U.K. Middleweight Martin Murray (25-1-1/11 KOs) lost to Argentinean Sergio Gabriel “Maravilla” Martinez (51-2-2/28 KOs) by way of unembellished robbery on Saturday night in Buenos Aires, Argentina for the WBC Middleweight strap in front of a capacity crowd of an estimated 40,000 spectators. Exhilaration overtook the frenzied multitude at hand, as fans literally engulfed Martinez in a sea of humanity that became an all consuming mass as “Maravilla” made his glorified entrance into the ring. The roar of the audience all but silenced a member of the Argentinean Champion’s entourage who was attempting to sing into a microphone that was dulled amid the commotion of the evening. Since coming off of his decision victory over a disinterested and under trained at the time Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. (46-1-1/32 KOs) back on September 15, 2012, in a fight where Martinez was floored twice in the 12th round, Martinez has suffered a knee tear and a hairline fracture in his left hand. Appearing to be well healed but a step slower than he usually is during fights; Sergio Martinez looked fair at best against a boxer in Martin Murray who threw the more accurate, damaging punches all night long against the Champion, yet one who received little or no credit for his efforts.
Against a lackadaisical and spoiled namesake in Chavez Jr. last year at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, Martinez fought his swansong of a fight as he took the younger Mexican fighter, who is nothing like his father, to task and put on an entertaining boxing clinic, that is until he ate a thunderous shot in the 12th round and almost lost the bank that he had invested in for the prior 11 rounds of the bout. The second knockdown of that fight was ruled a slip by referee Tony Weeks, and lo and behold in Martinez’s recent outing against Murray the exact same thing happened when the U.K. fighter skidded a punch off the side of Sergio’s head as he was backing up and dropped him once more, although it was conveniently ruled a slip by Italian referee Massimo Barrovecchio. With all of the slips that Martinez seems to have when boxing you would think he would look into getting a new pair of boxing shoes with better gum rubber on the bottom of them, seeing as they become so slick upon contact with the ring apron.
To “Maravilla’s” credit he doesn’t actually moderate his own fights obviously or judge them for that matter, so as a participant he cannot control that aspect of what goes on surrounding his victories, seeing as this factor remains completely out of his hands in retrospect. At least theoretically it is. However, Martinez is in control of the punch output that he throws against opponents, meaning clear-cut, precise, accurate punches. The ability to deliver blows that actually connect when he throws them. Providing far more substance and less showboating. Showboating is tolerable when something is actually happening in a bout. Punching Martin Murray’s gloves for 4 to 6 rounds while you make faces and nod as if you did something is far from it. While Martin’s style may have left something to be desired with his flatfooted European technique, he did hurt Martinez frequently with harder shots and managed to put the Champion down twice.
Judges Nicolas Hidalgo, Alejandro Rochin, and Rey Danseco all saw the contest between Martinez and Murray the same as 115-112 for “Maravilla”. Seeing as the 12 round UD victory wasn’t billed as a complete shutout some may ask what the problem is. The problem is that once again a strong case can be made for that notoriously rotten meal that boxing and its fans tend to get served called “hometown cooking”. Educated aficionados of the sport saw this coming a mile away, especially seeing as Martinez hasn’t fought in his native Argentina since 2002. In lining up a potential rematch with Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. possibly slated for September 14th, Sergio Martinez has tricked the boxing public by letting them think that his recent skin-of-his-teeth gift victory over Martin Murray was anything but what it was, rotten to the core.
It’s really hard to appreciate a boxer whose very arrogance supersedes his true abilities in the ring. Granted, Martinez has fast hands and an innate athleticism that comes from his prior years as a skilled cyclist and veteran boxer. This is exceedingly impressive for a fighter, who at 38, more than likely doesn’t have that many fights left in him regardless of how he’s being pitched to the public by the powers that be. Even with his elevated fight tempo and dramatic and at times unorthodox approach in the squared circle, Martinez negates his flashes of brilliance by being cocky and overconfident at times when he clearly not only isn’t winning fights but isn’t doing much of anything else to be proud of either. All the smirky faces made by “Maravilla” and ridiculous posturing in the world couldn’t have added up to a decisive victory over Martin Murray in Argentina if his life depended on it, and the mere fact that Martinez raised his hands in victory after the fight only drove the deception home that much further.
With the rain pouring down and the odds stacked so highly against him that he couldn’t have won against Martinez if he had knocked him down a third or even fourth time, Murray betrayed himself in thinking after the bout was over that the better man won the fight. The favorite won the bout, not the better fighter. That’s what happens during a mugging, you get taken for what is rightfully yours, robbed of what you’ve earned.