Sergio Martinez looked like one of the best pound-for-pound boxers on the planet. The lineal middleweight champion outclassed 26-year old Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. for 11 rounds.
Then came the 12th round.
In a furious rally, Chavez Jr. dropped the champion and looked like he was about to repeat what his famous father did 22 years ago on St. Patrick’s Day.
That night, the lion of Culiacan stopped Meldrick Taylor with just two seconds left to unify the junior welterweight title. He was trailing on two of three scorecards at the time.
History did not repeat itself as the crafty 37-year old champion managed to survive for his 50th professional win. All three judges scored the fight for Martinez.
The numbers show how dominant Martinez was on Saturday.
According to Compubox, Martinez out-landed Chavez Jr. by 144 total punches (322-178). There was a much wider margin in total punches thrown. “Maravilla” held the advantage in that department by 518 (908-390).
Martinez vs Chavez Jr.
Chavez Jr. did land at a higher percentage, specifically in power shots. He landed over 50 percent of his attempts.
Martinez landed 45 percent of his power punches. In the end, it was Martinez’ balanced attack that controlled the majority of the fight.
Say what you will about Chavez Jr. and his list of suspect opponents in the early part of his career.
You cannot deny the toughness he showed this night in Las Vegas. Even in defeat, Mexican fight fans can shout “Viva, Mexico” as the celebration for the nation’s independence has officially begun.