Martinez Bloodies Pavlik to take Middleweight Crown

By Madra Uladh: Sergio Martinez surprised many this evening by executing a near perfect game plan and thoroughly out-boxing the bigger, stronger Kelly Pavlik.

From the opening bell, it appeared that Kelly’s management might have miscalculated in their choice of opponent, much as they had with the Hopkins debacle. At the end of four rounds, it was clear that the crowd favourite could not deal with the Argentinean’s speed and movement.

In the middle rounds, it looked like Kelly might turn things around as he did better than earlier. He was able to block more of Martinez’s punches and make more effective use of his jab. I gave him three of those middle four rounds, though narrowly. He did score a knockdown, though it was more of a balance issue than the result of power. (Those three were the only rounds I scored in Kelly’s favour.)

Then in the ninth, as though he had been taking a rest, Martinez came out dominantly again, adding a second cut to one he’d inflicted earlier. From that point on, he was in complete control of the bout, and the only question was whether or not Pavlik would be stopped by the bleeding.

This performance raises deep and serious questions for the man from Youngstown. He failed against a much smaller man who was not known for his power. He had a rematch clause, but it might be wiser for him to take his game up to 168. The eleven lb ‘advantage’ he held in the ring tonight might actually have been a liability.

As for Martinez, this victory puts him at the top of one of boxing’s most glamorous divisions, and he still holds the junior middleweight title as well. His options are attractive in either weight class, and he must surely now be considered a top ten pound for pound contender.

After one questionable decision and one outright robbery in the US, he can now finally reap the rewards of his efforts and skills.

Not bad for a man who started boxing at twenty!

Article posted on 18.04.2010

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