Ricardo Martinez (リカルド・マルチネス lit. rikarudo maruchinesu) is a semi-recurring character in Hajime no Ippo and the current WBA Featherweight Champion in the series. He is the main antagonist of the series.
Famous for being a super champion (undefeated with many title defenses), it is said that even Mexicans who don't recognize their political leaders know Ricardo's name. He is also the boxer 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 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 but the fact that he and Eiji competed once before for the WBA Featherweight title. According to Takamura Mamoru, the boxing talent that Ricardo possesses is immeasurable and otherworldly (which is the highest praise Takamura has given any character in the series). As the only active super champion in the series, Ricardo has defended his title a total of 21 times in his boxing career and remains undefeated in well over 60 matches.
As a semi-recurring character, Ricardo's screen time is minimal, but strong. He is seen in the first season of New Challenger as a sparring partner for Japanese featherweight Makunouchi Ippo, an opponent he beat using only his left hand. He is again seen in New Challenger, fighting a rematch against Date Eiji once again for the WBA Featherweight title. It is during this match that Ricardo breaks Date's jaw, ribs, and subsequently his fist by performing an elbow block on Date's Heart Break Shot. Winning without a single prominent injury on his body, Ricardo once again defends his title. As of current events, Martinez holds a record of 68-0-0 (64 KO).
|N/A||N/A||Alfredo Gonzales||N/A||- (12)||1998 (?)||Mexico||WBA Featherweight Title Match|
|1994-07-06||Ryogoku Kokugikan, Tokyo, Japan||"REVENGE" Retained WBA Featherweight Champion Title|
|WIN||N/A||Alfredo Gonzales||KO||6(12)||N/A||Arena Coliseo, Mexico||Retained WBA Featherweight Champion Title|
|WIN||N/A||Alfredo Gonzales||KO||1(12)||N/A||Arena Coliseo, Mexico||Retained WBA Featherweight Champion Title|
|WIN||N/A||Date Eiji||TKO||2(12), 1:12||ca. 1988||Azteca Stadium, Mexico||Retained WBA Featherweight Champion Title|
|WIN||N/A||Unknown||TKO||?(12)||N/A||Mexico||Won WBA Featherweight Champion 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 purple 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, for the time being.
- His 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.