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Sergio Martinez Beats Cesar Chavez, Jr. in thrilling War
In the last several years, Sergio Martinez’ performances have been nothing short of spectacular. Fight-after-fight-after-fight, Sergio Martinez has brought the boxing community to their feet repeatedly. Martinez’ performance last Saturday, on an HBO Pay-Per-View event in Las Vegas’ historic Thomas & Mack Centre was no exception, as he once again put on another amazing performance.
What was a boxing exhibition for Martinez nearly resulted in a dramatic nightmare, as Martinez (50-2-2, 28 KOs) survived a late knockdown and a vicious assault from ‘The Son of a Legend,’ Julio Cesar Chavez (46-1-1, 32 KOs), Jr. during a highly intense 12th and final round to win a unanimous decision. Thus, reclaim the WBC middleweight championship he never lost in the ring.
Martinez was comfortably ahead on the judges’ scorecards: 118-109 (twice) and 117-111, but survived a brutal assault in the final round in which the world nearly saw ‘Maravilla’ drilled through the ropes. Martinez, in the final 1:23 seconds, held on to earn the biggest victory of his 15-year career.
“He hurt me,” Martinez said, “but I continued to fight like the warrior I am.”
Martinez ‘ goal was to end the growth and progression of ‘The Son of a Legend.’ Martinez was destined to prove to the world that Chavez was overrated. Martinez wanted to prove that he, not Chavez, deserved to be WBC 160-pound champion. Martinez was out to prove that the WBC made a huge mistake by not allowing him to defend his title against Sebastian Zbik on HBO. Martinez, as a result, vacated the WBC middleweight title and Chavez, Jr. was allowed to fight for the vacant belt against Zbik on HBO.
Martinez, famous for his two wars with Paul Williams that concluded with a bone shatering second round knockout, defeated Kelly Pavlik, Matthew Mackin, and Darrin Barker to name a few. Martinez’ streak of wonderful and amazing performances against the very best in the world carried into his last Saturday’s performance against Chavez, Jr.
Heading in to the contest, Chavez, Jr. was the much younger and bigger than Martinez. At 6′ 1.” 180 pounds, Chavez, Jr. left you with the impression that he was going past the 37-year-old Argentinian.
Instead, it was Martinez who put on a clinic through twelve rounds. Martinez brought the fight to the bigger, younger, stronger Chavez. Martinez’ ability to move around the ring, box, and blatantly hit Chavez with southpaw right-jabs and left crosses was indeed impressive. Martinez vs. Chavez was like watching a matador against a bull. Anytime Chavez charged, Martinez made Chavez miss before countering with razor sharp combinations.
Chavez’ face was a swollen, bloody mess. Credit to Chavez, Jr. The kid kept coming forward. He took some hellacious shots and weathered the storm, as Martinez punished him against the ropes on a number of occasions. It didn’t matter because, Chavez refused to quit. He refused to hand over his WBC 160-pound title by retiring on his stool after the eleventh round.
Just when it appeared as though Martinez would coast toward another decision win, Chavez, Jr. miraculously scored a knockdown in the twelfth round. The time froze for about 10 seconds, as the world erupted in shock and amazement. Chavez, badly behind on the three judges’ scorecards, had one tremendous opportunity to retain his title by knocking Martinez out.
Adding to the drama was the fact that a badly stunned Martinez took the chance of knocking Chavez out in the final round. Martinez, on rubbery legs, nearly stood in vain, as Chavez continued to hammer him with solid knockout blows to the head and body. Martinez’ conditioning played a tremendous roll in that final round. Had Martinez not been in shape, Chavez would have knocked him out cleanly.
Martinez survived within an inch of losing the most important fight of his career. Everyone in Martinez’ circle including longtime boxing promoter Lou DiBella was relieved when the final bell to end the fight sounded.
“It shows you what I was worried about the whole time — that if my guy got too careless. He was in there with a much bigger, stronger, younger kid,” DiBella was quoted. “He gave him a clinic for 11 rounds, but couldn’t stop that desire to knock him out. The desire to knock out (Chavez) almost got him knocked out.”
Martinez made $1.4 million, while Chavez, Jr., arguably the bigger ticket seller, made a guaranteed minimum $3 million.
In other bouts: WBA super bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux (11-0, 8 KOs) improved to 5-0 in world title fights after having just 11 professional fights. The 5’ 4,” southpaw was sharp during his 12-round unanimous decision win over Robert Marroquin (22-2, 15 KOs). 118-108 (twice) and 118-109 were the official scores.
Roman Martinez (26-1, 16 KOs) won a 12-round split decision against Miguel Beltran, Jr. (27-2, 17 KOs) to claim the vacant WBO Super featherweight title. The scores read 114-113 (twice) for Martinez and 116-111 for Beltran.
Middleweight title contender Matthew Macklin (28-4, 19 KOs) destroyed former 154-pound champion Joachine Alcine (33-2-1, 19 KOs) at 2:26 seconds of the first round.