Sergio Martinez promises one and all he'd dominate Julio Cesar Chavez jr. in the main event at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas on Saturday night, punish him, make him believe that he is the best middleweight on the planet. He didn't lie; the Argentine offered a master class in pugilism, in the art of hitting, and not getting hit in return, throughout twelve one-sided rounds. Martinez was like a merry assassin, dissecting the kid, without conscience, gleeful in his expert dismemberment…until the twelfth round, when he got caught, and nearly stopped. Down Martinez went with 1:20 left, off a right hand as he was backing out, and a few lefts.He got up, and needed to fight his way to the finish. The judges spoke, giving Martinez a 118-109, 118-109, 117-110 victory.
After, Martinez said Junior gave him more than expected. To Max Kellerman, he said he got caught with a good left hook. He said he'd give Junior a rematch. Junior after said he wanted to pull off a win like dad did against Meldrick Taylor, 22 years ago. He said he'd like a rematch. He said he hurt Sergio like no one has. “I just couldn't finish him off, it was just too late,” he said.
The 37-year-old Martinez (49-2-2 entering; from Argentina) was 159 pounds on Friday, while the 26 year-old Chavez Jr. (46-0-1; from Culiacan, Mexico, from the loins of a legend) was 158 on Friday. There were no unofficial fightnight weights.
In the first, Martinez started out popping, while he moved laterally. Junior basically looked at Sergio.
In the second, Junior had to block hooks. Martinez dropped his hands to his knees, daring Jr to throw. The kid threw to the body, and got warmed up. Sergio didn't look worried. He was a bit busier in this session. A replay showed a Jr left hook landing clean, to no effect.
In the third, Sergio moved here and there, potshotting and then sliding left and right. Blood came from the mouth of Jr. The vet was fighting well backing up, and his left uppercut landed sharply.
In the fourth, Martinez ate a few clean shots but he didn't seem bothered. He moved less here, worked off the ropes some, and traded at the end of the round, nodding at Jr as if to say, I got no problem with your “strength edge.”
In the fifth, Sergio advanced at Jr. He went low and then high, moved mostly to his right, and smacked Jr. with jabs. Sergio mocked Jr a bit for not engaging more, and took another round.
In the sixth, Sergio moved more. Chavez perked up, and then Sergio launched eight throws. “he's done,” Pablo Sarmiento told Sergio after the round.
In the seventh, Sergio advanced, again mixing up his tactics. Blood showed on Junior's nose. Senior looked very, very worried in the stands.
In the eighth, Jr plodded after Sergio. The vet circled around him, like a lion toying with a gazelle. A cut appeared on Sergio's left eye, on the lid.
In the ninth, Sergio's energy didn't lag. He moved, and wasn't bothered by the cut eye. “We're down in the fight,” Junior's corner said after. “Show me you want to win this fight,” Freddie Roach said.
In the tenth, the two clashed heads. Martinez didn't care; he punched, and then slid away. He launched power shots and gestured at the kid to end the round. Roach told the kid he needed a KO to win.
In the 11th, Junior did land a sharp right, but the vet didn't really blink hard. In the 12th, a right buzzed Sergio. A left hook dropped him, with 1:20 left. He needed to stand and fight, and he did, and he went to the cards.