The action was
hot and the crowd was on fire for the Sergio Martinez-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. middleweight
title fight at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, NV. Saturday night. The
fight was for the linear, legitimate title and the WBC belt that once belonged
to the linear champion Martinez. When the fight was over, save for one scare in
the 12th round, Martinez got what he wanted with the unanimous
decision win by scores of 117-110 and 118-109, twice.
The action started tentative, each man checking out
his opponent at a safe distance. Chavez was close but noncommittal early on.
Martinez moved, darted In and out, expending energy and throwing the jab up and
down with an occasional right jab out of his southpaw stance. At one point,
Chavez backed Martinez into a corner and ate a straight left before Martinez
spun out. Late, Chavez tried a right to the body that was blocked.
Martinez took a long time to get off his stool but jumped
right out and jabbed. Chavez retaliated by getting rough along the ropes,
shoving Martinez, who tied him up. Martinez landed a couple good shots but Chavez
held his hands out as if to ask, “When are you going to hit me?” Martinez held
his hands out to reply, “Be patient; it’s coming.” The two traded body shots
and Martinez spent some time on the ropes taking what Chavez dished, then
came back with his own shots to the body, mixing in a right jab. Martinez
seemed very comfortable while Chavez seemed only in control when his opponent was
near the ropes. Chavez tried to mimic Martinez’s hands-down style but it was
neither effective as a tactic nor deterring Martinez, who let off a four-punch
combo, landing just one.
The third started the same way with Martinez working
the jab and Chavez following him around. Martinez was working in a somewhat
pop-less left hand that still connected. Junior waited for his moments but
Martinez instead seized it, landing a Sugar Ray Leonard-style “Look at my left
and I’ll land a right jab” move. Junior kept trying to use his strength and
size by pushing Martinez but offering nothing in return as far as consistent
offense. A body shot here, a lunging right there. Martinez just pounded to the
belly with both hands and moved away. He’d rest at times, waiting for Chavez to
come near but seemed unable to miss with his left uppercut, landing it twice
The sold-out crowd, which had a vocal Argentine and
Mexican following, chanted “Maravilla” between rounds.
In the fourth, Martinez is started to open up and
land a bit, dropping in a left that Chavez just laughed at. Inside, where
Chavez was thought to be the dominant man, Martinez showed versatility,
tightening the defense, landing inside and always coming back to either the jab
or throw the left uppercut. Chavez complained about headbutts as the two men
came together a couple times but referee Tony Weeks seemed unbothered. Chavez
did get in some nice body shots and ate a late low blow . However, Weeks missed
it and the two opened up with Martinez landing the round-punctuating one-two.
There was a smattering of boos as Martinez stalked a
backing up Chavez with his hands down and a right jab pumping. Chavez seemed to
be waiting for something. Martinez did not appear to be looking to oblige him
by tiring. Up likely four rounds already he seemed to take his time, looking
for the left hand, using the right and moving to his own left but out of
Chavez’ range. Chavez seemed unable to figure out anything about the puzzle in
front of him
Chavez showed signs of life but Martinez walked
around him, shooting the right jab, popping the left and getting stalked in
return. Chavez started landing in his right hand. Martinez kept coming right
back and landing with Chavez Late in the round, Martinez, back to the ropes,
backed off Chavez with a long series of shots. Chavez stayed to the center of
the ring and got picked apart. When he moved the action to the ropes he did
better, letting his hands go and getting in body shots. But Martinez was
unfazed, lighting up Chavez late with a left hand. It was beautiful stuff.
Someone in the crowd yelled “Hit somebody”
presumably to Chavez to start the seventh. Martinez listened and popped that
jab into Chavez’ face then the left to the face followed by a left to the body.
Round seven is one of demons for Martinez. He was
stopped in the seventh against Antonio Margarito back in his 18th fight. On this night, when Chavez
started to land and got in a Sunday punch right hand, Martinez, rather than
wilting on the ropes, came alive, opening up and fighting his way out of the
corner. He looked tired but he passed through an important moment.
