NOT SO MARVELLOUS
What an event from Argentina with Sergio Martinez-Martin Murray was, but as a trainer friend of mine observed in Canastota in June of 2010, once Martinez slows down he’s done (we were observing him during an IBHOF Induction Weekend ringside workout).
He was eminently ripe for the taking Saturday night and his performance was a far cry from the elite, P4P echelon level. Maybe his body’s breaking down at 38, he hasn’t recovered from his injuries, the sheeting rain ringside limited his mobility, big stage jitters got to him a bit or a combination of it all. His defense has always been so reliant on his footwork.
I’m sure Gennady Golovkin would make short work of that version of Maravilla w/ a perhaps career-ending beatdown. Martinez is my favorite currently-active fighter, so I was glad to see him eke it out, especially given that it was such a high profile homecoming – what a gentleman and nice guy – but if he’s truly reached the end of the line I hope he’ll listen to those closest to him and call it a career. He doesn’t owe his countrymen a high level, peak performance swan song if he doesn’t have it in him.
I favor Money May handily this Saturday but I’m sure the fearless Ghost will give it all he’s got.
Gearing up for my 10th straight IBHOF Induction Weekend and I’m just as excited as if it were my first. When you gonna make the trek? We hardcores all gotta make “the Pilgrimage” at least once. – Dirk, Raleigh, N.C.
You’re right, Dirk. I won’t be there this year, but I hope to make the trek soon, maybe next year.
I also think Floyd Mayweather will turn back Robert Guerrero’s challenge this Saturday (as most fans and media do. Mayweather is, after all, a 10-to-1 odds favorite). But I’m expecting Guerrero to bring out the best in Mayweather, and thus, make for a either a good fight or the kind of “elite” performance that hardcore fans can’t help but point out that Martinez failed to deliver vs. Murray.
I thought the middleweight champ got the job done against a big, strong, competent and game challenger who simply didn’t do enough to take the crown. But the Brit came close. Hopefully, he starts faster and closes a lot stronger when he gets his third shot at a 160-pound title (which he deserves).
I agree that “Father Time” has reared his unforgiving head in the career of “Maravilla” and that the Argentine star was ripe for the taking this past Saturday. Never mind what GGG would have done to that version of Martinez (I thought Golovkin had the style and strength to overwhelm a 100-percent healthy version of Maravilla), I think Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Matthew Macklin would have either stopped him late or edged out a close decision against the aging veteran who clearly struggled against Murray.
By the way, if Martinez is out for the rest of this year in order to heal up his various injuries (hand, knee), I would love to see Murray get a crack at the Golovkin-Macklin winner or Peter Quillin sometime in late fall or winter.
In 2014, I think the biggest fights to be made in the middleweight division are between Martinez and Chavez, Saul Alvarez (probably at a 156-pound catchweight) and the Golovkin-Macklin winner. Given his performance against Murray, I would not be surprised if Martinez was considered the underdog in each one of those fights, but I’ll never count the classy champion out.
TOUGH NIGHT AT THE OFFICE
Tough night at the office for both Martinez and Danny Garcia.
Let’s start with Garcia. I certainly haven’t seen this version of Zab Judah in ages. He really was in it to win it.
The difference was that Garcia had the harder punch and the stronger chin. But man, this was his toughest battle yet! But he still won it! And nothing’s stopping me from giving him his due.
And I don’t give a s__t what anyone else says. Garcia’s no paper champ whatsoever! He won that title fair and square by pounding out then top-rated Amir Khan. He then retired a come-backing Erik Morales once and for all and now comprehensively defeated a top-five guy who would have in all fairness defeated nearly any other junior welter on Saturday night. Doesn’t sound like cherry-picking to me!
Yeah, I know what the problem that fans have with Danny. He’s an Al Haymon fighter who shares the same genes with an obnoxious gasbag named Angel Garcia. My view? So what! Not I have any real problem with Garcia Sr. either.
And here’s a fact. Garcia did no worse against Judah then Lucas Matthysse did. And unlike Garcia, Matthysse still has to officially beat a top-five guy. I’m not applying that Garcia will beat Matthysse. But I don’t think that Garcia will be easy pickings for him either. Call me stupid but that’s the way I see it!
Moving onto Maravilla it’s really friggin’ clear that this proud champ’s showing his age. Unlike other oldies like Bernard Hopkins and the Klitchkos, Martinez was no energy-preserving warrior whatsoever. He’s been in some really hellacious battles. Particularly against P-Williams (first fight), Kelly Pavlik and J.C. Chavez.
