Using a combination of speed and movement with both his hands and feet, Sergio Martinez became the new Middleweight Champion of the World scoring a unanimous decision over Kelly Pavlik, Saturday night in Atlantic City.
Martinez took over the fight in the final rounds using his superior hand speed to bloody the face of the slower Pavlik. Where in earlier rounds, Martinez used movement to land quick combinations, the new champion used hand speed to sustain combinations to the bloodied face of Pavlik as the fight stretched into the championship rounds.
Early in the contest, it appeared that Martinez’ strategy would be to earn a decision with a lot of movement and quick combinations, however as the fight wore on, it was the Argentinean’s hand speed that proved to be the difference, as Pavlik was unable to counter the faster punches.
The fight was extremely close throughout the first eight rounds, with Pavlik taking the edge in the seventh round when an apparent slip was ruled a knockdown by referee David Fields. As the fight entered the eighth round, it looked to be turning into the type of fight that favored Pavlik, as Martinez seemed to be slowing and more willing to engage his taller opponent.
But Martinez, now 45-2-2 (24), proved to be the quicker fighter inside and, in the ninth round, began to take over as multiple left hands bloodied the right side of Pavlik’s face. “He touched me a lot; I tried, but it was very hard, in the eighth or ninth round he cut me, and he just got me. I couldn’t see from outside the right eye; I couldn’t see his left. I wasn’t hurting; he just had a huge volume of punches he threw at me,” said Pavlik, 36-2 (32), post-fight.
Following the fight, Pavlik needed at least a dozen stitches to close to multiple cuts caused by the faster Martinez.
As the final rounds progressed, Martinez landed combinations almost at will, as a frustrated Pavlik was unable to mount any offensive output as blood hampered his vision and Martinez’ left hand landed with more and more frequency.
To say that Martinez fought a good fight is understatement; he fought a near masterpiece tonight. His performance will almost surely create talk of a desired rematch of the 2009 “Fight of the Year” candidate with Paul Williams.
In the post-fight press conference, Pavlik’s promoter stated they did have a rematch clause and planned to present it to Lou DiBella whom promotes Martinez. DiBella said they would honor the clause, saying, “If they want it, they got it.” There was also talk of a fight at 154 with currently-suspended Antonio Margarito.
Of a rematch Pavlik said, “It was hard to make 160, but I hate losing, and I want to get the belts back.”
After the loss, Pavlik’s trainer Jack Loew knew the last rounds decided the fight, declaring, “If we don’t give away the last four rounds, we win the fight.” It was as much Martinez winning the rounds as it was Pavlik giving them away.
The judges’ scorecards were as follows: Barbara Perez 115-111, Roberto Ramirez 116-111, and Craig Metcalf 115-112.
Philadelphia welterweight contender Mike Jones completely outclassed Hector Munoz for four rounds before earning a stoppage at 2:03 in round five. Munoz, of Albuquerque, NM, had no answer for Jones’ arsenal of punches. Jones continued his undefeated streak which now stands at 21-0 (17) while Munoz drops to 18-3-1 (11).
Jones was in control of the bout from the opening bell, easily outpointing the Mexican Munoz before the fateful fifth round. During that round, Jones landed power shots at will, with both hands and no fear of retaliation. After a blistering right hand sent Munoz reeling backwards, referee Benjy Estevez stepped in and called a halt to the bout at 2:03 of round five.
All four judged had rightfully scored all four rounds for Jones before the TKO.
Russian former Olympian Matt Korobov earned a hard-fought unanimous eight-round decision over Josh Snyder of Berlin, MD. Korobov throughout the fight showed flashes of great potential, but also seemed uncomfortable with Snyder’s style of pressing forward. Korobov improved to 11-0 (8), while dropping Snyder to 8-5-1 (3).
Two judges scored the bout 78-74, while the third card recorded all but one round for Korobov, at 79-73.
Youngstown, Ohio prospect Chris Hazimihalis was impressive in his second fight as a professional, earning a first-round stoppage over Philadelphia’s Ramon Ellis. After a straight right hand that sent Ellis to the canvas, Hazimihalis backed his opponent into the corner and forced the stoppage at 1:28 with a relentless attack of both lefts and rights.
Ronald Hearns had an easy day at the office, needing just 1:47 of the first round to dispose of Arkansas native Delray Raines. Hearns recorded his 19th knockout in 25 wins, against one loss. Raines fell to 17-8-1 (12) with three no-contests.
Buffalo, NY’s Vincent Arroyo, seemingly behind in points, rallied to knockout Jeremy Bryan, Paterson, NJ, to improve his record to 10-1 (7). It was the first loss for Bryan in 14 professional fights. Arroyo backed Bryan into the ropes and unleashed combinations, followed by an uppercut that buckled Arroyo’s knees. As Bryan crumbled, an Arroyo right sent Paterson down hard and out for the ten count. Heading into the final round, two judges had scored every round for Bryan, with one judge scoring six of the first seven for Bryan.
Former heavyweight contender Dominic Guinn notched his 33rd win of his 10-year career with a seventh-round stoppage of Terrell Nelson of Plainfield, NJ, who dropped to 8-10 (5) with two no-contests. Guinn, of Hot Springs, AR, dropped Nelson close to the end of the first round with two hard rights. Nelson recovered, but took many hard punches in the seventh round and failed to answer the bell in the eighth round.