Ricardo Martinez (リカルド・マルチネス, Rikarudo Maruchinesu) is a semi-recurring character in Hajime no Ippo. He is the main antagonist of the series.
He is the WBA featherweight Super Champion, undefeated in 68 matches with 21 title defences, as well as the No.1 in "POUND for POUND". His main matches in the series are against Date Eiji, twice for the WBA championship, and Makunouchi Ippo in a spar. He has defeated Alfredo Gonzales twice.
According to Takamura Mamoru, the natural boxing talent that Ricardo possesses is immeasurable and otherworldly. Kamogawa Genji says that most take the route for the WBC championship to avoid facing Ricardo. Mexicans who don't recognise their political leaders know Ricardo's name. WBC champions aren't even considered the strongest in the world due to Ricardo's presence in the WBA. He is the man who gave Date his iconic scar.
He became a world champion at the early age of 21, and as time passed he started to be known as the one who takes everything from those who challenge him, he made most who fought him retire, in another way he's the devil, "El Diablo". During one of his first defences as a champion, he brutally defeated the strong challenger at the time Date by the second round, which lead him to retire and sought for revenge ever since.
In his homeland of Mexico, he got to be known as a "National Hero" over time. During and after the match against Date amongst the crowd of young children outside watching, one of them who has been living in the slums of that town really hated him but after a while, he started having him as his goal, as he truly understood the champion's reasons better. Following up a few years later after defeating Date, he faced Alfredo Gonzales as he rose in the rankings, twice in his later defences In both of those times, he defeated Alfredo who was otherwise undefeated. Marking Alfredo's goal as one only, to go against Ricardo once again in the future, for the third time.
He started to be known as an undefeated "Super Champion" and "Living Legend" around the world, remaining in the featherweights and the WBA position for more than a decade.
After defending his WBA featherweight title 17 times, his 18th title defence was to be against Date Eiji, who he fought before. With the match approaching, Ricardo and his trainer and manager, Bill Stewart arrived to Tokyo. Ricardo requested to spar against the JBC featherweight champion Makunouchi Ippo at the Otowa gym. When the spar began, Ricardo outclassed him completely using only his left jab. Ippo failed to hit him even once or to change his calm expression. After Ricardo noticed Ippo was unconscious after easily defeating the Dempsey Roll with just his left, Ricardo cancelled the session so as not to hurt the pride of the Japanese champion.
At the press conference between Ricardo and Date, the latter thanked the super champion for bringing the belt from Mexico to Japan for him, while Ricardo told the reporters to not expect much from the challenger. The two then shook hands after a tense face off. When it was time for his title defence match, Ricardo arrived to the Ryōgoku Kokugikan. Upon arrival to the ring, Bill did not give Ricardo any strategies, simply asking him to show Japan the true magnificence of boxing. When the match began, Ricardo was immediately hit by a left from Date and sent to the ropes by a barrage of punches on his guard before Ricardo could get into his rhythm. Ricardo escaped and attempted to hit Date with a left, however, Date rolled the punch by turning his neck. Ricardo then had an exchange of lefts with Date, with both unable to hit each other until they land a hit at the same time just as the first round ended. In the corner, Ricardo intended to end the match in the second round just as he did seven years ago to show the power difference is still the same.
Ricardo went with his plan by throwing his first right in the match that missed, but left a big impression on Date and the audience. Ricardo's pressure and feints made Date step back into the ropes. When Date escaped the ropes, Ricardo led Date into a corner and unleashed left body blows. When Date attempted to attack Ricardo back, Ricardo countered with a body blow. To Ricardo's surprise, Date remained standing and fought back with a one-two. After repeatedly getting hit by Ricardo's strong combinations, Date still fought back, making Ricardo assume that Date has fought someone with punches equal to his own. The second round ended, and Ricardo then told Bill that he underestimated Date, and that he was bored of the same task, living only to defend the belt, wanting to turn back to how he once was.
In the third round, Ricardo switched to his old style, which caused him to act more aggressively, throwing off his challenger with unpredictable timings and brutally beating him. Ricardo continued beating him up to the end of the eighth round, breaking three ribs and his jaw. In the ninth round, Ricardo saw a Corkscrew Blow coming for his head, making Ricardo guard high. The angle then changed for the Heart Break Shot, however, Ricardo saw it coming and used an Elbow Block, breaking Date's right fist. Ricardo continued beating Date until the ninth round was over. In the corner, Ricardo acknowledged his duty is to remove the chance of a miracle happening for Date to zero, even if it meant that Date becomes an unfortunate accident.
