Martinez gives Macklin an Awful St. Patty's Day Hangover!
Rodriguez Remains Unbeaten in Co-Feature...
March 17, 2012 - Theater at Madison Square Garden, NY, NY
Ringside Report: Mariano A. Agmi and Matt Richardson
Photos: Ed Mulholland
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When the going gets tough and an outcome is in doubt, legendary fighters adjust and turn their activity up a notch to win a bout decisively. "Sugar" Ray Leonard did it in his see-saw battle against Tommy Hearns. Oscar de la Hoya did it in his best wins over Ike Quartey and Fernando Vargas. Floyd Mayweather did it after a fast start by Zab Judah. And Sergio "Maravilla" Martinez did it once again on St. Patrick's Day, scoring a spectacular eleventh round technical knockout over an inspired Matthew "Mack the Knife" Macklin, impressively ending a close contest in front of 4,671 fans inside of a sold-out Madison Square Garden Theater in New York City.
"It wasn't my most difficult fight, but it was a complicated one because he is a good fighter," stated the World Middleweight Champion only moments after the bout. "Macklin fought a totally different fight than I thought he would. I thought he would come to attack me, but he didn't do that and I was waiting for him to make a mistake."
Much like a bullfighter, Martinez (49-2-2, 28 KOs), from Quilmes, Argentina, but now fighting out of Oxnard, CA, is a fighter with a unique style who anticipates his opponents' attack and uses their forward momentum against them. Maravilla did this from the get-go on Saturday, winning the first two rounds with superior movement and catching a charging Macklin with sharp right jabs in round one and a left hand in round two that sent his Irish opponent reeling to the ropes.
Macklin (28-4, 19 KOs), a top-10 middleweight contender from Birmingham, England, was robbed in his last fight, a twelve round split decision loss to WBA champion Felix Sturm in Germany. The Irishman was very physical in that fight, launching a blistering body attack that slowed his opponent and seemed to win him the fight.
Reunited with former two-division champion Buddy McGirt, who previously trained Matthew in a win against former junior middleweight titlist Yory Boy Campas, "the Knife" fought valiantly for the duration of the bout and proved to be more than just a come-forward, one dimensional fighter.
"Buddy definitely polished me up technically. I talked about going to war all week but I figured that I couldn't really do that against Sergio, as I knew that putting too much pressure on could be detrimental," admitted the 29-year-old challenger.
Rather than come straight at his opponent, where he might open himself up to sharp counter punches, the challenger elected to give Martinez different looks and angles while attacking the champion's body in an attempt to slow him down enough to land patented right hands to the head.
"When I was trying to catch him to the head, I was over shooting," explained Macklin (158 lbs). "I started switching the attack to straight [right hands] to the chest. That was upsetting him and I think that he was finding it hard to nail me with my head movement and my feints."
The strategy seemed to work in round three. In the following round, Maravilla's right counterpunches began to back Macklin up. A right uppercut stunned Macklin momentarily, but the challenger regained his form and fired back right hands of his own.
Macklin came alive in round five, landing a series of thudding right hands and a right uppercut to convincingly win the round. The champion re-established his harpoon-like right jab in the following stanza, mixing in a sneaky right uppercut and a few rights to the body to take the round.
The fighters traded huge shots in round seven, with Martinez (157.5 lbs) landing a big right hand to the head and Macklin responding with a left hook and combinations to Martinez's head and body. At one point, the fighters' legs became tangled and Macklin launched a right hand that caused an off-balance Sergio to trip over his leg and touch the canvas with his glove. Referee Eddie Cotton ruled it a knockdown as the punch landed just before the trip, but the fall seemed more of a slip.
"My leg became tangled with his and I was off-balance, but I'm not complaining," said Martinez.
Instead, an angry Martinez launched vicious left hands to Macklin's head in rounds eight and nine, when he trapped the Knife against the blue corner and landed stinging combinations punctuated by a left uppercut.
As always, Martinez is calculated in the way that he sets up his left hand, throwing combinations and waiting for the exact moment when an opponent bends at the waist and begins to lift his head up to fire left hands on a downward angle onto his unsuspecting opponent's head, a particularly damaging punch.
Although Maravilla met Macklin's forward momentum with huge left hands all night, it was not until round ten that the shot really began to hurt the Knife, who now bled from a cut over his left eye as well as one on his head.
"I knew that I would knock him out eventually," stated the proud Champion, who landed 183 total punches and 50% of his power punches (109 of 218). "It was a matter of time, like chopping down a tree."
