By George Diaz, Orlando Sentinel (TNS) | Saturday August 6, 2016

Christy Martin stood on a stage in Las Vegas last weekend with no one hovering over her, telling her what to say.

That’s how it was before, for so many years. Martin was the most powerful female boxer on the planet, but she offered little resistance to an abusive husband. He punched her in places that wouldn’t be obvious in public. Whispered talking points to include in interviews. Picked friendships and ended them.

And when it finally started to unravel, he stabbed her in the chest three times, shot her and left her to die in their home in Apopka, Fla.

That horrific story needs to be told to provide context for the other one:

Christy Salters Martin is still standing. Proudly, defiantly. That’s what the other night was all about. She became the first woman inducted into the Nevada Hall of Fame.

The crowd never heard the symbolic middle-finger flip to her ex-husband, but it was obvious: You tried to silence me. You tried to kill me. You failed.

“What made it so special was this (is) my first major award I received with no one over my shoulder, there was no one whispering in my ear,” she said. “This happened because of what I did. I didn’t even know I was on the ballot. No one else who could take credit.”

Christy can take credit for a lot of things, including becoming the first female boxer to scale Mount Everest. She was the one who helped put everybody on the map — Laila Ali, Lucia Rijker and, yes, a trajectory that includes stars of the MAA like Ronda Rousey.

Martin hit like a girl and made it hurt.

She rocked the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1996. Don King put her on the undercard of Mike Tyson’s fights. She earned in excess of $100,000 a fight, crazy money for a female fighter.

She earned every penny. Martin would finish with a career-record of 49 victories, almost dying to get that elusive 50th one that would have provided the perfect bookmark from her first win in 1989.

Victories came in bunches for the “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” a nod to her roots in West Virginia. But no one knew the backstory. As Christy and her husband settled into Central Florida, the dynamics of the relationship devolved into toxic chaos.

Jim Martin was 24 years her senior, and also her manager. He would come to wrest control of everything, including her self-esteem. Caught in the throes of a abusive relationship, Martin found comfort in the arms of another woman, a high school friend.

Jim Martin spied on them as they kissed outside a motel in Daytona Beach in November 2010, setting up the bloody final scene of a marriage that was already a sham.

A calf muscle was nearly cut to the bone. A bullet missed her heart by four inches. Her lung collapsed twice. Christy crawled out to the street and begged a stranger for help.

“So many people tell me my 50th victory was getting up off the floor, getting out of that house,” she said. “Damn, I tried so hard for that last victory, but it just didn’t happen.”

Martin nearly died chasing that elusive 50th victory. She fought Dakota Stone and broke her right hand in nine places in June 2011. A subsequent surgery turned into a seven-hour ordeal. When she woke up she couldn’t see, walk or talk. Martin had suffered a stroke.

Martin, now 48, still has occasional problems with short-term memory and double vision, but she can see clearly now in so many ways. She now lives in Charlotte, N.C., where she works as a substitute teacher. She is set to do her first boxing promotion in October in Charlotte.

She is in a relationship with Sherry Lusk, the woman involved in that tempestuous final scene with Jim, who is serving 25 years in a Florida prison for attempted second-degree murder with a firearm.

But Christy is free.

“I’m finally, after all these years, my own person,” she said.

“The Lady is a Champ,” the Sports Illustrated cover story once proclaimed.

Twenty years later, she can also call herself a boxing Hall of Famer, right next to Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran and all the others.

Martin has bled for her craft and suffered in and out of the ring. But like any true champion, she remembers one of the most important details in her sport:

When you get knocked down, get back up.

©2016 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.)

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By Percy Crawford | August 18, 2016 

"I understand that I knocked down a lot of doors and a lot of barriers, but the main important thing for me on that Saturday night, and Rich was up there and he announced me as the next inductee, it wasn't Christy Martin the woman boxer, it was Christy Martin the boxer. And that's what I wanted for my entire career to really just fit into the sport and for people to acknowledge my skills as a boxer and for a fighter and not for a woman fighter," female boxing icon Christy Martin, who looked back on her career and the state of women's boxing. Check it out!

PC: Congratulations on being inducted into the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame.

CM: Thank you! You know, that was the most unbelievable and special night of my boxing career. Leading up to that, there were different times that were really cool that I had as number one, but I think that bumped everything and it really stands alone as the greatest achievement of my career.