In the tenth round, knowing that Date's could not use his right anymore, attempted to counter an incoming left. The left was then pulled back and Ricardo was hit with a right. Date then lured Ricardo into a perfectly timed Heart Break Shot. However, the damage to his hand prevented him from using enough power to stun Ricardo. Ricardo dodged the followup punch and then hit Date with a Corkscrew Blow, knocking him down as Ricardo vowed to never forget Date's name and acknowledged him as the opponent he respects most. The referee quickly ended the match and Ricardo successfully defended his title for the 18th time.
Ricardo fought an American in his 21st WBA featherweight title defence, winning and defending his title in the first round by knockout.
Ricardo received a call from Alfredo Gonzales before Alfredo's match against Ippo, requesting for Ricardo reconsider a second rematch between them if he defeats Ippo. Ricardo, however, did not remember who Ippo was, as he does not remember every name of fighters he has sparred with. After the call, Bill reminded Ricardo that Ippo used the Peek-a-Boo Style, causing Ricardo to finally remember who Ippo was, wishing he knew so he could have warned Alfredo to be careful.
Later, during Alfredo's match with Ippo, Ricardo ran into Lisa while he was doing his morning roadwork. He asked her if she was worried about Alfredo, noting Ippo's powerful technique and how Alfredo may have trouble. Although Ricardo knows how strong Alfredo is, when Lisa asked if he knew Alfredo would win or not, Ricardo suggested that she would be better asking god.
After Alfredo won against Ippo, Ricardo's side refused to accept Alfredo's rematch request, as they had nothing to gain accepting a request from someone that Ricardo had defeated twice. Later, Ricardo went to the Lucha Lucha Gym to host a public sparring session, requesting sparring partners. After defeating three sparring partners, Sendō Takeshi entered the gym, with Ricardo asking Bill who he was. After learning that Sendō was ranked third in the WBA, Ricardo qualified him to be his sparring partner and requested him to step into the ring. Ricardo ordered Bill to stop the match if there was trouble for him, as he saw a certain something that swallows everyone around him, wishing to see that "something". The three round spar then began. Ricardo dominated in the spar for two rounds. In the middle of the third round however, Ricardo went down for the first time in his boxing career, with his knee touching the canvas by Sendō. Alfredo then entered the room shocked by the scene with Ricardo telling him to remember the sight well, as he deemed Sendō to be the first man to score a down on him. Ricardo then got up, not wanting to stay down for ten seconds. When Bill tried to tell Alfredo and the reporters that Sendō merely pushed Ricardo making him fall, Ricardo noted that the reporters don't even need pictures for proof as they know what happened with their own eyes: a tiger piercing his flesh.
When Ricardo noticed Alfredo was about to get into the ring the fight Sendō, Ricardo stopped them, suggesting to take the fight to a bigger stage. Ricardo told them to settle it in Mexico City in three months as a semifinal for his own title defence. In return, Ricardo offered to give the winner the right to challenge him in his next title defence. Sendō pointed out how pretentious Ricardo is for thinking that he is invincible that he would not lose in his upcoming title defence, claiming that Ricardo was undefeated because he had not fought him yet. This statement caused Ricardo to laugh, while thinking how amusing Sendō was for thinking "undefeated" does not equal "invincible" as he drove away from the gym. Ricardo did not answer Bill's question as whether Sendō hit him or not, concluding that he had not had this much fun in a while. Ricardo received information that Bill got from a reporter that both Sendō and Alfredo both fought Ippo in a brutal match, with Date also being pushed by him as well. Ricardo noted how he had heard Ippo's name from time to time despite his world ranking disappearing, as if the world revolves around the young Dempsey Roll wielder.
When the weigh-in for Ricardo's WBA title defence match arrived, Ricardo went to the Arena México, where he met with Alfredo and Ippo. The next day, Ricardo went to the Arena México and watched Sendō and Alfredo's match in his dressing room. Before the match began, Ricardo heard Jose Nargo claim that Sendō's destructive power is the best in the world, something Ricardo admitted to be jealous at. As Nargo was sure that Ricardo did not use his full strength against him, Ricardo summarised that on a scale of 1-10 that a five is enough to knockout someone, while a ten is overkill, and that one get build up one's or just throw out a five. Watching the second round, Ricardo saw that Alfredo has been attacking with a punching scale of one's, believing it to not be a prudent choice against Sendō, as he should have sent out everything. Watching the third round, Bill mentioned how Sendō is a shining example of Machismo, which Ricardo holds appreciation to the word, and wished to do mitt practise with Bill.
