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Martinez survives late knockdown, beats Chavez by decision

September 16, 2012 1:43pm
It was like watching an old movie again. But this time, it just had to have a different ending.

Back in 1990, Julio Cesar Chavez, Sr., scored a scintillating 12th round knockout win over American Meldrick Taylor for the unified IBF and WBC light welterweight championship. Up to this moment, it is still one of the most debated issues in boxing. Taylor was leading comfortably in the scorecards going into the 12th round of that fight until Chavez knocked him down with only a few seconds left in the fight. Taylor got up at the count of 8 but referee Richard Steele waved off the fight with 2 seconds left.

On Saturday night (Sunday morning Manila time), it was a different ending for Chavez's son, Julio Cesar Jr., who attempted to repeat his father's late-round resurgence against challenger Sergio Martinez in front of a capacity crowd at the University of Nevada Las Vegas campus arena.

Martinez dominated the much-younger Chavez for the first 11 rounds of that fight, but it almost was for naught after Chavez knocked him down badly in the 12th round. Martinez was out of his wits but he was able to get back up and finish the fight and hold on to the victory. The judges scored it 117-110 and 118-109 twice.

"Julio fought a great fight. [He] showed he had heart right until the end," said the new WBC middleweight champion.

Martinez stepped into the ring as the favorite even if it was Chavez defending title and he showed why from the very start of the match.

Chavez, who looked so much bigger, started slow as usual. The son of a legend did better in the second and third rounds but Martinez still took the rounds by the sheer volume of his punches. By the fourth round, it was becoming obvious that Chavez was not starting slowly in this fight. He just really had nothing in his arsenal to solve the puzzle that is Martinez.

Chavez was thoroughly schooled by Martinez, who had a whopping 322-178 lead in total punches landed, according to Compubox. Chavez was able to land some good body punches and a couple of stiff right hands straight to the face of Martinez but those had little effect.

Martinez was far from the stationary targets Chavez was used to taking down. He moved tremendously, darting in and out while putting his punches together. He also managed to keep the fight at the center of the ring and not allow Chavez to unleash his daunted body punches regularly.

Taking on the dangerous Martinez was a huge risk for the young and undefeated Chavez. Martinez was head and shoulders above anyone Chavez has faced in his entire career. The Argentinean has battled some of the very best fighters in the world and he is ranked third in Ring Magazine’s Pound-for-Pound rankings just below Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather. But even though he lost, Chavez showed just how tough he is as a fighter by continuing to fight and almost knocking his opponent out.

For Martinez, two options stand out for his next fight. The first is to negotiate with Mayweather’s camp for a possible match; maybe at a catchweight between 154 and 160 pounds. The other is to head north to the super middleweight division and take on the unified WBC and WBA champion Andre Ward. — BM, GMA News
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