Sergio Martinez (50-2-2) will welcome Englishman Martin Murray (25-0-1) to his native Argentina this weekend when they square off for the WBC middleweight crown.
Martinez will probably enter as the favorite given his illustrious past, but there are definite arguments to be made for both fighters in this one—especially given the form that Murray's shown over his past few fights.
It's shaping up to be a tremendously close bout with plenty of big talking points. Read on to see the biggest storylines to watch out for this weekend when Murray takes on Martinez.
Martinez Back on Home Soil for First Time in 11 Years
Martinez will fight back on Argentinian soil for the first time in 11 years this weekend, and it's likely that he'll have a huge following for the fight, as he's welcomed home like a returning son.
"Maravilla" is a legend in the South American nation, and given its rich boxing history, Argentina will love having its star fighter back in town, as 40,000 Argentinians are bound to pack the Vélez Sarsfield Stadium in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
However, as an Englishman, Murray will not at all be welcomed—especially considering that this is the anniversary month of the Falklands war (per The Guardian). So not only is Murray fighting in a hostile environment away from home, he's doing it in one of the more historically significant places that an Englishman could do it in, and he won't find any favors from the crowd there.
How the home soil will affect this fight still remains to be seen, but it's difficult to see it not being a huge advantage for the national hero in Martinez.
Can Murray's "Youth" Trump Martinez's Experience?
Martinez will come into this fight with significantly more experience than that of Murray, with the 38-year-old's experience likely to play a huge role here.
He hasn't lost a fight since 2009, but at 38, he is surely going to start to see a dip in his reflexes and form. That's not to suggest that he isn't capable of toppling Murray with those reflexes, but it will definitely be something to watch from Martinez, who struggled at the end in the Julio Chavez Jr. fight.
Murray is a solid fighter and a great puncher—someone who will chip away at Martinez throughout the night and try to land a number of solid blows on his opponent. His stamina and patience will be key in toppling the 38-year-old, and whilst he's not exactly young at the age of 30, his reflexes will still be key in opening up a chance to knock out Martinez.
Look for Murray to try to make Martinez do plenty of work, with the age question likely to be asked a great deal throughout the latter rounds of the fight.
Will Martinez's Prediction Come True?
Much like a cocky pool player in a crowded bar or even the great Muhammad Ali, Martinez caused a great stir in the build-up to the fight when he declared which round he would knock Murray out in.
According to Boxing Clever of Boxing Scene, Martinez predicted that whilst Murray is a "come forward boxer and will give me a good challenge in the ring," he will knock out Murray in the eighth round.
Will that prediction come true? Will it be victory for Martinez, and will he knock out his opponent here, or will it come after 12 rounds of gruelling action?
We'll know the answer soon enough, with the prediction from Martinez likely to drive both fighters towards even further success, particularly in the eighth round.
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