Anderson bests Martin, but chin looks vulnerable

By Rob Smith - 07/02/2023 - Comments

Heavyweight Jared Anderson (15-0,  14 KOs) came out on top, beating grizzled veteran Charles Martin (29-4-1, 26 KOs) by a ten round unanimous decision, but he was over & over by the former IBF champion on Saturday night at the Huntington Center in Toledo.

The judges gave it to Anderson with the scores 98-91, 99-90, and 99-90. Anderson tripped Martin in the third, and the referee gave him credit for a knockout. Fortunately, that blown call didn’t change the outcome of the fight.

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The southpaw Martin took advantage of Anderson pulling back to clip him with left hands, and we saw the 23-year-old get wobbled repeatedly. In the fifth and tenth, Anderson’s legs looked gone after Martin nailed him with a left straight down the pipe, rocking him.

It was lucky for Anderson that Martin fought timidly through most of the fight, choosing to circle constantly and not showing much bravery. When Martin did stand his ground, he had surprisingly good success, especially when he was chasing Anderson, who would predictably pull straight back in a line.

Can Jared Anderson fix his chin?

“The main thing that Jared has to work on is his defense,” said Andre Ward to the State of Boxing following Jared Anderson’s win over Charles Martin.

It’s questionable whether Anderson can fix his defense because his style is one that he’s been using since his amateur days. Moreover, with Anderson saying he only wants to fight four more years before retiring, he doesn’t have a lot of time to fix his leaky defense.

“If anything happens and he gets caught or loses, it’s not because he doesn’t have heart or he didn’t train. It’s because he has to tighten up holes in his defense because there is a size disparity in his favor, but these guys are big. You can get hit with a shot, and it’s over.

A better heavyweight than Martin, such as Arslanbek Makhmudov, would have capitalized on Anderson’s flaw of pulling back to punch his lights out.

The way Anderson performed tonight, he’d be lucky to make it beyond the second round against Makhmudov (17-0, 16 KOs). If you’re Top Rank, that’s the guy they should be pinning their hopes on there than Anderson.

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“So, he’s got to tighten that up. If he can tighten that up, he’s going to be very, very hard to beat,” said Ward about Jared.

“This fight was much-needed for his career,” said Tim Bradley about Anderson. “You don’t get better in boxing by knocking out everybody. You get better by going rounds, and that’s what we saw tonight.

“I saw the young man mature inside the ring. He made adjustments along the way. He got tested. His heart got tested. His chin got tested. This is a good thing for Jared. I think moving forward, he’s going to get better from this performance tonight against a tough, hungry fighter.

“Kudos for Top Rank for making this fight for Jared. Kudos for Jared actually signing up for this fight because this was a dangerous opponent.

“He [Charles Martin] could punch hard, and he punched hard all the way until the end.”

“The irony is this was the first round that he lost, the fifth, and first time that he let a fight go the distance and not get a stoppage,” said Mark Kriegel. “I think this was easily his most valuable fight.

Bigger heavyweights could be a problem

“When he looks back on his career, he will see this was a quantum leap forward. 6’7” is now the standard at the top tier of the heavyweight division.

“He’s going to have to find a way with those guys, and it’s going to start with NOT pulling straight back,” said Kriegel about the pull-back move that Jared Anderson relieves on heavily to avoid getting hit.

“We call that leaky defense,” said Andre Ward. “The way he corrects that is by being in the gym and drilling that. Every time he pulls back, he needs to be called out on it. You need to see adjustments being made in sparring, when you’re hitting the mitts, hitting the back. You got to demand a high level of defense.

“As a coach, you want to tell him, ‘I don’t ever want to see you lackadaisical. This could injure a dream. One punch can end everything, and you got to keep that at the forefront of his mind.

“As he has respect for his defense and he tightens up, his offense all that other is going to come as a matter of course. He’s close to being in that position to make that run, but he’s got to tighten that up,” said Ward about the flaws that Jared Anderson showed against Charles Martin.

“He has so much skill. Oh my God. From so many angles, so much versatility,” said Tim Bradley, raving about Anderson. “He’s like the heavyweight Terence Crawford. He can switch hit. He don’t fight like Crawford.

“He can switch hit, fight with either hand, be successful, and he can outthink his opponents. That’s what you were seeing at the beginning. He was outthinking, a fast chess player,” said Bradley.

“This is another beautiful thing about what needs to be improved on,” said Ward. “All the hard stuff, the intangibles, he’s got that. Toughness, ready to hit back if you hit him, aggression. The easiest thing he can work on is just tightening up your defense.

“That’s the low-hanging fruit. It’s not something that’s polarizing like, ”Wow, great this, great that, but I don’t know if he has the heart. You can’t really fix that, but whatever we see that needs to be fixed, it’s fixable,” said Ward about Anderson, who was staggered several times by Martin, which suggests his chin is in need of fixing.