NEW YORK – WBO junior lightweight beltholder Roman “Rocky” Martinez entered Saturday night’s clash with Mexico’s Juan Carlos Burgos in The Theatre at Madison Square Garden as Puerto Rico’s only major titleholder.
After battling to a 12-round split-draw with Burgos, he still is.
Weleska Roldan scored it 117-111 for Burgos, Tony Paollilo had it 116-112 for Martinez, and John Signorelli scored it 114-114. RingTV.com scored it 115-113 for Burgos (30-1-1, 20 knockouts), whose winning streak of five straight bouts was ended.
Martinez slipped to 26-1-2, ending his two-fight winning streak.
Burgos outboxed Martinez in the early rounds with lateral movement and well-timed uppercuts, but the titleholder surged during the middle rounds when he appeared to impose his will on the Mexican challenger. However, Burgos caught a second wind down the stretch of the fight, advancing on Martinez and punishing the game Puerto Rican slugger’s body. (According to CompuBox stats 118 of the 234 power punches Burgos landed were to the body.)
Still, Martinez (26-1-2, 16 KOs) believed he did enough work as the aggressor over the first half of the bout to earn a decision. He said he would be willing to face Burgos again.
“Burgos is a big, strong difficult guy to fight; the last three rounds were very difficult,” Martinez said after the bout. “But I thought I won at least eight rounds. I know he thought he won and they will ask for a rematch. No problem.”
Marttinez last suffered defeat by unanimous decision against Ricky Burns in September of 2010. He was coming off a split-decision over Miguel Beltran Jr. last September.
Since falling by unanimous decision to Japan’s Hozumi Hasegawa in a failed bid to earn the WBC’s vacant featherweight belt in November of 2010, Burgos’ winning streak included sandwiching a win over ex-beltholder Cristobal Cruz around triumphs over previously unbeaten fighters Luis Cruz and Cesar Vazquez.
“It was a real tough fight,” said Burgos. “Martinez is a tough guy and he came in the whole time but I thought I won the fight.”
Martinez-Burgos took place on Orlando Salido-Mikey Garcia undercard and was the opening bout of HBO’s Boxing After Dark broadcast.
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com