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Cintron vs. Martinez: Kermit Faces Big Test on Saturday

Kermit Cintron Sergio MartinezBy Jim Dower: Former welterweight champion Kermit Cintron (30-2, 27 KOs) take a big step up against interim WBC light middleweight champion Sergio Martinez (44-1-1, 24 KOs) at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida. In typical fashion, Cintron, 29, doesn’t believe in taking things slowly against lesser competition to build up to a top fighter in the light middleweight division, and is going after the 33-year-old Martinez, who may be the best light middleweight in the division at this time.

It’s a calculated risk for Cintron, just as it was for him to take on Antonio Margarito for a second time in 2008. Cintron lost that fight in a sixth round knockout loss, but it showed the kind of person he is, one who lives and dies by risk taking. Cintron doesn’t believe in taking the easy way out, which is almost completely alien to the typical boxing star in the division.

If only more fighters were like him instead of the play it safe types, who retire when they’re finally forced to fight some credible opponents for the first time in their career.

Cintron would probably still be the IBF welterweight champion had he chosen bypass a second fight with Margarito and opted to fight someone else instead. Cintron is still among the best fighters in the welterweight division, but like excellent risk taking fighters like Paul Williams, he’s not content to fight the easy fights in his own division and is seeking out the best there is in other parts of the boxing world.

In choosing the Spaniard Martinez, Cintron will be facing a fighter who is a skilled mover and one that is difficult to nail down to land a power shot against. Martinez recently made an example out of the last opponent he fought, the hard hitting Alex Bunema, whom he stopped in the 8th round in October.

Martinez used his hand speed, and a lot of quick punches to pile up the points and win round after round. Taunting him often, Martinez eventually wore Bunema down with his slapping shots until finally the fight was stopped in the 8th round.

It wasn’t the power that did it for Martinez, because he has very little, but rather this fast hand speed and masterful defensive skills. Cintron is probably along the same lines as Bunema in terms of power, and maybe a little quicker. This means that unless Cintron can time Martinez, and use a lot of pressure, he may come up short like Bunema did.

Martinez has only been stopped once in his career against a young Antonio Margarito in a 7th round stoppage in 2000. Martinez gave Margarito huge problems until wearing down under his continuous pressure and getting taken out. Martinez has improved much since that time and is a whole different fighter, more focused on his defensive work and later movement than he was back then.

This is going to make it hard for Cintron, who’s only chance to win is to apply the same kind of pressure that Margarito did and hope that he can wear Martinez down enough to take him out. It’s asking a lot of Cintron, but then again he’s not afraid to take chances. It’s too bad there’s so few fighters out there like him.


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