Boxing fans looking for top-notch entertainment need look no further than Saturday's WBO Super Featherweight Championship bout between defending champ Roman Martinez and challenger Diego Magdaleno. These two will provide plenty of fireworks.
Martinez's title reign has faced two stiff challenges in a row. He held on to his title via split decision against Miguel Beltran, Jr. in September of 2012 and followed that up with a controversial draw against Juan Carlos Burgos.
Rather than grant Burgos an immediate rematch, Martinez will meet Magdaleno in a championship bout.
That doesn't mean Martinez is taking the easy way out, though. Magdaleno is a deserving challenger who could pose some serious problems for the champion.
Here are the keys to victory for each fighter along with a final prediction for this potential barn-burner.
Keys for Martinez
Martinez needs to do what he does best: turn this into a brawl.
The champ holds the advantage in the power department. He's been known to stay in the pocket and exchange with opponents before, and that could actually help him in this one.
The more he can turn up the heat on his younger, less-experienced opponent, the better. A close-quarters slugfest favors Magdaleno, as it will serve to negate any speed advantage he has and test the cardio of the challenger.
If Martinez can consistently apply pressure and lure Magdaleno into exchanges, this fight could be over sooner than you think.
Keys for Magdaleno
Magdaleno may be the less-proven challenger, but he matches up very well with Martinez stylistically.
Martinez is a good power puncher, but his aggressive style opens him up to counterpunching. It's not rare for him to be out-boxed by inferior opponents because he's willing to exchange.
What Magdaleno must do is find a balance between exposing the gaps in Martinez's defense without obliging him by going punch for punch. Magdaleno must remain on the move.
If Magdaleno is able to get on his horse, constantly stick and move while avoiding big bombs from Martinez, he'll be well on his way to pulling off a decision win.
Martinez has had a good run as the champion, but this is Magdaleno's fight to lose.
As long as Magdaleno's largely untested cardio holds, he has all the tools necessary to out-box Martinez for 12 rounds. Martinez's power is something to be reckoned with, but, in the end, Magdaleno's hand speed and footwork should carry the day.
Magdaleno by unanimous decision.