PC: Did you have any expectations going into induction weekend and did it exceed what you even expected the festivities to be?

CM: You know, to be honest with you, I had no clue that I was on the ballot and that I was being considered. I didn't know anything. The phone call from Rich Marotta was so out of the blue and unexpected that I didn't even know what to say to him to be honest. Really, what I thought was, "Is this a joke?" I know Rich Marotta's voice from hearing him commentate fights often, but it was just unexpected. It was a special weekend. They did so many great things to make it first class treatment. They fly you in first class, I was in a beautiful suite, and the sponsors and all of the volunteers; everybody involved with the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame treated me like a top dog. It was a weekend that I will always remember and it's really and truly the biggest highlight of my career.

PC: Did you write a speech or did you freestyle it?

CM: I had a stroke back in 2011, so therefore the freestyle stuff has kind of gone out the window. I wrote down my talking points and even with that, I got so excited when I got up there that I skipped over the first thing and that was to thank everybody from the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame and congratulate all of the other inductees; the basic things you need to say. I went right into thanking my people and how awesome it was. I don't know how I skipped that, but once I got back to my seat, I sat down and I was like, "Oh shit, how did I forget to say that to the most important people here?" Hopefully they realize that I'm thankful and how grateful I am for the nomination and induction. It was awesome.

PC: The word pioneer can rarely be used; you fit that word to a tee. To have that recognized and appreciated in the manner in which it was, how did that feel to be recognized as the anchor for female boxing?

CM: You know, that was a role that I really didn't covet then and I still have hot and cold feelings about it. I understand that I knocked down a lot of doors and a lot of barriers, but the main important thing for me on that Saturday night, and Rich was up there and he announced me as the next inductee, it wasn't Christy Martin the woman boxer, it was Christy Martin the boxer. And that's what I wanted for my entire career to really just fit into the sport and for people to acknowledge my skills as a boxer and for a fighter and not for a woman fighter. I didn't want them to say, "She's good for a woman fighter." I wanted them to say, "Man, you see those double and triple hooks that she throws; that's a good boxer." I felt that accomplishment when I got inducted into the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame.

PC: Do you feel you left anything on the table or something that you would have liked to accomplish before you retired from the sport?

CM: It's bittersweet because I tried so hard to get to the 50th win and I just couldn't make it for whatever reason. And then, back in I think it was '05, I signed to fight Lucia [Rijker] and the week of the fight or maybe 10 days before the fight, she pulled out. That was devastating to my career because the very, very truth is, at that point, I should've retired. Because at that point, it no longer was about me loving the sport; it became business. I always said that I would not fight any longer once it became a job. And after the Rijker fight fell through, it really became just a job because I was so disappointed and so disheartened that that fight didn't happen. For the longest time, it was just a job. When I came back and fought Dakota Stone after I had been shot and stabbed and all that, it wasn't just a job; it was my love for boxing and my love for life and I wanted to make a statement that night that I had came back and I wasn't going to let the things that had happened to me keep me down.

PC: You are a promoter now. Tell us a little bit about Pink Promotions and how this got started for you.

CM: Pink Promotions, I've actually had the company established for a couple of years and the timing was just never right. Finally I have my personal money and I'm doing a show on October 19th here in Charlotte and everything is pretty much in place. We're going to have Christian Camacho, one of Hector's younger sons, we're going to have a women's NABF title fight on the show, and we're going to use a local kid from here in Charlotte, Quinton Rankin, that can punch like… I mean, he is a world-class puncher. He's only 11-2, he hasn't gotten the greatest exposure, and he probably needs to step up his training just a little bit. He trains hard, but he needs to train around champions to see how they do work. But I'm really excited that he's on the top of my card. I think he's going to bring a lot of interest to Charlotte boxing and just promote the heck out of him. I just want to have a lot of fun. I'm finally about to have all of the logistical stuff put in place, so in a week or so, I'm just going to be able to promote and that's going to be the fun part for me. I want to help these kids and help them get their careers off of the ground and who knows, maybe we could be fortunate enough to get one of them to take the path that I was able to take fighting under Tyson, Chavez, and Trinidad, and all of those great legends. If they could share some of those experiences, it would be great to relive that again.

PC: Your approach to boxing was so hardcore and you always worked so hard and left it all in the ring. I'm sure we can expect you to leave it all in the office as well.