After watching Martin Murray gave him fits like that I couldn’t help but wonder what would have happened if that was Danny Geale in there. Or scarier yet, Gennady Golovkin.
Another serious threat would be Peter Quillin. The guy who scored six knockdowns in two fights and still counting! Next to GGG, this guy’s probably the most explosive puncher in the middleweight ranks. And the most fun to watch! Anyways hope to hear back from ya! – Dave
Correction: Quillin scored 10 knockdowns in his last two fights (six vs. Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam; four vs. Fernando Guerrero). And yes, he is, arguably, the most fun to watch among current middleweight titleholders.
As for Martinez’s struggle with Murray, I know everyone is obsessed with analyzing and ranking fighters after each and every performance but I didn’t feel the need to do so Saturday night and I don’t care to do it now (after having watched a couple of replays).
It is what it is. Martinez was an undersized middleweight (by modern standards) to begin with; and now he’s getting long in the tooth. I see it as a good thing for the 160-pound division and for boxing.
Why? Because last year and in 2011, most fans viewed the middleweight division like this: there was Mr. Martinez, the pound-for-pound entrant and undisputed middleweight king, and the rest of the chumps at 160. But in the last two years, Martinez has looked human while the young guns of the division (Geale, Golovkin and Quillin) have grabbed major belts and proven themselves to a degree and gained some exposure with internationally televised fights.
Martinez is still the linear champ, but he’s no longer “the man.” And that’s great. It means there are a dozen even-money matchups to be made among the premiere middleweights and on any given night any of the top-five or six can win. Martinez is another middleweight player – along with familiar foes Darren Barker, Macklin, Murray, Chavez – and the formidable beltholders: GGG, Geale and Quillin.
There are some damn good fights to be made at 160. And nobody will be strongly favored over the other.
I agree that Garcia is worthy of being “the” champ of the 140-pound division. The young man has paid his dues and I believe him to be officially “battle tested” after his close call with Judah on Saturday.
My hunch is that Matthysse is the best junior welterweight out there, but he’ll have to beat Lamont Peterson (no easy task), in order to prove that.
I think there’s a good chance Garcia defends his belts against the winner of Peterson-Matthysse later this year – in a showdown I’ll have to be ringside for – before moving up to 147 pounds sometime in 2014.
I will not count the young man out in that fight. Props to you, Dave, for not falling into the same-ole hardcore head mindset of hating any fighter who is managed by Haymon and promoted by Golden Boy Promotions.
KHAN & JUNIOR WELTERWEIGHTS
I think Khan could beat anyone in the division other then the top two guys, Garcia and Matthysse, and I think he will be chucked in against one of them in December. And based on Saturday I can only see him getting KO’d. Going by Saturday, he looks even more vulnerable than ever.
I just hope he doesn’t stay around too long and becomes a stepping stone for up and comers.
Cheers. – Dave Weymouth, UK
I’m an Amir Khan fan, too, Dave. I was impressed with his willingness to face legit top-10 junior welterweights, such as Kotelnik, Maidana, Malignaggi, Judah, and Peterson (most of whom he met in the U.S., some in their hometowns). And I don’t hold his brittle chin against him.
I agree that it will probably cost him when facing world-class punchers such as Matthysse and Garcia, but it will also make him focus more on improving his technique and skill, and force him to stick to his game plans. At his age and with his natural talent, being a more-disciplined boxer will make him very hard to beat.
I know he went life and death with Julio Diaz, but that struggle will likely drop his ego a notch or two, which will make him an even better student when he’s in camp with Virgil Hunter (who is very much the teacher in the gym).
I think Khan is too proud (and he’s made too much money) to fight past his prime long enough to become a stepping-stone or gatekeeper. My guess is that he’ll probably fight for another three years and call it a career. My prediction is that he scores at least two major upsets and wins another world title.
This is my first time writing to you. Love your work so I figured it was high time I actually made the effort to make a contribution to your mailbag.
Well it was an eventful weekend indeed. First off, Sergio Martinez vs Martin Murray. I have been a big fan of Sergio over the years, ever since I saw him dissect a streaking Alex Bunema. His charisma, guts and perseverance make it hard not to admire the man. However, the Martinez I saw against a very gutsy and skilled Martin Murray seemed to be a man who may finally be starting to decline. While he maintained much of his trademark hand-speed, he didn’t seem to carry his usual power. However, I do believe he won the fight, and don’t think he deserves the amount of hate he’s getting.
