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Hatton: Murray could make history

Martin Murray. Photo: Dave Thompson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

By David Charlesworth

Martin Murray will go down in history if he defeats middleweight Sergio Martinez in his own back yard tonight, according to his promoter and fellow Briton Ricky Hatton.

Murray goes into his bout with the WBC and Lineal champion in Buenos Aires as a firm underdog, not only due to his opponent's fearsome record but also because Martinez will be fighting on home soil.

Martinez has tasted defeat only once in his last 36 outings, although a highly controversial points loss against fellow southpaw Paul Williams in December 2009 was avenged by a savage one-punch knockout win in their re-match a year later.

He has since gone on to defeat Darren Barker and Matthew Macklin and will be looking for a hat-trick of victories over British opposition when he takes on Murray this evening.

However, Hatton believes the contest will be an ideal chance for the Merseysider to announce himself onto the grandest stage in the same way he did by defeating Kostya Tszyu in Manchester for the IBF light-welterweight title back in 2005.

"When I beat Kostya Tszyu, it went down as one of the best wins in the British boxing ring and by a British fighter," Hatton said.

"I think Martin Murray's will be exactly the same if he can beat Martinez. In front of 40,000 Argentineans it will be an outstanding achievement and it's a great personal feeling for me.

"Seeing how you bring someone along from day one, you match them down and you get them events.

"I became a world champion myself and from a personal point view, promoting a world champion is a major goal for me.

"The main thing is I know how winning a world title changed my life and made a better life for me and my family and that's hopefully what this fight will do for Martin and his family."

Unbeaten Murray, whose only other crack at a world title ended in a disputed draw against then-WBA title holder Felix Sturm, is firmly aware most observers are expecting him to become Martinez's 51st professional scalp.

But the 30-year-old (25-0-1) is confident he can upset the odds.

"I've not come over here to lose or to make numbers up. I've trained hard and I truly believe I can win," he said.

"Sergio's a great fighter who I've looked up to over the past couple of years but I truly think it's my time.

"Whatever Sergio brings on Saturday I'll be ready for and I'm just looking forward to being in a great fight." For his part, Martinez is not looking past his latest foe.

"This is going to be a very tough fight, I am fully aware of that. I know how people can predict but when you get in the ring it's a fight," he said.

"This guy deserves to be in the ring with me so I'm prepared for a very tough fight."