CM: Thank you, and I'm trying, and that's exactly what I plan to do; leave no stone unturned. Anything I can do to make this promotion a success, I'm going to do it and anything I can do to make these fighters more successful, I'm gonna do. Yeah, I'm a promoter now, but I don't have the same mentality as so many promoters that get into the business where it's all about making money. I don't want to lose any money and I hope to make a little bit, but I want to see my fighters and the fighters that fight on my shows be successful and watch them grow as people and fighters. That's as important to me as how much money we're making at the end of the night.

PC: You fought former UFC champion Holly Holm towards the end of your career. When you look at the popularity of women's MMA, do you see yourself possibly doing a few MMA shows as well or will you stick solely to boxing?

CM: I think I will stick to boxing. That's who I am; that's my character. I don't really understand mixed martial arts at all. When they get on the ground, they're just on the ground to me, I can't appreciate that aspect of it because I don't have the knowledge. So I'm just going to stick to boxing because that's where my heart is and that's where my love is, so I'm going to ride it out. I think boxing is making a strong comeback and resurgence and hopefully our Olympians getting a few medals will help that. Hopefully we can get behind some of these young men and women and start to build our promotions with these guys like they did with Sugar Ray Leonard and the Spinks brothers and Evander and Pernell. In the past, we had winners and we were able to build them into solid pros, so I'm hoping that picks back up.

PC: I wish you the best of luck in your promotional company, congratulations again on your induction, and it was an honor to speak to you. Is there anything else you want to add before I let you go?

CM: I really appreciate you taking the time to talk to me. And just for the people to go out there and support your local fights. It's very important to support these guys on their way up because without that solid fan base, they don't get that opportunity to cross over to Showtime, HBO, and grow into pay-per-view fighters.

Christy Salters (Martin)

Pink Promotions - Christy Martin Continues Her March – Fifty the Hard Way

By Thomas Gerbasi

Christy Martin knew that getting to 50 wins wasn’t going to be easy. She didn’t expect it to be this hard though.

Since the 49th victory in her storied 23-year career over Dakota Stone in September of 2009, she’s been shot, stabbed, left for dead, has had broken bones and was shafted by a referee and doctor in California. And when you point out that her quest for number 50 has taken three years, the West Virginia native is quick to correct that math.

“It’s been much more than three,” said Martin. “If we look back through my record, there’s been so many fights that I felt like I won, especially after leaving (former promoter Don) King. The fight with Valerie Mahfood in Houston (in July of 2008) obviously comes to mind. Even Valerie, who is a great person, she’s like ‘you won the fight convincingly,’ and for it to be a draw was very disappointing. Last year, the fight with Dakota, I’m ahead on points on all the cards, there’s less than a minute to go in the fight, and they stop the fight. Angelica Martinez (in October of 2006), that was the worst robbery. It doesn’t compare with (Manny) Pacquiao and (Timothy) Bradley, but I would say it was the worst robbery of my career.”

The loss to Stone may have been the most painful, both literally and figuratively, though her career and her life has shown that she can fight through that literal pain like few can.

Just seven months removed from being shot and stabbed by her husband Jim in November of 2010, Martin courageously stepped into the ring for the rematch with Stone, and despite breaking her right hand in nine places in the fourth round (requiring seven hours of surgery), she went on to drop her opponent later in the same round and build a comfortable lead heading into the final round.

But in the final minute of the fight, after landing a right hand and turning away, referee David Mendoza stepped in, and after consulting with the ringside physician, stopped the fight. Frankly, it was an insult to a fighter who had always shown a seeming disregard for her own safety and who had endured much tougher physical trials outside the ring

“I just couldn’t believe it,” said Martin. “I was definitely insulted. And he (Mendoza) said that I turned my back, and I watched the ending over a few times, and I said this is a move I have done my entire career – I throw the right hand, and I slip out under the hook – and yeah, maybe for that split second my back is kinda turned, but I turn right back around, facing Dakota Stone. I saw him coming and I knew what was gonna happen, so I immediately start begging ‘no, no, no, I’m fine, don’t stop the fight.’ But no one was listening to me.”

“There have been so many opportunities when I should have had this win,” she mused, “but I guess everything happens for a reason.”

Maybe the Boxing Gods just don’t want it to happen.

She laughs, lightening the mood.

“I guess the boxing gods really don’t want me to retire. I thought they wanted me out of the sport, but maybe it’s just the opposite.”