Going into the championship rounds, Martinez led on judges Don Trella and Carlos Ortiz's scorecards by one point and trailed on Julie Lederman's card by three points. It would not matter, however, as the Argentine caught Macklin with a stinging right uppercut and later a superb left hand to the chin that sent the Irishman tumbling near the ropes. The brave challenger rose to his feet but was again dropped by another right jab, left hand combination. Macklin survived the round, but his corner wisely recommended that Cotton stop the fight to save the battered fighter from further punishment.
"He is a very sharp puncher with speed and accuracy," stated a disappointed Macklin, whose only other knockout loss came six years ago in a ten-round slugfest against Jaime Moore in Manchester. "I gave it 100%, but I probably resorted back to my normal tactics in the last few rounds. I stopped moving my head as much and was probably squaring up and heavy on my feet. I started reaching for shots, and that's when he was able to bring me out to punches."
Bruised and bloodied, Macklin explained that although he wanted to continue, he ultimately accepted his corner's decision to end the fight: "I put my hand in my heart, I never ever quit. I said I was OK but Buddy said, 'Listen, I'm stopping it. You're a few points down and you need a knockout, and you're not going to get a knockout the way he is fighting.' Buddy wanted to stop it and I accepted it."
Macklin, who landed 135 of 461 punches (29%), has nothing to be ashamed of. He displayed tons of heart and fought on even terms for nine rounds with the best middleweight and one of the top fighters in the sport. Despite the loss, the Knife should be considered amongst the best middleweights in the world today.
"I think what Matthew showed is he is probably the second or third best middleweight in the world," agreed Lou DiBella, who promotes both Martinez and Macklin. "He gave Sergio everything he could handle. I thought that Macklin executed an excellent game plan. He boxed very well for eight rounds, and I thought it was a very close fight. But the superior athlete and his speed caught up to him."
Praising his Champion, the President of DiBella Entertainment compared Martinez to other notable pound-for-pound greats: "Sergio is Superman; he turned it up a notch. When he turns it up a notch, he is Mayweather. He is Roy Jones-in-his-prime. When he is in a tough fight, he just takes over. I saw that in the eighth round. I said, 'Here it comes,' and it came."
DiBella stated that he would try to entice Top Rank into a fight between Martinez and WBC titleholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., but he is sceptical that the fight will ever happen: "I'm going to try to talk to Bob [Arum] on Monday or Tuesday about it, but they're probably going to run away from this guy because he's Superman."
What Team Martinez dismissed outright is a move to Super Middleweight for the Argentine, who began his career as a welterweight. "The guy ate steak and potatoes all week," stated DiBella. "He weighed 157. He could have weighed 154 in the ring tonight. I'm getting sick of listening to commentators talking about [Lucian] Bute and [Andre] Ward. It's not going to happen."
When asked what he would do if he still cannot land big-money fights against the likes of Floyd Mayweather or Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., the 37-year-old Champion stated with a smirk: "I will continue waiting, because I'm young. I'm not as old as they think." -- Mariano A. Agmi
Martinez vs Macklin Photos
Rodriguez Outboxes George!
In a fight that appeared much better on paper than it turned out to be in the ring, super middleweight Edwin Rodriguez easily defeated Donovan George by a ten-round unanimous decision in the televised co-feature to Martinez-Macklin. Scores read 98-91, 97-93 and 96-94 all for Rodriguez.
Fightnews scored the bout 98-92 for Rodriguez.
Rodriguez, working with veteran trainer Ronnie Shields, worked effectively behind a clean jab and a follow-up straight right. George plodded forward throughout but could never get his punches off (and didn't throw nearly enough). A pace was established early on and never seriously waivered until the final bell. Rodriguez (21-0, 14 KO's) appeared to win the first round behind a stiff jab. The speed of the fight continued in the second although George scored well at the end of the round in the corner. George (22-2, 19 KO's) landed a good right in the third that seemed to wake Rodriguez up, causing him to throw and land the same punch in return. Rodriguez continued landing the punch more effectively as the round progressed.
Rodriguez stayed boxing from the outside in the fifth while George continued to come forward looking for one or two big shots. Rodriguez connected with a solid straight right with one minute left in the eighth but didn't punch after in order to capitalize on his advantage. Rodriguez seemed to get rocked by a hard right at the end of the ninth. Sensing his opponent could still be hurt, George came out much more aggressively in the tenth. He threw more punches (and took more in return) but also connected with more shots to the body and the head than he had in previous rounds. The fight concluded with both men swapping shots in the corner but it was much too little very late for George.
The Rodriguez-George fight, dubbed "Bombs Away" before both men entered the ring, was likely subdued due to the influence of Shields on his pupil. "Since I've been with Ronnie, we've been working on my defensive game and showing other dimensions," said Rodriguez.
"I feel great," he said. "I'm tired but happy." -- Matt Richardson
Rodriguez vs George Photos
Mago Annihilates Pettway in Battle of Unbeatens!