Which brings me to my next point: What is everyone’s problem with Sergio? In the Chavez fight he boxes brilliantly for 11 rounds and all people talk about is the knockdown. Then he has one ordinary performance against Murray and everyone seems ready to write his obituary. I think he gets a bad rap from people. Lastly on Sergio, everyone seems to talk about who would win out of Canelo and Sergio. What are your thoughts? For what it’s worth I think Sergio would still be a little too quick for Canelo.
Now… Garcia-Judah. I must say it wasn’t what I expected. I expected Judah to start fast, maybe catch Garcia early and score an upset, or if unable to catch him early, Garcia would break him down and catch him in the middle rounds. It looked like Garcia would indeed do that but surprise, surprise! Judah guts it out, gets his legs back and finishes strong and has Garcia in a spot of trouble on a few occasions. I dare say if Judah had pursued Garcia a little harder that he may have scored at least a knockdown. I was impressed with Judah’s heart in coming back, I wouldn’t mind a rematch between the two, though I know the demand for it wouldn’t be there.
It was refreshing to see the two men gracious in the post fight interviews, and shock horror, even Angel Garcia was civilized after the fight!!
Anyway, keep doing what you do, love reading your columns! – James, Sydney, Australia
Thanks for the kind words, James. It was nice to see both Garcia and Judah giving each other their due respect after their competitive fight, as well as Papa Garcia keeping a lid on it. (He’s actually a cool cat when he’s not going crazy.)
I thought all of the fighters in each of the major matchups that were televised on HBO and Showtime this past Saturday were classy and honest during their post-fight interviews, which is something I love to see.
You know what else I love to see? Fans in the seats during these hotly contested matchups. There were 10,000-plus in Sheffield (for Khan-Diaz) and in Brooklyn, and almost 50,000 in Buenos Aires. The sport is getting healthy, my friend. And it will keep getting better if the right matches are made (and especially if the judges get the scorecards right, which they did for the most part on Saturday).
Anyway, I digress. I also thought Judah would stun Garcia early then get caught himself and get whacked out by the middle rounds. I was wrong, and I was glad to be wrong because Judah’s late-rounds rally made for a dramatic fight and probably helped Garcia mature to a higher level. Had Garcia walked right through Judah, he might have fallen in love with his power, which can limit a fighter’s development.
I have no idea what’s going on with fans who bash Martinez. I think he’s the definition of the word “champion.” Had he come around in the 1970s or 1980s he would have been an international celebrity and a household name in the U.S. Network TV executives would have loved him and he would have had no shortage of popular badasses to fight.
Speaking of popular badasses, Mayweather will probably never face Martinez, but Canelo has mentioned Martinez as a future opponent more than a few times. I think that would be a huge promotion, grand event and a competitive fight. If it were to happen in Martinez’s very next bout I would favor him to turn back the red head’s challenge by close decision. However, the aging veteran would need to be 100-percent healthy in order to do so. If he wasn’t 100 percent or if the fight took place in late 2014 or sometime in 2015, I’d have to favor Canelo bigtime.
SATURDAY NIGHT FIGHTS
My first time writing into the mailbox. Big fan of yours and of these chats. You truly know the game like few do.
Let me start by saying… what a night for boxing!!
Incredible fights. First, Martinez and Murray… all I can say was that it was vintage “Maravilla” here. Knocked down, trailing on points, but rallying at the end of the fight. Great performance but with that said, I was a bit disappointed. I think maybe in his mind he felt that he was most likely gonna get the decision since he was in Argentina, and maybe that’s why we saw him value showmanship more than effectiveness at times. He could have easily lost that fight, but what an effort by Murray…would love to see him mix it up with guys like Macklin, Geale, or Quillin. Was incredibly poised but needed a bit more conditioning. Still wondering, how did you score the fight?
Arreola-Stiverne… terrific heavyweight clash, the kind the heavyweight division has been lacking for some time. Loved Arreola’s heart, but Stiverne was very sharp, would love to see him mix in a couple more uppercuts but I think he’s got real talent.
Qullin-Guerrero… Kid Chocolate looked fantastic! Guerrero had moments but I love Quillin’s poise and ability to counterpunch. 10 knockdowns in 2 fights…crazy. Who do you think is a legit next opponent for him? I think he’s about ready for another beltholder, maybe a fight or two away if anything.
