By Jim Dower: WBC Diamond middleweight champion Sergio Martinez (49-2-2, 28 KO’s) had a little bit harder than expected time in beating tough challenger Matthew Macklin (28-4, 19 KO’s) by an 11th round retirement on Saturday night at the Madison Square Garden, New York, New York. Indeed, it was a tough fight for the 37-year-old Martinez, because he was knocked down in the 7th and took a lot of punches in the first seven rounds before going into overdrive and dominating a fading Macklin until knocking him down twice in the 11th.
Macklin looked spent even before the knockdowns, and his trainer decided against letting come out for the 12th round.
The official time of the stoppage was 3:00. At the time the fight was halted, one judge had it scored 103-103 even, while the other two had Martinez ahead by the scores 105-101, and 105-101.
Martinez may have been able to finish things earlier in the fight had he fought with more aggression early on. Instead of taking the fight to Macklin, Martinez spent most of the first seven rounds circling and looking to land one punch at a time. This allowed Macklin to be the aggressor, a role that he’s all too familiar with and he found some success. However, Macklin did have problems with Martinez’s power on a number of occasions, as he was oftentimes knocked backwards from the force of Martinez’s left hand shots that often caught him as he was coming forward.
In the 7th, Macklin hit Martinez with a short right hand shot that caused him to trip over his leg and touch a glove to the canvas. The referee ruled it a knockdown and Macklin triumphantly raised his right hand in the air as if the fight was already over. Instead of it being over, it really had only started, because Martinez completely changed from that moment on, becoming much more aggressive and landing a lot of hard left hands. Macklin changed from the aggressor to the pursuee, and it become more of the one-sided fight that we’ve become accustomed to seeing from Martinez.
In the 11th round, Martinez tagged Macklin with a hard left hand that dropped him to the canvas. Martinez then knocked Macklin down again with another left hand after he was able to get back to his feet. The round expired after Macklin got up from the 2nd knockdown. In between rounds, Macklin’s trainer Buddy McGirt decided it was best to stop the fight rather than allow it to go on.
Edwin Rodriguez decisions Don George
In a battle of super middleweight contenders, 21-year-old Edwin Rodriguez (21-0, 14 KO’s) decisively defeated Don George (22-2-1, 19 KO’s) by a 10 round unanimous decision. The final judges’ scores 99-91, 97-93 and 96-94. A more realistic score for the fight was the 99-91 score. Although the 27-year-old George clearly had the better power and better jab, he didn’t have a high enough work rate, the punch variety or the overall boxing skills as the more talented Rodriguez. The difference in skill levels between the two fighters was fairly dramatic despite both fighters having roughly the same amount of pro fights. George doomed himself early on to defeat by failing to throw enough punches. He stuck with his low work rate and it eventually cost him the fight.
In other action on the card:
Magomed Abdusalamov TKO 4 Jason Pettway
Seanie Monaghan UD 6 Eric Watkins
Charlie Ota TKO 7 Gundrick King
Carl McNickles UD 6 Danny McDermott
Thomas Hardwick UD 4 T J Gibson
Kevin Rooney Jr TKO 1 Anthony Shuff