After watching Sendō defeat Alfredo in the fourth round by knockout, Ricardo arrived to the ring for his WBA title defence match against the former WBC featherweight champion, Billy McCallum. At the ring before the match began, Ricardo felt the heat that Sendō and Alfredo left, feeling apologetic that he isn't able to reach such heat, he hopes that McCallum will answer the high expectations that he has for him.
As the gong sounded, Ricardo went to the centre of the ring with McCallum, who charged to him and stopped in his tracks to begin his rhythm. Ricardo threw the first punch with a left jab, which hits McCallum's Philly Shell block. Ricardo sent out multiple left jabs, as McCallum continued to block every attack until Ricardo threw his right. which missed McCallum as McCallum threw a counter, which Ricardo also dodged. Ricardo was amazed by McCallum's counter, but wondered if his matches are boring since he can predict every punch, making him never take a hit, feeling that he can't resonate with the audience. Ricardo reflected on how he is a man like anyone else, and pondered why can't anyone see his machismo. Ricardo requested for McCallum to come to him and fight, wanting him to bring out his inner strength. After Ricardo attacked McCallum with more left jabs that get blocked, Ricardo threw out a one-two. As McCallum saw the one-two coming, he threw out a left counter, which Ricardo blocked while urging McCallum to answer his expectations. Ricardo proceeded to block McCallum's Flicker Jabs and prepared to counter McCallum's right before McCallum stopped himself. Ricardo began hitting McCallum's Philly Shell block with rapid lefts, following him with more lefts as McCallum puts his back to the ropes.
|69||N/A||?-?-?||2000-01||Billy McCallum||Mexico City, Mexico||-(12)||N/A||22nd WBA Featherweight Title Defence|
|68||WIN||68-0-0||1995-07||Unknown||America||1(12)||TKO||21st WBA Featherweight Title Defence|
|65||WIN||65-0-0||199X||Unknown||Mexico||?(12)||TKO||WBA Featherweight Title Defence|
|64||WIN||64-0-0||199X||Alfredo Gonzales||Mexico||?(12)||TKO||WBA Featherweight Title Defence|
|63||WIN||63-0-0||1994-06-27||Date Eiji||Ryogoku Kokugikan, Tokyo, Japan||10(12), 2:14||TKO||"Revenge!"|
18th WBA Featherweight Title Defence
|?||WIN||?-0-0||199X||Alfredo Gonzales||Mexico||?(12)||TKO||"WBA Featherweight Title Defence|
|?||WIN||?-0-0||199X||Unknown||Arena México, Colonia Doctores, Mexico City, Mexico||?(12)||TKO|| WBA Featherweight Title Defence|
Alfredo watched the match at a young age.
|7 Years of Unknown Opponents|
|47||WIN||47-0-0||1988-02-20||Date Eiji||Estadio Azteca, Tlalpan, Mexico City, Mexico||2(12), 1:12||TKO||2nd WBA Featherweight Title Defence|
|?||WIN||46-0-0||198X||Unknown||Unknown||?(12)||TKO||1st WBA Featherweight Title Defence|
|?||WIN||45-0-0||1987||Unknown||Unknown||?(12)||TKO||WBA Featherweight Title Match|
- VS Jose Nargo (many times)
- VS Makunouchi Ippo 1R WIN
- VS Unknown Mexican boxer WIN
- VS Unknown Mexican boxer WIN
- VS Unknown Mexican boxer WIN by TKO
- VS Sendō Takeshi 3R
|Preceded by||Title||Succeeded by|
|Unknown||WBA Featherweight Champion||Incumbent|
Ricardo has a dark skin tone, short black hair, and a neatly trimmed moustache, which he grew late in his life as he did not have one when he fought Date for the first time. He has a very toned build, and muscular. Ricardo's eyebrows are of moderate thickness and has a dark grey eye colour. In the ring, he wears black boxing trunks with a white and gold vertical stripe on the side. He has the name "Ricardo" on his gold coloured name plate on his trunks.