Julio showed that great chin, eating big shots from
Martinez, going to the ropes and then surging. Say what you want but the kid is
Martinez made Chavez look flat out silly in the
ninth, moving to one side, making him miss a wide right then popping back to
the spot he disappeared from dropping in an uppercut. Beautiful boxing. Chavez
Jr., at this point, stood still, trying to goad Martinez into a fight but he
had nothing maybe the occasional hope for a lucky punch left.
Martinez started out round 10 standing at center.
These were the championship rounds and this was for the middleweight
championship of the world. Chavez toed the line and the jab-fest began again.
The sweat flew out Chavez as he chased and chased and ate and ate. He got in a
couple body shots but he just couldn’t find Martinez who was warned for a low
A nasty headbutt made both men step away in pain.
But when the action immediately resumed, Martinez took off again. Chavez spent
a lot of time waiting and waiting.
Near round’s end, Martinez went down to the canvas
as Chavez leaned on his neck. He rose slowly, almost wearily but went right to
work and let go on Chavez. As the round ended, with Chavez backed into a corner
getting the worst of it, Martinez egged him on to fight and then raised his
hands to the crowd to get them excited. They honored the request with chants
Martinez did seem a little tired in the 11th and Julio tried to take advantage. He bullied and pushed and threw body shots
as he mashed Martinez into the ropes but it was no use. Martinez opened up on
him, backed him off and the crowd went wild. Chants of “Chavez!” ended the
round that saw some good Chavez moments but perhaps not enough to win him the
People began filing out of the arena to start the 12th.
Likely Chavez fans thinking there was no way Martinez would blow the last round
and the fight.
Chavez didn’t come out with urgency. Martinez came
out like a man defending a lead. He moved jabbed, ate a right by Chavez but not
a second one right after. Instead he circled and he moved and made Chavez look
for him. On a turn, Chavez whipped and landed a hard right that hurt Martinez
badly. He kept at the aging Argentine and dropped him along the ropes. He went
down, bleeding from his left eye, hurt staggered and went down again but not a
knockdown. Chavez opened up, Martinez stayed on the ropes and the crowd went
wild. Time slowed down, the round could not last longer. Martinez tied up and
let his hands on the break. Chavez kept at him, winging bomb after bomb. At the
bell, Martinez wobbled but it looked like he made it to the finish.
But when it was over and the smoke had cleared,
“Maravilla” Martinez bathed in the chants of his countrymen who, like their
champion, came a long way to get here.
Guillermo Rigondeaux won a unanimous
decision by scores of 118-108, 118-108 and 118-109. He dropped Robert Marroquin
in the fifth with a straight left and a right hook in the 12th but
the fight itself, while it had a couple moments when Rigo seemed hurt, did not
excite the crowd at all.
Matthew Macklin needed just 2:36 to take out Joachim Alcine, dropping him twice
and stopping him soon after.
great going into this fight,” said Macklin afterward. This is his first start since
being dismantled late against Sergio Martinez. Macklin said he had worked on
the right hand that stunned and dropped Alcine. “We had been working on that
shot a lot in training. Stepping to the side and creating an angle to shoot it
and that’s what we did. I knew it would come. I’m thrilled with my performance.
I want another shot at a title.”
Roman Martinez and Miguel
Beltran Jr. do not know how to be in a bad fight. The two men threw down in a
back-and-forth battle for a vacant WBO super featherweight belt. The two men
used every inch of the ring to stage their pre-main event tussle, staying
largely in a phone booth once past the initial feeling out early rounds. The
momentum swung back and forth as Beltran would land flush shots and seem ready
to take out Martinez before a rally from his opponent. More than a few rounds
ended with both men trading hard shots. In the 11th, Beltran was
deducted a point for hitting behind the head. In the end, the judges had it for
116-111, Beltran, and 114-113, twice, for Martinez by split decision. The
crowd booed lustily as it appeared that in the ebb and flow, Beltran was the
man more in charge.