Saturday night's Boxing After dark featured the Middleweight Champion and number three P4P fighter in the world Sergio Martinez(49-2-2, 28KOs) as he took on a very live underdog in the form of British-Irish fighter Matthew Macklin(28-4, 19KOs) in New York City. Here's a look at the St. Patrick's Day showdown.
In the first, Martinez took his time leading with a quick straight left as Macklin took the center of the ring. Martinez landed a nice straight that was answered by a Macklin body shot. Martinez continued to leap in behind the straight while Macklin was content counterpunching. During the second Macklin looked confident as he fired his jab followed by a left hook. Martinez continued to bounce around until he landed a perfect left straight that launched Macklin into the ropes. Macklin didn't look hurt as he continued to fight. Macklin landed a solid counter on the chin as the champion grinned with a look that suggested Macklin caught him flush.
In the third round Martinez outworked Macklin with his faster hands. Macklin, looking just as game came back strong in the fourth with a slew of well timed straight rights. Martinez became more aggressive towards the end of the round after landing a hard uppercut that sent Macklin back. Macklin then answered with a hard right hand that was partially blocked to end the round.
During the fifth Macklin came on strong with well timed combos. Martinez didn't answer back as he normally does as he looked slightly puzzled by Macklin's style. At the end of the round both men began to exchange at a furious pace. Macklin landed his best punch of the fight with a lead right that was followed by another. Martinez landed a huge right hook as Macklin countered with his left. This brought the mostly pro-Macklin crowd to it's feet. Martinez outworked Macklin in the sixth and easily took the round with a strong jab and smart boxing.
In the seventh Martinez suffered his first knock down in about 2 years. However this wasn't from a power shot, it was from Macklin perfectly circling Martinez and holding his legs in place. Martinez was sent down from being off balance. Macklin, looking extremely confident decided to approach the champ and trade once again until Martinez landed a thudding left that made Macklin keep his distance. The HBO boxing crew(mostly Larry Merchant) were very critical of Martinez, saying he didn't take this fight seriously. In round eight the champion arrived.
Martinez landed a handful of beautiful combos that started with his jab. With a minute left Martinez stunned Macklin with a hard right hand but Macklin didn't stop coming. Martinez briefly corned Macklin and landed a hard left that sent his opponent's head quickly back. Martinez continued to pour it on in the ninth with a hard jab and straight lefts. Macklin began to look tired and disoriented by the end of the round.
The tenth round saw Macklin eating quick straights and body shots from the champ. Martinez continued to find his jab more as Macklin stood his ground. Martinez found his flow with combinations starting at the head and ending in the body. Macklin was beginning to show damage by the champion's assault. Martinez landed another hard straight left that had Macklin running to the other side of the ring as the bell rung indicating the end of the round. Macklin's ability to survive finally ran out in the eleventh.
Martinez cracked Macklin with a slick straight left at the start of the round. He was finding his punches landing more frequently. With twenty secconds left in the round Martinez timed a beautiful left that sent Macklin crashing into the canvas. As Macklin got to his fight Martinez landed another that sent the challenger back to where he was just seconds before. Macklin's trainer Buddy McGirt then stopped the fight and with good reason. Macklin was looking broken.
Larry Merchant posed a question during the fight asking if Macklin is good enough to expose Martinez. Well Larry, no he wasn't. But I must say, Sergio Martinez is exposed.
Exposed for being the most exciting fighter in the world.
Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS