Las Vegas - In an amazing turnaround almost never before seen in the annals of boxing (ok we’re being slightly dramatic), Julio Cesar Chavez Jr came within a whisker of an outrageous 12th round knockout victory against Sergio Martinez at the Thomas and Mack centre in Las Vegas tonight.
Chavez, now with his first professional loss, was totally humbled and embarrassed for 11 and a half rounds by Martinez, who danced around with his hands down peppering Chavez with quick jabs and lightning counters, leaving the son of a Mexican legend bleeding, swollen, befuddled and without answers to the onslaught. Seriously, it was embarrassing - the FightBeat lounge was cringing at his performance……..for 11 and a half rounds at least.
And for those 11.5 rounds, Martinez completely pimped Chavez out like a cheap Mexican prostitute, hitting him at will, busting up his face and receiving little in return.
This was the key point - Chavez threw hardly any punches at all during the bout, and when he rarely did he was occasionally able to tag Martinez, who himself is not especially hard to hit. Chavez would often get in range then sit there with his earmuffs firmly glued to his face, getting hit from pillar to post by the showboating, slick Martinez. It was frustrating to watch.
Martinez fought well, continually disrupting the rhythm of Chavez, jabbing and countering beautifully to completely throw off Chavez’s gameplan - however, even when Chavez did round Martinez against the ropes, his workrate was pedestrian at best, coma-like at worst.
"Throw punches you idiot" was the cry from the FightBeat executive penthouse lounge for 11.5 rounds as the expert panel willed Chavez to actually do something, do ANYTHING!
And then….finally…..in the 12th round…..he DID!
He threw an actual punch combination, rocking Martinez with a right hand initially then finishing up with a powerful flurry to knock the attractive metrosexual Martinez to the canvas. The crowd exploded, hardly believing what they had just seen.
Chavez was on the cusp of a magnificent, unbelievable, utterly historic victory. And he was ready - oh yes baby, he pounced on Martinez like a tiger in the night (a small female tiger, but a tiger nonetheless), smashing him with everything he had as Martinez again wilted and took another trip to the canvas (with a bit of help from Chavez).
This was it! The kid, embarrassed and destroyed until now, had come good and was finally throwing punches, smashing Martinez like a guitar! Here it was, the WBC belt within sniffing distance - and with only a couple more big shots, it was going to be a done deal…..apparently.
Martinez was having none of that. While this amazing turnaround was underway, the Argentinian refused to cry; rather he was digging back hard, trying to punch his way out of the venomous onslaught while probably wondering when his pizza was arriving and why he was wearing a cocktail dress. Yeah, he was present, but he was well and truly out of it.
But more importantly, those 3 or 4 actual punches than Chavez had thrown one after the other had completely drained the paltry, meagre reserves of stamina Chavez had left - and he didn’t start with much it seems.
Instead of a final, brutal, conclusive “tiger pounce” with all guns blazing, Chavez could only manage a “jellyfish wheeze”, allowing the bleeding and dazed Martinez to recover and see out the round, and the fight. Victory was now assured for the Argentinian.
FightBeat scored the fight 118-110 for Martinez, concurring with 2 of 3 judges - a conclusive, clinic-like victory for the Argentinian.
Except for that dramatic minute or so in the final round of course.
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