Maybe she’s serious. At 44 years old and with 58 fights under her belt, Christy Martin isn’t retired, and she has at least one more fight to go – an August 14th meeting with old rival Mia St. John at the Table Mountain Casino in Friant, California. She makes no excuses when it comes to her reason for continuing to fight.

“I had said many, many years ago that I want to get to 50 wins, but I never thought it was gonna take this much hard work,” she said. “After the Dakota Stone fight, after everything that happened in 2010 with the attack, I just want to go out on a high note, and I want to go out a winner. I feel that I’ve been able to accomplish a lot of things in my career, and I don’t really feel that I have to have 50 wins, but it’s what I want.”

It’s her second meeting with St. John, a former staple on the undercards of Top Rank’s Oscar De La Hoya bouts the way Martin was featured on Don King’s Mike Tyson cards. Both carried the torch for women’s boxing back when it was on the verge of a mainstream breakthrough. Yet by 2002, cracks were starting to show in the sport’s foundation, and though Laila Ali was making noise and seen as the shining light that could save the sport, things would start to go downhill fast. The first Martin-St. John bout was an example.

Put together at the Pontiac Silverdome by an unknown promoter named Peter Klamka under the Revolution Fighting banner, attendance was horrific for the December 6, 2002 bout, which shouldn’t have been held in a football stadium to begin with, and Martin had an inkling that something was wrong when she was asked to make a promotional appearance the night before the fight – at a strip club no less.

“The first fight was so difficult in the promotion,” recalled Martin. “It was postponed so many times and I had given up hope that it was even gonna happen. The night before the fight, the promoter comes and tells me that he’s not paying me because I wouldn’t go to some strip club and promote the fight. First of all, I’m not going any place the night before the fight, and I’m sure not going to a strip club. So I’m in a catch-22 situation where people are telling me ‘well, if you don’t fight, then the TV’s gonna sue you,’ so finally, I just said ‘what the hell, who cares, I’ll just fight her.’ And between not really training and preparing correctly, and having the weight of not getting paid, I was almost like ‘who cares?’ Then at the same time, I thought, it’s Mia. I’m gonna go out there, hit her once, and she’s gonna go away.”

That was the consensus from many fans and pundits, yet despite the looks that landed her in Playboy magazine, deep down, St. John was a fighter, and while she lost a clear-cut decision on the scorecards, she may have won something more important: respect. Even from Martin.

“I was convinced I was gonna stop her with body shots,” said Martin, who filed a lawsuit against Klamka a week after the fight to recover her purse. “By the third round, I’m saying I hit this woman pretty damn hard and she’s not even moaning or groaning or grunting – nothing’s happening out there. So I definitely gained some respect for her, but the truth is, I always had respect for her as far as how she could promote herself. I think we’ve been pretty good antagonists, we’re good at the back and forth banter, but I really don’t have as much hate and animosity for her as I do most of my opponents. I respect her, but I don’t see her as a great fighter.”

Martin has mellowed a bit from her prime fighting years, when it was on all the time with whoever dared step into the ring with her. But the fighting fire is still there, and if you needed any reminder of that, just note that she’s been training with Miguel Diaz out in the Vegas heat, determined to be in shape, on point, and ready to go next week.

“I think this time it will be much different,” said Martin. “Training with Miguel and not loading up on everything and letting combinations go and my hands go, and being more relaxed, I think it will make the difference in the fight.”

What may make the biggest difference though is that Martin, after two decades of torment outside the ring, may finally be at peace.

“I am at peace,” she said. “Even last year, as I was training with Miguel so hard for Dakota Stone, there were so many things going on. The trial kept getting postponed, I was getting calls from attorneys all the time, and there was always something and it always seemed like it would happen right after I would have my best day in the gym. (Laughs) And before I could get out of the gym I would have a phone call from the prosecutor. So it was always something to shoot down the positive. But now, it’s hard training, but that’s all I have to focus on – just getting ready for the fight. There’s no other fight out there anymore.”

In April of this year, Jim Martin was convicted on three counts, including attempted second-degree murder with a firearm. For years, Martin may not have embraced the role fully, but she was an inspiration to countless women as a fighter. Today and in the future, her duty as a role model will be for something entirely different. And this time, she’s all in.

