Middleweight champion and The Ring’s no.4 pound-for-pound man, Sergio Martinez, took a hard fought unanimous points victory (115-112 on all three cards) over Britain’s undefeated middleweight Martin Murray.
Martinez came out with his hands low and kept them there for the majority of the fight while Murray kept a tight high guard throughout. Murray’s high guard invited Martinez to go to the body, which his did with a little success in the early rounds. Over the first few rounds Murray kept his defense tight but rarely troubled the much busier Argentine who bagged the early rounds.
As Murray settled in he became more aggressive leading him to begin to see some success to both body and head, straight rights causing the most eye-catching shots. The middle rounds seemed to be turning the way of Murray and in the 8th he landed another straight right which put Martinez down although he didn’t look in much trouble. Martinez got up and kept out of trouble for the rest of the 8th to come back looking busy in the 9th, Murray seemingly letting him off the hook.
The 10th saw a moment of controversy when it appeared as though Murray’s glancing blow had caught Sergio off balance, sending him to the deck once again only for the ref to call no knockdown citing a slip. Had the ref correctly scored the knockdown for Murray he may have salvaged something from the fight. Again Martinez was up quickly and came out to take the last two rounds and retain his title.
Many pundits and fans thought Murray should have won but I have to say I scored the fight the same as all three judges. Murray fought fantastic, proving himself world class and will go on to more big fights. The harder, more damaging and eye-catching shots were all landed by Murray for which he was awarded these rounds.
But what about the rounds Murray didn’t engage in? In rounds 1,2 and 3 Martinez was much the busier in what were very close, cagey rounds. In that situation, in the other fighter’s backyard, Murray and his corner cannot believe they took these rounds. The same is true of the 11th and 12th rounds in which Sergio just landed more and controlled the rounds.
Murray looked the bigger, stronger man and had he pushed a little harder early on, he may have found Sergio tire a bit more down the stretch. That being said, Murray fought very well and a close points decision loss in which he should have been awarded another knockdown shows what a class fighter Murray is. He should be extremely proud of his efforts and I imagine there are not too many middleweights out there that will fancy risking their belts or records in a scrap with the St Helens man.