When Roman "Rocky" Martinez (26-1, 16 KOs) defends his WBO Super Featherweight crown against Juan Carlos "Miniburgos" Burgos (30-1, 20 KOs) on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden, boxing fans may be treated to a slugfest.
Beyond the normal intrigue from the Puerto Rican (Martinez)-Mexican (Burgos) rivalry in the sport of boxing, these two fighters' styles and hunger levels could make this a classic.
Both men have been impressive since suffering the only defeats of their careers. Rocky is 2-0 since he lost his title to Ricky Burns in September 2010. He regained it with a split-decision victory over Miguel Beltran, Jr. in September 2012.
Burgos has really been on a roll since he lost to Hozumi Hasegawa in November 2010. He has won five fights in a row, and that includes a third-round TKO win over Cesar Vazquez.
The bout is part of a stellar HBO Boxing After Dark card that also features Gennady Golovkin defending his WBA middleweight title against Gabriel Rosado, and Orlando Salido defending his WBO featherweight title against Mikey Garcia.
Here are the specifics for the event, and some deeper analysis into the Martinez-Burgos matchup.
When: Saturday, Jan. 19, 9:45 p.m. ET
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York
The Book on Martinez
Rocky is a relentless, unrefined, crowd-pleasing fighter. I'm running out of adjectives to describe the 29-year-old Puerto Rican champion.
His fights are almost always entertaining, but if you're a Martinez fan, he'll keep you biting your nails. Defensively, he has perplexing lapses as he routinely drops his hands in closed quarters with his opponent.
However, his qualities still allow him to be effective with those flaws.
He's a hard puncher who throws with the intention of leaving a mark with each strike. He also has a remarkable chin. If you need visual evidence to support that, take a look at the video below of Martinez in his only loss to Burns.
There is no doubt he absorbed a lot of punishment in that fight, but if you watched the video or saw the fight at another time, you know he delivered his share of pain as well.
Any opponent that climbs into the ring with him will have his mettle tested. Even with those exciting qualities, Martinez may have difficulties solving the long-armed, hard-punching Burgos.
The Book on Burgos
Miniburgos has improved a great deal since his loss to Hasegawa in 2010. He has gained more confidence in each performance, and that seemed to reach an all-time high in his last fight against Vazquez.
The 25-year-old stopped the previously undefeated Vazquez in the third round. His speed and counter-punching ability really stood out to me in that fight. Check it out below:
Burgos showed he could handle himself in a brawl, but he didn't get too reckless. He didn't allow the less-talented fighter to drag him into a fight that put him at a disadvantage.
He will have to employ the same approach against Martinez, but it won't be nearly as easy.
Martinez is a better puncher than Vazquez, more experienced and he has a great chin to fall back on. Utilizing the jab and boxing ability is his best bet, but Martinez has a style that makes it hard to dictate the tempo.
This is going to be an action-packed bout, but Burgos will win by decision or a late stoppage. His accuracy and speed will be the difference.
Martinez has a great chance to prove me wrong. If he can get Burgos to lose his composure and mishandle the pressure, he could retain his title.
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