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 current 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 (which is the highest praise Takamura has given any character in the series). Coach Kamogawa 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. He is the man who gave Date Eiji 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 second round, which lead him to retire for a short period of time without comeback intentions, to look after his family better. Date was broken, scarred mentally, felt like Ricardo took everything from him, he sought 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 Date's nightmare, he faced Alfredo Gonzales as he rose in the rankings, twice in his later defences, he waited to reach his heights since he was a young kid, watching him fight in the ring. In both of those times, he defeated Gonzales 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.
Alfredo before the match against Ippo, called Ricardo to get him to reconsidered a 2nd Rematch between them. He mentioned if he beats Ippo, he wanted Ricardo to accept his challenge. Except, Ricardo doesn't remember who Ippo was.
Alfredo added that he heard that Ricardo sparred with him when he fought Date. However, Ricardo replied that he has sparred with countless men, where his opponents maybe one thing, but he can't remember every single person he had sparred with, where he doesn't remember Ippo's name.
After the call, Bill mentioned to Ricardo that Ippo used the Dempsey Roll, where Ricardo finally remembers who Ippo was, with the words shame he didn't remember, so he can tell Alfredo to be careful. Later, during Ippo vs Alfredo's match, Ricardo ran into Alfredo's girlfriend while he was doing roadwork.
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.
|?||N/A||?-0-0||N/A||Unknown||Mexico City, Mexico||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|68||WIN||68-0-0||1995-07||Unknown||America||1(12)||TKO||"21st WBA Title Defence"|
|65||WIN||65-0-0||199X||Unknown||Mexico||?(12)||TKO||"WBA Title Defence"|
|64||WIN||64-0-0||199X||Alfredo Gonzales||Mexico||?(12)||TKO||"WBA Title Defence"|
|63||WIN||63-0-0||1994-06-27||Date Eiji||Ryogoku Kokugikan, Tokyo, Japan||10(12), 2:14||TKO|| "Revenge!"|
18th WBA Title Defence
|?||WIN||?-0-0||199X||Alfredo Gonzales||Mexico||?(12)||TKO||"WBA Title Defence"|
|?||WIN||?-0-0||199X||Unknown||Arena México, Colonia Doctores, Mexico City, Mexico||?(12)||TKO|| Title Defence against a strong opponent.|
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 Title Defence"|
|46||WIN||46-0-0||198X||Unknown||Unknown||?(12)||TKO||1st WBA Title Match|
|45||WIN||45-0-0||1987||Unknown||Unknown||?(12)||TKO||"WBA 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 Martinez 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 Martinez. 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.
- The first time the term "Super Champion" was used in the anime is episode two, when coach 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 version, Yagi pointed out that Kamogawa was watching the Leonard vs Hearns title match.
- According to the author, Martinez is the second-strongest boxer in the series, behind Takamura Mamoru and ahead of Miyata Ichirō. This has caused much controversy among fans because it has not been clarified whether the rankings are for strongest "potential" in the series or strongest Pound-for-Pound boxer, and the rankings. As of Round 1269, we got to know that Ricardo Martinez is the NO.1 Pound-for-Pound boxer in the series, so it is safe to assume the author stated this at the time in terms of potential and weight class.
- Ricardo's style, demeanor, career and fighting ability is based on retired former world champion Ricardo Lopez according to the author of the series, who defended his WBC Minimumweight Champion Title a record of 22 times. He is one of three boxers in history to claim the world title, defend the title for years to come and retire completely undefeated.
- Another Mexican boxing legend and most known is Julio César Chávez, who is considered by many the best fighter to come out of that country and as well a hero. He's known for being undefeated in his first 89 bouts, having an incredible record of 89-0-1 before his first loss. He was also known for his great punching power and strong chin. He retired with a record of 107-6-2, with 86 KOs. Although not yet said anything officially from the author if he's also another inspiration, it is clear he is aware, and as well might be but not yet said.
- Just like Wally, it seems that Ricardo was also an obvious inspiration of the boxer José Mendoza in which he was also the perfect champion who had never lost, fought beautifully and was admired by all in the manga series Ashita no Joe. The author has stated he is a very big fan of it and one of the inspirations, if not the biggest for the entirety of Hajime no Ippo.
- As of now, featherweights Sendō Takeshi, Randy Boy Jr., and Alfredo Gonzales are the only known individuals shown to set Ricardo as a specific goal in their boxing career.
- In Round 175, Date's coach mentioned Date's match was Martinez's first title defence at home. But in Round 332 (page 9), the announcer mentioned that Martinez fought Date as his 2nd title defence.