Sergio Martinez expected Matthew macklin to come at him, guns a blazing, ready to rumble in the main event at the Madison Square Garden Theater on Saturday but Macklin hung right there with the pound-for-pound ace by employing intelligent and measured pressure, until the 11th round, when he was knocked down twice, and bloodied badly. The Irishman, in front of a full house packed 90% with Macklin rooters, went to his corner and they didn't like what they saw, so trainer Buddy McGirt, against Macklin's desire, told the ref to pull the plug.
Martinez said after he expected Macklin to attack more, and open up in a bout shown on HBO. He also said he'd wait for those big bouts because, "I'm a young man, I'm not as old as they think."
"It was a complicated fight," Martinez explained. "He wasn't open on defense. I knew it was a 12-round fight. I knew that it was only a matter of time. It's like chopping a tree - little by little - and I knew he would fall.
"My right hand to chest, straight punch to the chest, was working for me," Macklin said after. "It was hard for him to nail me. He didn't think I could box smart.
"Buddy stopped the fight, I wanted to continue. (Macklin's co-promoter Brian Peters said, "We called it in the corner. There are more days.') I worked with Buddy on technical things. He polished me but I resorted back in the last two or three rounds. We only had 10 weeks working together (for the first time) to fight the best middleweight in the world."
Macklin said after he didn't want to use reckless pressure, and thought he was in the driver's seat.
Martinez (48-2-2 with 27 Kos; born in Argentina, living in CA) was 157 1/2 pounds, while Macklin (28-3 with 19 KOs; from Birmingham, England, living in NY, from County Tipperary) was 158 .
Don Trella, Julie Lederman and Carlos Ortiz judged while Eddie Cotton reffed.
In the first, we saw a hand and footspeed advantage for Sergio. Macklin looked tentative.
In the second, a straight left, delivered under a jab, sent Macklin stumbling back. The lefty looked in complete control. Macklin landed some rights to the body.
In the third, neithe rman made a memorable round. Macklin waited too long and Sergio moved and feinted but didn't throw much.
In the fourth, a left uppercut had Macklin stumbling. The jab kept Martinez dictating the pace and macklin scored one or two rights to the body, and a clean head shot, but not enough to win the round. Sergio had his hands down to start the round, FYI.
In the fifth, the distance closed some. They traded to end the round and the Macklin fans went berserk. A clean right snapped Sergio's head back. In the sixth, a right at the end didn't steal it for Macklin. He plodded too much, though Sergio could have been busier.
In the seventh, Macklin scored a knockdown, but it was a shove and tangled legs scenario. Sergio perked up to end the round, threw bombs and roared at macklin.
In the eighth, Sergio landed a nasty left which buckled Macklin. In the ninth, the harder, cleaner shorts were landed by Martinez, including a right hook that knocked the Irishman's mouthpiece out of his mouth. In round ten, the men traded to end the round after Martinez sent Macklin reeling. In the 11th, a one-two sent Macklin down, with 18 seconds to go. Sergio then knocked him down again at the bell, Macklin went to his corner and his team told the ref no mas.