by James Slater – Last night, at The Ruben Rodriguez Coliseum in Puerto Rico, 25-year-old local man Roman “Rocky” Martinez met Nicaragua’s 26-year-old Santos “El Toro” Benavides in a scheduled 12-rounder at super-featherweight. What followed was a very exciting battle that saw the Puerto Rican prevail by TKO in the 6th round..
After decking his man early in the 6th with a sweet right hand to the head, Martinez went for the finish and got it, as some rocking head shots prompted referee Roberto Ramirez Junior to dive in and save a still upright Benavides from further punishment. The official time was 2 minutes and three seconds of round number 6, and the fans saw a superb little fight.
Right from the start, both men showed they meant business. Southpaw Benavides was the aggressor, coming forward and looking to unload. “Rocky” had a nice, tight defence courtesy of his high held hands. The 1st round was a fast-paced one, and one that gave an indication of the action that was to come.
In the 2nd round the first real drama came, as a big left hand upstairs decked Martinez. Up quickly, the 25-year-old showed he was not too badly hurt. Still, he spent the next few seconds back-pedalling as Benavides came at him in an attempt to finish him. Then, after he’d been under fire, Martinez came back himself – much to the approval of the roaring crowd. The slugfest was on now! Martinez had gained the upper hand by the round’s end and his fans cheered wildly. It was still the Nicaraguan’s round, however.
In the 3rd, “Rocky” concentrated on his opponent’s body, while “El Toro” continued looking to unload a bomb. A wicked left hand to the midsection badly hurt Benavides and Martinez poured it on. More painful body shots landed for him, as did a left hook to the head, and it was all Martinez in this session.
The body work continued in the 4th, and the easy-to-hit Benavides looked like he might go a number of times. As he had done before, the 26-year-old had a habit of bending forward as he was hit, giving the impression that he might go down. He hung tough, however, and came back with some shots of his own. It was another clear round for the Puerto Rican though.
The 5th was a slow round, in which both guys seemed to be taking a break. There was a lot of movement by Martinez and he also landed a number of good left jabs on his southpaw opponent.
The end came in the 6th, as , after a big left hand to the head sent the spray flying from Martinez’ head, the local fighter came on to send his opponent to the floor. By now cut by the side of his right eye, Benavides was sent crashing by a perfectly delivered right hand to the head. Up slowly, “El Toro” was clearly hurt. Martinez wasted no time in going for the finish, but Benavides showed real heart by firing back for a time. Soon, though, he was trapped on the ropes and taking shot after shot. Martinez let loose with too many punches to count and amongst this relentless attack three right hands and a left hook to the head scored, prompting the ref to call a halt.
A superb, all-action fight that served to get the fans more than warmed up for the Calderon-Cazares main event had been witnessed. Martinez improved to 20-0-1(12). While Benavides fell to 14-2-1(12).