I'm not sure what Juan Carlos Martinez made for fighting Juan Carlos Burgos in the main event of ESPN's Friday Night Fights from the Laredo Entertainment Center in Laredo, Texas, but the man deserved double.
Burgos (125 1/4; age 22; from Tijuana, Mexico) came in 23-0, while Martinez (age 28; from Mexico) was 15-10-1. Martinez struggled mightily to make weight, and was a hefty 150 on Jan. 8, 129 1/4 Thursday and 129 after a post weigh in sweatout session. He was wearing a plastic suit, running and spitting so he could honor his commitment to battle Burgos, who is ranked number one by the WBC at 126 pounds. He did more than honor it, he exceeded it, bigtime.
Let's get it out of the way, Martinez lost the bout, as he was stopped (TKO) in the twelfth. And he lost probably every round on my card, but every round was close, and he made Burgos work every second of the duration. Burgos had promised to close the show before the tenth, but he lied. He sent Martinez down in the 12th, though, so let's not hold it against him, and he then crowded and unloaded a stiiiiiff right on Martinez for the TKO victory. Referee Jon Schorle did the right thing as he prevented Burgos from taking potshots at a lessened Martinez, and the curtain dropped at 1:07 of the 12th.
Joe Tessitore sat ringside and called the action with Teddy Atlas. Atlas went off on judge Tony Garcia, who saw the bout 95-95. “That's incredible,” Atlas said. “Before you let him judge another fight, someone should talk to him.” And that someone shouldn't be Gale Van Hoy, eh? The other guys had it 110-90, and 98-92, for the record. Me, I can see how someone gave Burgos too much credit, because he did so much more than anyone had any right to expect.
In the first, the loser of five of his last seven came out peppy. Burgos has long limbs. He used them to cover up when Martinez came in winging. He has a quick, lancing jab, and mixes head and body well. His left hooks is the one to watch for a foe, and Martinez did a good job making it miss in the first. He's a little herky jerky, but no joker.
In the second, Burgos didn't dictate terms as much as you'd like. The aggressive Martinez wasn't totally drained from his weight loss ordeal, and frankly, earned his check just dropping those pounds and giving his all for two rounds.
In the third, we saw Martinez move his head to avoid contact, and move his feet when he saw Burgos loading up. This fight was no mismatch, people.
In the fourth, Burgos stepped it up. He needed to, because Martinez' energy just wasn't lagging like you thought it would.
In the fifth and sixth, we saw a few more clinches. This boded well for Burgos. But if you though Martinez was close to caving, no way. He tripled up jabs at times, and looked to land a straight right hand to the button.
Burgos' promised before-the-tenth KO didn't happen, and so he bore down some in the ninth. But Martinez is such a gamer. He wasn't cooperative at all, and he made it through the tenth. The 11th too. But down Martinez went in the 12th; a left hook started it, and six shots piled up. He was up with 2:00 to go, but not for long. A right cross landed and the ref stepped in before Burgos dropped the cleaver.
Brian Kenny worked the studio with cruiserweight contender BJ Flores. Kenny talked about some of the boxing news of the week. He said a Mayweather PPV the same night as Pacquiao-Clottey would be a dopey move on Floyd's part. The hardest workin' keyboard tapper in the biz, Dan Rafael, chatted with Kenny on Skype. Rafael thinks that Floyd won't glove up March 13. He thinks Mayweather fighting the Mosley-Berto winner is a good idea, especially if Mosley wins.
Flores laid blame on Pacquiao for the big one blowing up, for not caving in to Mayweather's unprecedented demands in the realm of testing for doping. Atlas was asked to weigh in. He likened the subject to beating a dead horse, and then laid blame equally on each fighter. He leaned towards blaming Manny mostly, though, ultimately, wondering why Pacquiao wouldn't give blood for $40 mill, as any man in the street would. Did Atlas back off his statements from last week, when he talked about the email from the unnamed Pacman camp member asking what if Manny tested dirty? Nope.
Kenny said he changed his tune, and backs Mayweather, and his stringent demand for testing above and beyond what anyone in boxing has had to adhere to. Atlas said he'd like Mayweather to fight the Mosley-Berto winner, and dropped a surprise endorsement on Tim Bradley, who he called one of the top three boxers in the world. Chew on that, will you all? Who agrees with that? Weigh in, crew..
Kenny mentioned the Jan. 30 Berto-Mosley scrap. Berto repped Haiti in the 2000 Games. Berto has said he lost “several” family members in the quake, but his sister and her daughter are OK, thankfully. Go to AndreBerto.com to help out, TSSers.
Atlas sent out some love to the people there, and Americans with relatives and friends in Haiti.
Kenny touched on items out of Dan Rafael's notebook. Wait..Jones and Hopkins are fighting? On April 17? This seems like a good idea to who? Man, I rarely slam matches, but this one don't work for me. Am I wrong, readers? Pipe up if I am, I respect democracy…Kenny said he wasn't amped at all, either. Like to see Hopkins-Adamek, Hopkins-Haye, Hopkins-Dawson instead…Who's psyched for Urango-Alexander on March 6? And who here thinks it might not be a good idea for Ricky Hatton to come back against the rugged Urango, as is rumored?
In the TV opener, Demetrius Andrade went to 9-0, with 7 KOs with a rubout over Bernardo Guereca (15-10). Atlas told viewers the fight didn't figure to be too competitive, and he was right. The junior middleweight Andrade sent Guereca down midway through the first, off what wasn't clear at first. He didn't struggle mightily to get up before the count of ten, shall we say. Atlas frowned, and basically dismissed it as a waste of time for the Rhode Islander. “I'm not saying put him in real tough, I'm not saying put him in with Godzilla,” said Atlas, who fears regression. The replay showed a clipping right, delivered swiftly from a smart angle.
Yaundale “Money Shot” Evans (5-0, from Cleveland) took on Gino Escamilla (5-7-1, on a five fight losing streak) in a junior lightweight tussle. The lefty Evans was taking on a guy who's been fighting bantamweight recently. A right hand was ruled a knockdown at 1:50 of the first, adding an extra point for Evans. He sent him down in the second, but got up for more punishment. He did well to last the distance. Evans got the UD nod.
SPEEDBAG Yuri Foreman was geared up to tangle with Manny Pacquiao, but Freddie Roach scotched that idea, citing Foreman's height advantage. I tend to think his mobility is more of a concern than his height, but regardless, Team Foreman is focusing on a pretty darned solid Plan B–a battle with Miguel Cotto on June 12 at Madison Square Garden, the day before the Puerto Rican Day Parade.
“We look foward to discussing the fight with Cotto more seriously after the Juan Manuel Lopez fight on Jan. 23rd,” said Team Foreman spokesman Dovid Efune. “It would be a spectacular fight, especially taking place in New York, the Jewish capital of the diaspora. In the meantime our hearts go out to MIguel and his family for what they are going through, and we wish them the sincerest condolences.
“It is almost unprecedented to take such a tough challenge for the first defense of the WBA 154 pound title, but Yuri loves a challenge, and wants to fight the best.”