In a battle of undefeated Heavyweight prospects, Magomed "Mago" Abdusalamov (14-0, 14 KOs) showed tremendous power in destroying Jason "Put 'em Away" Pettaway (11-1, 8 KOs) in four rounds.
Adbusalamov (221.5 lbs), a Russian native fighting out of the Martinez Gym in Oxnard, CA, was simply too powerful for Pettaway (228.5 lbs), who did his best to crowd Abdulsalamov in close and counter him with quick, short right hands to the head. Unfortunately for the Huntington, W. Virginia native, he lacked the pop to keep the raw but powerful Mago at bay.
Abdulsalamov's pressure began to catch up to Pettaway in round three as the West Virginian bled from his nose and breathed heavily. A left hand, right hook combination dropped Pettaway for an eight count in round four and a hellacious follow-up right hook sent Pettaway's mouthpiece flying out his mouth moments later. With the ringside doctor waving his hand to halt the contest, referee David Fields quickly stopped the bout at 1:20 of the round. Mago, who is promoted by Lewkowicz Boxing, picks up the WBC Silver Heavyweight title with the win. -- Mariano A. Agmi
Abdulsalamov vs Pettaway Photos
Monaghan decisions Watkins!
Local light heavyweight Seanie Monaghan won an entertaining six-round unanimous decision against Eric Watkins. Monaghan, from Long Beach, NY, seemed to hurt Watkins on numerous occasions, particularly to the body. Watkins was game, however, and managed to survive the rough patches without ever touching the canvas. With the victory, Monaghan remains undefeated (13-0, 8 KO's). Watkins is now 6-2 with two KO's. -- Matt Richardson
Monaghan vs Watkins Photos
Lightning Strikes the Theater!
Recent DiBella Entertainment signee Charles "The Lightening" Ota (20-1-1, 14 KOs) made a successful American debut, overwhelming Gundrick "The Shogun" King (16-8, 11 KOs) with sharp, accurate straight right hands and left hooks to stop the Alabaman in seven heats.
Ota (151.5 lbs), born in Harlem but living and fighting out of Tokyo, Japan, started the Junior Middleweight fight tentatively, opting to jab, counter, and study his opponent for the first two rounds.
For his part, King (153.5 lbs) focused on Ota's body and occasionally landed heavy left hands from his southpaw stance. Swelling from his right eye, Ota finally began letting his hands go in round three, but seemed overly cautious and a bit mechanical in his approach.
At the urging of his corner, Ota finally began attacking King's body and landing several combinations in round five, cutting King's left eye and hurting the Alabaman with consecutive left hooks. A left hook in round six dropped King, who lost his mouthpiece in the process. Ota continued his focused attack in round seven, hammering King around the ring with straight right hands and blistering hooks to the head and body. With an exhausted and battered King trapped in the blue corner, Ota began raining shots on him until referee Arthur Mercante Jr. mercifully halted the bout at 0:35 of the round. -- Mariano A. Agmi
Ota vs King Photos
In Other Action:
Shuff got stuffed.
Middleweight Kevin Rooney Jr., boxing part-time in between completing his PR duties for promoter Lou DiBella, defeated Anthony Shuff in less than two minutes. Rooney hurt Shuff (0-2) in the corner. After landing consecutive right hands that snapped Shuff's head back, the referee elected to call a halt to the bout with Shuff still standing (shakily) on his feet. The time of the stoppage was 1:27. Rooney, a local prospect and the son of former Mike Tyson-trainer Kevin Rooney, improves to 4-1 with two knockouts. -- Matt Richardson
Rooney vs Shuff Photos
In a junior welterweight fight, Carl McNickles won a minor upset six-round majority decision against Danny McDermott. McNickles, cut on the left eye and knocked down in the second, hung tough and fought his opponent on relatively even terms. Judges scored the fight 57-55 (twice) and 56-56. McNickles, from Chicago, improves to 8-3 with six wins by knockout. New Jersey's McDermott falls to 9-4-2 with four KO's. -- Matt Richardson
McNickles vs McDermott Photos
Dublin Heavyweight Thomas "The Hitman" Hardwick, now fighting out of Yonkers, NY, started the night off the right way for Irish fans, knocking down TJ Gibbons (1-2) of Duluth, MN, in rounds one and three to up his record to 5-0 (2 KOs). A left hook to the head dropped Gibbons in round one. A right hand to the top of the head knocked Gibbons down again at the bell to end round three. After four rounds, Judges Tony Paollilo, Steve Weisfeld and Matt Ruggero all scored the bout 39-35 for Hardwick. -- Mariano A. Agmi
Hardwick vs Gibbons Photos