Kiko Martinez took on Jhonatan Romero in the second fight of HBO's tripleheader, a super bantam bout which unfolded at the Revel Resort in Atlantic City, and it was the super aggressive runt, and I use that term with all due respect, who had his hand raised in round six.
Martinez, at 5-5, didn't let the 5-9-plus Romero use a height advantage, and instead ground him down, taking away his legs, then a portion of his heart and finally his senses, to the point the ref halted the scrap, at 2:40.
Romero went 126-380, to 180-525 for the victor, and new IBF champion.
In the first, we saw the Spaniard Martinez land a left hook-right hand combo which the Colombian most definitely felt. He followed up with some rocking blows to the Colombian, who was on the ropes. In the second, the 27-year-old Martinez (20-4 entering) was the aggressor, looking to stalk as Romero sought to keep things in center ring. The longer Romero (23-0 entering) didn't use that jab to keep the shorter man out of harm's way as much as his trainer would hope.
In the third, the 26-year-old titlist got some rhythm. He used his legs to decent effect, mostly going to his left, as he pumped a jab and sometimes came underneath with a right, but more often a right cross. He slipped smartly and we wondered if he could keep up the pace, with his legs, or Martinez would wear out.
Romero got hurt in the fourth, and Martinez followed. Blood flowed from Romero's left eye, and he looked to be moving more nervously. They worked on the cut after the round, and his corner told Romero to stay away from the ropes.
In the fifth, we saw Martinez, who is by the way trained by Pablo Sarmiento, who trains Sergio Martinez, again be the aggressor. Romero again got caught on the ropes, as he was unable to stay mobile long enough for Martinez to stay a step behind. The pesky pintsizer Martinez simply stayed in his face, kept throwing, kept coming, kept winning rounds on my card.
In the sixth, Romero looked to hold, as he did in previous rounds intermittently. His hands dropped as fatigue kicked in, and the ref saw enough, finally, as he ate clean blows, and his head started to wobble. “Not a moment too soon, said HBO analyst Max Kellerman.
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