There’s a reason champions are made in the ring and not in a board room or media center.
Sergio Martinez (50-2-2, 28 KOs) beat the man who beat the man. He was the consensus world middleweight champion and acknowledged as such by everyone who really mattered. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (46-1-1, 32 KOs) was pushed and guided into his spot as WBC middleweight champ and, eventually, grew into the role.
That fact, alone, appeared to make the difference between the two fighters Saturday night at the sold out Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas and on HBO pay-per-view.
For eleven rounds, the highly-hyped showdown was as one-sided as any recent big ticket fight, with the 37-year-old Martinez using his movement and ring generalship to completely shut down the 26-year-old titlist.
Over and over again, the pattern would repeat itself. Martinez would negate any Chavez move forward with preemptive strikes and smart movement. Meanwhile, Martinez gradually began to strike with heavier and heavier shots, bloodying the mouth and nose of the second generation fighter.
But the size difference between the two was visually obvious and it was obviously a factor worth watching, given the opening of cuts over and next to the left eye of Martinez from just a couple of the clear blows landed.
Eleven rounds of tactical domination for Martinez ended with a twelfth round surge from the defending titlist that nearly won him the fight.
Chavez would land a thudding left hand that sent a nearly-spent Martinez to the ropes. Buzzed and tangled up, Martinez left himself open for two more Chavez left hands that sent him to the canvas. Martinez beat the count, but was in bad shape and made matters tougher for himself by being either unwilling or unable to tie up and run out the clock.
But Martinez did survive and go on to take a one-sided unanimous decision on the judges’ scorecards: 118-109, 118-109, and 117-110. The Boxing Tribune also scored the bout 117-110.
Despite the one-sided nature of the decision, Chavez pulled out a measure of redemption with his last round surge. He keeps earning his spot as one of the top middleweights in the world, but on this night he had to give in to the natural order of things– He lost to the better fighter and, finally, had to make way for the real champion.
On the Undercard–
Roman “Rocky Martinez (26-1-1, 16 KOs) captured the vacant WBO super featherweight title via split decision over Miguel Beltran Jr. (27-1, 17 KOs) by scores of 114-113, 114-113, and 111-116.
Martinez and Beltran Jr. were competitive throughout the contest, trading advantages and each making a case for winning the bout via close decision. Ultimately, the referee’s call to deduct a point from Beltran for a rabbit punch in the eleventh round made the difference between a majority draw and the Martinez victory
Matthew Macklin (29-4, 20 KOs), in action for the first time since losing to Sergio Martinez, made quick work of Joachim Alcine (33-3-1, 19 KOs), dropping the Haitian-Canadian twice en route to a TKO 1 victory.
In the opening bout of the pay-per-view, WBA junior featherweight champ, Guillermo Rigondeaux (11-0, 8 KOs) made the second defense of his title, scoring a twelve round unanimous decision over Dallas’ Robert Marroguin (22-2, 15 KOs) by scores of 118-108, 118-108, 118-109.
Despite being buzzed by shots in rounds three and nine, it was business as usual for the Cuban, Rigondeaux, as he shut his 23-year-old challenger our for large stretches of the fight while scoring perfectly-timed, but not deadly knockdowns in rounds five and twelve.