Garcia-Judah….Terrific fight as well! I had it 117-110, but often these scores don’t account for the story of the fight. Zab’s talent and newfound focus made every round tough for Danny, who I thought had to think more than he’s ever had to think. Danny proved he can win consistent rounds against more crafty guys. I just don’t know if I’ve fully jumped on the bandwagon there yet though. I feel like someone like Matthysse or even Bam Bam Rios or Alvarado (last 2 won’t happen) would be physical beatings that might not allow Danny to dictate the pace, which is a big thing for his style. Still… great win, but hard to think he beats Matthysse, maybe Peterson.
Khan-Diaz…So much to love about Amir…and so much to worry about. His hand speed is ridiculous and his power is underrated in my opinion (remember that body shot he gave the tough Maidana?) His defense has improved but that chin is still trouble. Which brings me to an interesting question…say Khan is picked by Mayweather down the road (a realistic possibility maybe next year). As they say, styles make fights, so would Khan possibly have a style to give Floyd fits? Floyd is declining and has never been a knockout artist (the opponent type that gives Khan the most fits) and maybe the hand speed is a bit of an equalizer here against that defense…and Khan goes to the body well at times too. I’d still probably pick Floyd to win but if Amir gets a bit more seasoning, I think it could make for an interesting fight.
Finally, wanted to ask you some hypothetical predictions:
-Pacquiao-Martinez (in their primes)
Thanks Doug and sorry for all the questions..it’s almost 4 AM Sunday morning and this is my way of procrastinating from college homework, LOL. – Brandon
Good thing the internet wasn’t around when I was in college. I never would have graduated with the amount of boxing information and hardcore porn that’s available. (Shoot, I’d never have left my dorm room.)
I scored Martinez-Murray as all three official judges did, eight rounds to four with it being 115-112 due to the knockdown. I could see a 114-113 score for Martinez, too. I don’t think Martinez ever hurt Murray, who obviously put forth strong effort over the second half of the fight, but I thought he gave away too many of the opening rounds and I don’t think he close the show the way he should have (hard!).
I think we saw more showmanship/hot dogging from Martinez because his injuries prevented him from putting forth a concentrated attack.
I agree that Stiverne has real talent. He proved it against Arreola. He also proved that he has real skill and ring savvy. I think he’s a dangerous fight for any heavyweight other than the Klitschko brothers. I don’t think he’ll be able to dictate the pace with a non-connecting up-jab (they way he did with Arreola) against even the 42-year-old version of Vitali, who will land his powerful jab from a distance and won’t aimlessly follow him around the ring. Having said that, I thought Arreola would knock Stiverne out and I was dead wrong about that.
I think Quillin is ready for his fellow beltholders now. He’s not as polished as they are but what he lacks in technique and defense he more than makes up for with size, power and attitude. I thought Guerrero fought the wrong fight against “Kid Choc.” His balls were too big in that fight. He wanted to go to war, when he would have been better off boxing, turning Quilling, and sliding side to side.
I enjoyed Garcia-Judah and had it a bit closer than you did, but the young champ won the fight, while the “old” vet (who is amazingly fast and fluid at 35) won a moral victory. Judah will get at least one more payday at 140 or 147 pounds. Garcia will get an opportunity to silence all of his critics against the Matthysse-Peterson winner (a fight I think will happen). Let’s see what happens with Matthysse-Peterson before we write Garcia off in a potential matchup with the winner.
If Khan had a world-class chin, he’d be poison for Mayweather and any other pure boxer/counter puncher. But I think Mayweather’s power is underrated and Khan’s shaky chin is not hard to find. I think Mayweahter-Khan would be an interesting speed chess match until Floyd landed an accurate counter punch and that would be the end of the fight.
“Hypothetical predictions” (Jeez, you really are a college boy!):
Ortiz-Rios – Rios on balls
Canelo-Martinez – (if they fight immediately, Maravilla on experience; if later I like Canelo on youth)
Cotto-Martinez – Martinez on size and talent
Berto-Thurman – Thurman on size and youth
Pacquiao-Martinez (in their primes) – Martinez on size and ring generalship
Great night for sports fans! I thought Kid Chocolate shined over Marvillia and Garcia combined. I have a very short list of guys – current, or in the past – that I would consider must-see TV fighters. Quillin made my list.
GGG vs Quillin? – Wes
Where can I buy tickets?
Photos / Juan Mabromata-Getty Images, Scott Heavey-Getty Images, Elsa-Golden Boy
Email Dougie at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @dougiefischer