Ricardo Martinez (リカルド・マルチネス lit. 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 Champion in the series, undefeated in 68 matches with 21 title defenses. 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. Even Mexicans who don't recognize their political leaders know Ricardo's name. He is the man who gave Date Eiji his iconic scar.
|Nickname(s)|| "El Diablo"|
|Height||168.3 cm (5'6")|
|Reach||171.1 cm (67.4")|
|Current Affiliation||De La Revilla Gym|
|Wins by KO||64|
|Championships||WBA Featherweight (Super) Champion|
|Manga Debut||Round 174|
|Manga Final|| Round 1055 (physically)|
Round 1067 (flashback)
|Anime Debut||Round 53 (The Fighting)|
|Anime Final||Round 8 (New Challenger)|
|Voice Actor||Sugawara Masashi|
Not much insight is given to the audience on Ricardo's past. He became a world champion at an early age of 21, and during one of his first defenses he took on Date Eiji and beat him brutally by the 2nd round, leading Eiji to retire for a short time. Following this he faced Alfredo Gonzales twice, both times defeating Gonzales who was otherwise undefeated. It is unknown whether or not his current trainer Bill Stewart has been with him since the beginning.
As a semi-recurring character, Ricardo's screen time is minimal, but strong. He first appears during a flashback before Ippo's match against Eiji as the only man to defeat Eiji. Ricardo then makes his first physical appearance in his rematch against Date Eiji. When he arrives in Japan he chooses for a sparring partner the Japanese Featherweight Champion, who happens to be Makunouchi Ippo, which he outclasses completely using only his left jab. Ippo fails to hit him even once or to change his calm expression. Ricardo cancels the session so as not to hurt the pride of the Japanese audience.
It is during the rematch with Eiji that Ricardo shows his true self. In the first rounds he trades clean shots with Eiji, lefts and then rights, with Eiji hitting clean with his left first in the opening exchange. Eiji manages to stay on his feet in the second round (which was the one he lost in their first match.) In support of Eiji the arena starts cheering him on. As the boxers trade high level shots, Ricardo starts hitting more accurately, then he throws his right and, though it misses, it sends a chill through the entire arena.
Ricardo lands lots of clean shots but Eiji still manages to keep standing, and by the end of the round they start trading shots again and Eiji manages to hit Ricardo more. Ricardo is surprised to see that Eiji's durability has increased, as if he had fought someone in the past 7 years who had equal punching power as Ricardo. Ricardo goes back to his corner and says to his trainer Bill that he underestimated Eiji, and that he is bored of the same task, defending the belt.
It is in the next round that Ricardo shows his natural style, the one that took him this high up in boxing, landing punches so violent that Eiji remarks that it feels like he is fighting a complete different person. Date's jaw, ribs, and fist get broken throughout the next few rounds; his fist in particular is broken by Ricardo performing an Elbow Block on Date's first try of the Heart Break Shot. Winning without a single prominent injury on his body by the 10th round, Ricardo once again defends his title, and sends Date Eiji away on a stretcher, never again to return to the pro ring. Ricardo currently holds a record of 68-0-0 (64 KO), with 21 of them being title defenses.
|64||WIN||64-0-0||Unknown||KO||?(12)||1997||America||KO using only his left, Ippo and Itagaki watched|
|63||WIN||63-0-0||Date Eiji||TKO||10(12), 2:14||1994-06-27||Ryogoku Kokugikan, Tokyo, Japan||"REVENGE" Retained WBA Featherweight Title, Defense #18|
|N/A||WIN||N/A||Alfredo Gonzales||KO||6(12)||ca. 1990||Arena Coliseo, Mexico City, Mexico||Retained WBA Featherweight Title|
|N/A||WIN||N/A||Alfredo Gonzales||KO||1(12)||ca. 1990||Arena Coliseo, Mexico City, Mexico||Retained WBA Featherweight Title|
|N/A||WIN||N/A||Date Eiji||TKO||2(12), 1:12||1988-05-??||Azteca Stadium, Mexico City, Mexico||Retained WBA Featherweight Title, Defense #4|
|45||WIN||45-0-0||Unknown||TKO||?(12)||ca. 1980||Mexico||Won WBA Featherweight Title|
|Preceded by||Title||Succeeded by|
|Unknown||WBA Featherweight Champion||Incumbent|
As a character from Mexico, Ricardo's skin tone is noticeably darker than the recurring Japanese characters in the series. He has a very toned build, muscular, but not large enough to exceed the featherweight division. Ricardo has a rather simple character design, with short black hair and a neatly trimmed mustache on his upper lip. Ricardo's eyebrows are of moderate thickness and his pupils are (shown in a close-up) colored a dark grey throughout the series.
In a flashback of Ricardo's first match with Date Eiji, it is shown that Ricardo has yet to grow a mustache.
Ricardo seems to be quiet and taciturn, choosing not to speak unless directly spoken to. In media, he 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. Being the champion, it is easy to assume that Ricardo looks down on those with a lower ranking compared to him, but he 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 Eiji). Because of this, it is said that 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 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 Eiji 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 defense, 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.
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.
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 Eiji 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.
- "From now on, when I'm asked which boxer I respect the most I'll answer... 'He lives on an island nation in the pacific... A samurai that I met in Japan'" - Episode 8 (NC)
- 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 George Morikawa, Martinez is the second-strongest boxer in the series, behind Takamura Mamoru and ahead of Miyata Ichirou. 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 have never been updated since they were announced.
- Ricardo's style, demeanor, career and fighting ability is based on retired former world champion Ricardo Lopez who defended his WBA 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. His coach, also looks almost the same as Bill Stewart, the coach/trainer of Ricardo Martinez.
- Another Mexican boxing legend is Julio César Chávez, who is considered by many the best fighter to come out of that country. He's known for being undefeated in his first 89 bouts, having a 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.