Wayne McCullough Vs. Kiko Martinez - Will "La Sensación" Become The First Man To KO "The Pocket Rocket?"

19.11.07 - By James Slater: Kiko Martinez, the unbeaten super-bantamweight puncher from Spain, was last seen utterly destroying the previously undefeated Irishman Bernard Dunne in less than ninety seconds of the very first round. Now, just over three months later, the 21-year-old Martinez is getting ready to step into the ring with another fighting Irishman - this one a modern day legend.. Former world bantamweight boxing king Wayne "The Pocket Rocket" McCullough, a boxer whose chin Ring magazine once listed as the best in the sport, is that man, and on December 1st he will test that rock solid chin against the big punching Spaniard.

The bout, a ten round affair at 122 pounds, will take place at The King's Hall, Belfast, and will be McCullough's first fight for almost two-and-a-half years. Should he lose, Wayne promises he will retire once and for all. While for his part, the much younger Martinez has vowed to become the very first fighter to knock McCullough out. The question is, can "The Pocket Rocket's" famed beard stand up to the unbeaten banger's vaunted punch power?

In the past McCullough's granite chin has been capable of standing up to anything and everything huge punchers such as Naseem Hamed, Erik Morales, the much bigger Scott Harrison and Oscar Larios were able to land on him. In the Morales fight, even a busted eardrum failed to halt the teak-tough Irishman who now lives in Las Vegas. But now, at age 37, and after such a long time out of action, can Wayne's most dependable asset help propel him to an impressive comeback victory?

Though it's doubtful McCullough will have lost his toughness, his timing and overall skill level may well let him down come December 1st. Not having boxed since his rematch with Larios - a fight that marked the only time in his long career that Wayne was ever stopped, by the ruling of ringside Doctor Margaret Goodman - the 37-year-old will likely suffer from the debilitating effects of carrying ring-rust into combat with him when he hooks up with Martinez. Let's face it, if this were the peak Wayne McCullough preparing for battle with the still world class unproven Martinez, as opposed to the current veteran version, he would be a firm betting favourite. Now, however, this is a risky fight for McCullough to take. For Martinez's power, if not his overall ability at world level, has definitely been proven.
His powerful fists certainly shocked Dunne, but this performance alone is his only truly noteworthy one. In his previous six fights before going into the European title bout with Dunne, Martinez had only boxed two opponents that actually had winning records. Indeed, of his 17 wins, only 7 have come against men with winning records. Martinez may have arrived with his stunning KO of Dunne, but that victory aside there is nothing that should perhaps cause McCullough too much concern. Of course, there is a chance Martinez could pull off something similar when he gets in there with the 27-6(18) veteran. But I wouldn't bet on it.

Unless he has regressed far more severely than anyone could possibly expect, there is a real chance of a win for McCullough in this fight. At the very least, unless he has somehow deteriorated into a shot fighter in the months since his loss to Larios, you can expect "The Pocket Rocket" to take Martinez the distance. Hell, Frenchman John Bikai, then sporting a poor record of 6-15, managed to go the full 12 with Kiko back in July of last year. As December 1st's clash is scheduled for only 10 rounds it is more than likely McCullough will match Bikai's showing of lasting until the final bell.

A hard puncher Martinez may be, but if Wayne McCullough still has roughly half the fighting prowess he had back in his original 2005 fight with Oscar Larios, the Spaniard faces a long, maybe unsuccessful, evening.

Take the odds and bet on McCullough. "The Pocket Rocket" by UD.

Article posted on 20.11.2007

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