 10 rounds on the undercard of the super bantamweight world title match between Nonito Donaire and Jeffrey Mathebula. His fight will directly precede the co-main event between Kelly Pavlik and Will Rosinksy that will lead off the HBO Boxing After Dark telecast at 7 p.m. It's a far cry from the headlining fights that Martirosyan has been publicly clamoring for since ascending to World Boxing Council No. 1 contender status last year, but Martirosyan is still hoping it's a big enough platform to get his message across.
With all the focus seemingly on whether or not Martirosyan will get his title chase back on track, not many are giving Davis (24-9-3, nine KOs) much of a chance to win Saturday, including Martirosyan, apparently.
"They sent me the tape [of Davis], I didn't watch the tape, I gave the tape to [strength and conditioning coach] Roma [Kalenteryan]," said Martirosyan, who is fighting in his home state for the first time since beating Saul Roman at Staples Center last June. "He'll tell me what to do. I don't really train for [Davis], I train for bigger fights, but I also train for him just in case. I'm ready for whatever."
Martirosyan may be taking the fight lightly, but Davis has no shortage of sources of motivation, not the least of which is the change of venue in early June from El Paso to what is essentially Martirosyan's hometown. Davis said it took him by surprise and seems to him like a blatant ploy to further stack the deck in favor of the prohibitive favorite.
"It did [bother me]," said Davis, who fights out of East Saint Louis, Ill. "I don't know what the circumstances were, why they moved it. ...I think it was just BS so he could get the hometown advantage.
"But it is what is. Come Saturday night, I'm going to go out there and do my thing regardless of where it's at."
Davis, who has been fighting as a pro for 12 years, went a span of 14 fights from Oct. 2001 to March 2004 without losing, but is 6-6-2 since 2005. He has won three of his last four fights, including a six-round unanimous decision over Jeremy Parks in his last fight on April 13. He hasn't prevailed in a fight set for longer than eight rounds since outlasting Juan Carlos Garcia in March of 2005 in 10 rounds.
Davis does have some recent experience being an underdog to an unbeaten fighter in a hostile environment, as he took German prospect Dominik Britsch (26-0) into the ninth round of their 12-round bout for the vacant International Boxing Federation Intercontinental middleweight title in Munich on July 16, 2011 before being knocked out.
"Hopefully [Martirosyan's] overlooking me and using me as a person to stay busy," Davis said, "but I've got other things in store for him.
"He's an outstanding boxer, I just want to try to outbox him myself. I'm looking forward to a good fight and I'm looking forward to the opportunity to get a chance to fight this guy."
In a bid to beef up his profile as a title contender, Martirosyan has strengthened his body while training for Davis under Kalenteryan.
Because of other commitments, Freddie Roach, Martirosyan's longtime trainer, has been more in and out of the picture during the pair's second stint together, which began in March 2009. Most of the preparation for Martirosyan's last few fights was overseen by Glendale Fighting Club proprietor Edmond Tarverdyan, but Martirosyan said he worked exclusively with Roach and Kalenteryan both at Roach's Wild Card Boxing Club and locally at Martirosyan's own Main Event Gym.
"I'm back with Roman, he's been training me and conditioning-wise, I'm really strong," Martirosyan said. "I feel really ready to go.
"[Roach] has been working with me a lot every day at the gym. People are going to see how physically strong I've been since I started working with Roman again."