“I hope in my future I will be able to reach out and touch more people personally by telling my story,” she said. “I think if people can realize the turmoil and pain that I was living in for 20 years, when you can relate to somebody else having to do it, it helps make you stronger so you can leave the situation you’re in. And hopefully after this fight, I’ll be able to start reaching out more and talking to other domestic violence victims and survivors and kind of be a new role model for different reasons.”

So is she ready to hang up the gloves after August 14th?

“I told (promoter) Roy (Englebrecht) that I’m 99.9 percent retired after this fight, but I’m a fighter, so there will always be that little percentage of a percent,” she laughs. “But it would take something that is very interesting to me to get me back to the gym to work as hard as I am now, and it would have to be really significant. And I don’t know who’s out there now to really say ‘wow, that would be a really significant fight, and if they offered it to me I’d have to consider it.’ There’s really no one out there.”

That’s unfortunate, because at one time, female boxers were stealing the show from their male counterparts and there were personalities that captivated fans not only in the states, but around the world. Now, outside of a select few, the sport is devoid of fighters like Martin, St. John, and Ali.

“I don’t want to sound arrogant, but 15 years ago, I told the boxing world that women’s boxing was going to move as I moved, and as Don King moved me and promoted me, because no one was coming behind me to take over,” said Martin. “And then Laila (Ali) came. I fought Laila (in August of 2003) and I thought I would knock her out, but after the fight was over (won by Ali via fourth round knockout), I passed the torch on. Now Laila Ali, who has the great name, and she’s a good fighter, she should be able to carry on for women’s boxing and even make it grow more and be bigger. But she didn’t, because she didn’t have that personality that made her in touch with the real people and the real boxing fans that I felt like I had. I felt like the boxing fans related to me. I was just the person next door. You could knock on your next door neighbor’s door and see me. To me, there has been no personality, no fighter – in or out of the ring – to come along and kinda captivate the public’s attention. And saying that my fight with Mia is gaining so much publicity and no fight has for a long time, that’s sad on the women’s boxing side of the coin. Hopefully we put on a great fight and a good show and try to kickstart women’s boxing over again. And with the Olympics, hopefully somebody will come out of there with a medal and a little bit of charisma that will catch on with the boxing public.”

This year’s London Games has produced plenty of hope on the women’s side as far as Gold medalists Claressa Shields (US), Nicola Adams (Great Britain), and Katie Taylor (Ireland) go, and though US Bronze medalist Marlen Esparza is expected to retire from the sport, Sugar Ray Leonard said the same thing after winning Gold in Montreal in 1976, so there’s still hope.

But that’s the next generation. For now, it may be the last time to enjoy seeing Christy Martin and Mia St. John in the ring, and if “The Coal Miner’s Daughter” does walk away from the sport, she just has one wish when it comes to how she’s remembered by fight fans.

“I just want boxing fans to remember me by knowing that I gave it my all,” she said. “Each and every time out, I would stay in there and battle until that last drop of blood came out. I just wanted to give them action and excitement.”

That mission is already accomplished.

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Vida En el Valley Article (scanned under separate file)

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Part 1
Part 2

KMJ 580 (download pending)
ESPN 1431 06.05.2011 - Jackie Kallen On Boxing: Christy Martin - How Much Can One Woman Endure? 06.04.2011 - Christy Martin, A New Sense of Purpose 06.01.2011 - Christy Martin Makes Comeback In Dakota Stone Rematch
Fox Sports West 05.31.2011 - The Fight Of Her Life
8 Count News 05.31.2011 - Christy Martin Is Back
Orlando Sentinel 05.30.2011 - Boxer Christy Martin says Laila Ali used boxing for personal gain
ESPN News 05.29.2011 - Christy Martin vs Dakota Stone on June 4th Staples Center
Las Vegas Review Journal 05.27.2011 - Boxer tells of her attack to draw attention to domestic violence 05.27.2011 - Interview with Christy Martin, Fights June 4th – Chavez Jr Undercard
USA Today 05.26.2011 - Christy Martin claws back after being stabbed, shot, left to die
WESH Orlando 02.22.2011 - Bullets, Knives Can't Stop Boxer Christy Martin
New York Times 01.21.2011 - Christy Martin, Boxer, Takes Another Shot
ESPN News 01.18.2011 - The lessons in Christy Martin's return
Fox Sports News 11.24.2010 - Female Boxer: Husband Attacked Me
TMZ Sports News 11.24.2010 - Female Boxing Legend -- Shot, Stabbed, Hospitalized

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