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Thoughts on the Sergio Martinez – Martin Murray Bout

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Sergio Martinez (left) and Martin Murray (right) exchanging blow during last Saturday’s WBC Middlweight title bout.  Photo by. Kevin Rooney

By. BrotherJR

5/1/2013

In the midst of a rainstorm, Sergio Martinez made a triumphant homecoming, overcoming a knockdown and being far from his best to retain the WBC Middleweight title by unanimous decision win Saturday over Martin Murray front of 50,000 boisterous and raucous fans at the Luis Amalfitani Stadium of the Velez Sarsfield soccer club in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  The fight was close, and the decision was controversial to many, but Martinez survived in his first fight in Argentina in 11 years.

The fight got off to a bit of an early start.  Martinez (51-2-2, 28 KO’s), coming off a nine month layoff due to a broken hand and knee surgery following dramatic win over Julio Cesar Chavez last September, had the better of the fight through the first four rounds through sheer activity as Murray seemed slightly passive more concerned with defense.  However starting in round five, Murray started to find his rhythm landing straight right hands and occasional body shots.  The momentum for Murray (25-1-1, 11 KOs) continued into the middle rounds and he repeatedly found success against a Martinez who was clearly off of his game and didn’t have the usual accuracy, energy, and sharpness that we’re accustomed to seeing.  In round eight, Martinez was put on the canvas by a Murray right hand and in tenth Martinez seemed to go down again by a Murray right hand, but referee Massimo Barrovecchio ruled it a slip.  At the end of round ten Murray had all the momentum, while Martinez looked to be fading and was in serious jeopardy of losing his title.

Just when it seemed that the title was slipping away from Martinez in a bout that was so important for him, he rallied in round eleven and continued to do so in the twelfth.  “El Maravilla” began fighting with a sense of urgency and bit down like the proud champion that he is and the.  For his part, Murray seemed to let off the gas somewhat, unable to keep up the pressure and consistency that he sustained through the middle rounds.  It was the late round rally by Martinez, along with the missed knockdown call by referee Barrovecchio that in the end ultimately saved Martinez and helped him retain his title.

There are a few things that one can gather from this fight.  First off, it seems that injuries, as well as age and the accumulation of a wear and tear of  a long career, has seemed to caught up with Sergio Martinez.  After the fight Martinez promoter, Lou Dibella, announced that Sergio has broken his hand once again and that he would take the rest of the year off to heal his body.  With that being said, kudos must be given to Martinez for gallantly pushing forward even though it was obviously that he was physically hampered.  For the time being, the future and career of Sergio Martinez is at a standstill and in limbo.  As for Murray, after gaining momentum and having Martinez on the ropes, he didn’t close the show and seal the deal.  His inability to do that was very reminiscent of the same issues he had in his first world title opportunity against Felix Sturm back in 2011, which resulted in a draw.  I would like to see Murray get another crack at the title.  He performed mightily on the road in front of a hostile crowd.  However, for him to crack the door and become a world champion, he must fight for a full twelve rounds and close he door.

While on my personal scorecard I had Murray winning the fight by three points (7-5 in rounds), you knew that Martinez, returning to his home country of Argentina to fight for the first time in 11 years, would get the benefit of the doubt in a close bout.  Credit must go to both fighters, especially Martinez who was fighting through severe obstacles.  Time and injuries have clearly caught up to Martinez, while Murray has plenty of good fights ahead of him in the Middleweight division.  Where Martinez goes from here is the lingering question.  One thing is clear however, after a career of perseverance, triumph, and ultimately redemption, the end seems to be near.

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May 1, 2013 - Posted by | Blog, Boxing | , , , ,

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