Sergio Martinez Ruins Matthew Macklin's St. Patrick's Day with a KO Victory

Mick AkersAnalyst IMarch 18, 2012

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ - NOVEMBER 20:  Sergio Martinez celebrates after knocking out Paul Williams in the second round of their Middleweight Championship fight on November 20, 2010 at The Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

In a fight that was neck-and-neck up until Round 8, pound-for-pound great and middleweight champion Sergio Martinez pulled off yet another dramatic late-fight knockout win against Irishman Matthew Macklin.

After a less than stellar showing in the first seven rounds, Martinez seemed step up his intensity after a questionable knockdown at the hands of Macklin late in Round 7.

From the eight round on, Martinez (49-2-2, 29 KOs) took control of a fight that Macklin (28-4, 19 KOs) had control for the better part of, and showed why he was the champion, taking care of business in the championship rounds.

Martinez ended the fight with two knockdowns in the final seconds of the 11th round and the fight was stopped after Macklin's corner said he was unable to continue.

This is the second fight in a row that Martinez looked to struggle before ultimately winning by a late-round knockout.

Martinez won the fight by knockout, but not within the 10 rounds in which he uncharacteristically predicted before the fight.

Martinez's superior conditioning got him the win, as Macklin faded down the stretch, something he has done in past fights he looked good in early on.

Next Martinez has a few big fights he can look forward to. Felix Strum and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. are the two best fighters he has yet to take on within the middleweight division, and the fight he wants the most is with pound-for-pound best Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Time will tell if Martinez lands what would be the biggest fight in his career with Mayweather, as that possibility of Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao still looms after Mayweather's three-month prison stint to begin on June 1st.

No matter who takes on Martinez, his upcoming opponents would be smart to give it their all in the first seven or eight rounds, as Martinez has looked open to a loss early as of late, something he will have to address going forward.