Ricardo is a calm and taciturn individual, choosing not to speak unless directly spoken to. When the media wants to speak with him, Ricardo speaks with his trainer (Bill Stewart) before speaking to the press and is shown to be a confident, but at the same time analytical man. Despite the assumption that a champion looks down on those with a lower ranking compared to him, Ricardo has ultimately shown respect to those who have earned it by pushing him to his limits (the only known person to achieve this is Date). Because of this, Ricardo won't even look at any challenge unless said challenger is either the highest ranked contender, or their skills would impress him enough to pique his interest.
Ricardo also has an easygoing personality that he occasionally shows. When Ricardo went down for the first time in his long career by Sendō, Ricardo did not seem to care despite many others making a big deal about the event, even claiming that he hasn't had that much fun in a long time. Ricardo laughed at the thought that "undefeated" does not equal "invincible", finding Sendō amusing for his beliefs.
Ricardo is the most powerful featherweight in the world. His speed, power, stamina, and reflexes are described to be otherworldly. His jab is notable for having no shoulder movement, making it impossible to predict. It is implied during his world title match with Date that his punching power is on par with Ippo's. In his spar against Ippo, he proved capable of knocking Ippo unconscious in less than one round when he was the JBC Champion with only one title defence, using only his left jab. He is even described by Takamura being "out-of-this-world" and on a totally different level, insinuating that his strength can't be measured because other boxers who challenged him have no idea of how strong he really is.
Ricardo's usual fighting style is stick with tight, efficient strikes that quickly wear opponents down then hit a major left or right ending the match. If pushed, Ricardo will launch into his older tactics of launching wild, uncontrolled but devastating precise swings that will destroy the opponent's guard. Date learned this the hard way when Ricardo broke two ribs, shattered his jaw, and destroyed his right hand.
Before his fight with Date Eiji, Ricardo mentions that he "was fighting for his duty of defending the belt" and that his style was not a natural one. However, in round 4 of his fight against Date, Ricardo stated that he would fight in his natural style, a style possessing faster pace and rhythm that led to Date Eiji's downfall and complete retirement from boxing. Ricardo has no Sunday punch.
- Motionless Jab
- Elbow Block
- Liver blow
- Body blow
- One-Step Straight Punch
- Corkscrew Blow
As of yet, no boxer has been able to exploit or reveal any weakness in Ricardo. When using a style that is not natural to him, he is on a level higher than any other boxer in the featherweight division, and in his natural style, he is capable of easily overwhelming the most skilled boxers. Despite many of his fights being short, he does not appear at all fatigued, even in the 10th round of his fight against Date.
It should be noted that because he didn't start off his second bout with Date in his natural style, Date was able to briefly overwhelm him.
Main Article: Ricardo Martinez/Gallery
- Ricardo's style, demeanour, career and fighting ability is based on retired former world champion Ricardo Lopez.
- Ricardo's "Quetzalcóatl" and "Huītzilōpōchtli" nicknames are Aztec Gods, which are both sun Gods in the Five Suns Aztec mythology.
- Alfredo Gonzales views Ricardo as the Quetzalcóatl, the Sun God, and his God of Death when referencing the Quetzalcóatl.
- When others reference him as the Huītzilōpōchtli, they mention how he is the God of Sun and war.
- The first time the term "Super Champion" was used in the anime in episode two, when Kamogawa states that he is watching a "dream match of super champs," in reference to a recent world title match he was watching.
- Although in the anime it seems like he may have been referring to Ricardo, in the manga, Yagi pointed out that Kamogawa was watching the Leonard vs. Hearns title match.
- According to the author, Ricardo is the second-strongest boxer, behind Takamura Mamoru and ahead of Miyata Ichirō. On a poster in chapter 1269, Ricardo is the NO.1 Pound-for-Pound boxer.
- Featherweights Sendō Takeshi, Randy Boy Junior, and Alfredo are the only known individuals shown to set Ricardo as a specific goal in their boxing career.
- In chapter 175, Nakadai mentioned Date's match was Ricardo's first title defence at home. But in chapter 332 (page 9), the announcer mentioned that Ricardo fought Date as his 2nd title defence.
- Although not officially stated by the author, Ricardo probably fought Alfredo before and after Date Eiji's rematch.