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Actor Eric Martinez Ready to Square Off Against Rapper DMX

Eric Martinez is an actor and entrepreneur who will throw his hat in the boxing ring Nov. 21 when he fights controversial rapper DMX on the Thunder Promotions "Alabama Pride" MMA card headlined by Butterbean vs. Tank Abbott.

The involvement of DMX, one of the all-time top-selling rappers and one of music's larger-than-life personalities, has become a hot topic in the MMA and hip hop circles and FanHouse caught up with Martinez to discuss the celebrity boxing fight. The interview is below.

Ray Hui: First of all, how did this all come about?

Eric Martinez: (Laughs.) Well, the promoters reached out and wanted to see if they can set up a celebrity fight between myself and DMX. It was just real simple. I heard that Busta Rhymes was actually the original opponent they were trying to get for DMX but I guess because of scheduling conflicts he couldn't make it. My manager talked to them and told them a little about what I did and they thought it would be a great fit basically they asked X and he agreed, I agreed, and there you have it.

I understand you are or in the past have done business with him. What's your relationship with DMX?

My company has actually done some work with him in the past as far as branding and promoting. Outside of acting, I run a company called Powermoves Entertainment. We do promotion, marketing, branding, consulting and we've done some stuff in the past [with DMX]. But that has nothing to do with this. I'm not his manager. Awhile back there was a press release that said I was part of the management team – which I was for a very, very short time, but my VP runs my company, and I guess you can say my company was working with him more than I was.

Your connection with him was one of the added question marks to the matchup. So they'll be no holding back between you two?

We're not going in there to lose and I'm not going in there to get beat up. We're going to get it on.

This is not going to be a glorified sparring match. You guys are going to look to knock each other out.

Right, it's for real. This is one thing I want people to understand, I'm a huge fan of the MMA world, I'm a huge fan of the sport, I'm a huge fan of the fighters. I have nothing but respect for the MMA world – actually all fighters: boxers, MMA fighters. And we're not trying to make a mockery of the sport. We're not trying to be the second coming of Floyd Mayweather and Oscar De La Hoya. We're just two guys who were offered the chance to fight and we're going to get it on and may the best man win. But at the end of the day we're not going to be doing MMA, we're going to be boxing. That's been the biggest thing a lot of people think we're going to be fighting MMA style. This isn't going to be a career for me. (Laughs.) There's real warriors out there that train and fight and I want people to know more than anything that I have nothing but the greatest respect for the sport and the fighters.

What is your boxing experience? And do you know if DMX has trained boxing before?

To be honest with you, there's not much experience behind either one of us. Neither one of us have ever fought professionally or otherwise. I can tell you I'm going to be doing everything I can to prepare myself for anything. I've been around the sport my whole life being from Albuquerque, NM, where there's nothing but fighters out here. I knew a lot of fighters. I've trained at some gyms. It is what it is. We're going to go out there and do the best that we can.

I actually heard about this fight a couple weeks ago and I didn't believe it at first. I was going: What the heck is DMX doing in a boxing ring or cage? (Both laugh.) I heard it was under MMA rules at first, too.

Here's the thing, Ray. There's going to be so many people out there. Unfortunately there's no way around it. You're going to have your haters and the people who feel they can take jabs at us. I've read some of the stuff they've said about Tank and Butterbean. But make no mistake about it, there's nothing wrong with being a competitor, trying something new, doing something you love. Like I said, this isn't a career for me and I know it's not a career for DMX. We got invited to do this, we're going to get it on, it's real, it's not a hoax, it's not a publicity stunt. We're going to fight.

With all the troubles that has gone on in DMX's life in recent years, is he hurting for money? (One of his numerous arrests the past few years was providing fake identification to avoid a hospital bill.)

No, no. DMX is doing really well. From what I understand he's doing great. He's got a new album coming out. He's got a lot of things on the table. I can guarantee you we're not doing this just for the money. We both agreed to do it because we both thought it would be fun.

It's shocking at least to me because DMX has a lot to lose in this fight. He has this aggressive image -- and I know there's a gentler yet intensely religious side to him -- but with the importance of bravado in the rap game, a loss in a real fight can hurt his reputation big time.

I can't speak for him directly. All I can say is that I'm preparing myself, I'm sure X is preparing himself and I'm sure he feels the same way. He's not going in there to get beat up. He's not going in there to lose and be made fun of. Obviously if either of us felt this was a bad career move, neither one of us would have done it. How many times you get a chance to do something like this? They are expecting a sellout.

Listen, I'm certainly not going out there to end his career and to be honest with you, X is such a great rapper. If the stuff that he's gotten in trouble for over the past five years haven't ended his career, I don't think anything like this could. I don't think people realize is that he really is a good dude. The few times I've been around him and the way I've seen him treat even his entourage and his people, that dude would give you the shirt off his back.

How many rounds is the fight and how long?

I think it's going to be three, two-minute rounds, but it could change to three, three-minute rounds.

How do you two matchup in size and weight?

(Chuckles.) Oh wow. I think he's like 5'10, 11, cause I'm 5'5. He's definitely taller than me.

That's a huge reach advantage.

Yeah, he's got a big reach advantage. It was funny cause at the photo shoot his people were like, "Wow, you're a stocky little dude." (Laughs.) And X is kinda lanky and I think X outweighs me probably by 15 pounds. But again, I'm not worried. I've always kept myself in pretty decent shape and come fight night, I'll be ready for whatever.

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