Sergio Martinez looked timid, uncertain, hesitant and frankly, bad for large parts of his middleweight championship fight Saturday night. However, all that was erased when he spectacularly closed the show against Matthew Macklin when he forced a corner stoppage at the end of the 11th round at Madison Square Garden.
Martinez once again was disappointing and struggled early, similar to how he performed against Darren Barker last October. Macklin was able to have a lot of success and even scored a knockdown against Martinez in the 7th.
Macklin was dictating the fight to Martinez and applying a lot of pressure which was clearly making Martinez uncomfortable.
Martinez wasn't really throwing enough punches and was befuddled by Macklin's style at times, and failed to throw combinations. Around the seventh round, I began to seriously think that Macklin had a legitimate chance to win the fight.
Going into the 11th round, I had the fight 95-94 for Martinez, but I thought Macklin still had a shot to get the win and pull off an upset. However, Martinez began to throw hard straight lefts and knocked Macklin down. Macklin got up, then was downed again by another vicious straight left.
Macklin got up and made it back to his corner, but trainer Buddy McGirt immediately moved in and put a halt to the bout. Macklin was clearly very weary and if he came out for the 12th he would've been knocked out, so it was a good call by McGirt.
In all fairness to Macklin, he fought a great fight and has absolutely nothing to be ashamed about. However, he was beaten by a fighter who has shown an amazing ability to make adjustments on the fly and close the show.
Who will Martinez fight Next?
For Martinez, looking bad in spots is probably going to benefit him in terms of where his career goes from here. Mayweather and Pacquiao were definitely watching and saw the vulnerabilities in Martinez that they could exploit, and would therefore be more likely to agree to fight him.
I think that if Mayweather beats Cotto and fails to make a fight with Pacquiao, that a fight with Martinez at 154 could definitely happen. Rumors are floating that Martinez's team has already offered Floyd 80% of the money if they fight.
If not, a fight with Julio Cesar Chavez should and probably will have to be made. If it's not put together, Chavez will be stripped, according to the WBC.
For Macklin, he's shown the ability to compete on a world-class level, and will definitely be back at some point in the future. He's a strong solid fighter who still has a lot more to give to the sport.
It was a good night of fights on HBO's World Championship Boxing on St. Patrick's Day. Martinez finished in style, and Macklin gave a good account of himself in a solid fight . Can't ask for much more than that.
Until next time.
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