- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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The use of instant replay will be at the disposal of officials overseeing middleweight champion Sergio Martinez's title defense against Martin Murray on April 27, promoter Lou DiBella announced on Wednesday.
The fight is a homecoming for Martinez (50-2-2, 28 KOs), who will be fighting in his home country of Argentina for the first time since 2002. He will face England's Murray (25-0-1, 11 KOs) at the 50,000-seat Club Atletico Velez Sarsfield in Buenos Aires.
The push for replay was made by the WBC, whose title Martinez holds.
"The WBC has always been at the forefront of advancing boxing either through medical safety standards and technology," said Ron Rizzo, vice president of DiBella Entertainment, Martinez's promoter.
Instant replay in professional boxing is not widely used, although it is available in limited circumstances in some states, including such significant boxing states as Nevada and New Jersey. But it has rarely been utilized.
"Boxing needs to step into the 21st century and use the technology that we have available to us, to make sure that justice prevails in this sport," Mauricio Sulaiman of the WBC said. "Justice is not served in our sport when fouls or accidental actions occur, creating unjust results. The WBC has used instant replay for the last five years (in some fights it sanctions) with great results, and we are very happy to be working together with the highly prestigious TV network, HBO, for this historic event."
HBO, which will televise Martinez-Murray in the United States, agreed to provide the replays should they become necessary to review something, such as determining whether a cut was caused by a punch or a clash of heads.
"We are supportive of this initiative and happy to lend technical assistance so the officials can make their determinations," said HBO Sports executive producer Rick Bernstein. "Instant replay can be a valuable asset, since everybody's goal is to have the correct call."
Sampson Lewkowicz, Martinez's adviser, said he hopes replay is used more frequently in boxing "to avoid any more controversies in our beloved sport."
Replay may also be used in the welterweight co-featured fight, which pits Luis Carlos Abregu (34-1, 28 KOs) of Argentina against Antonin Decarie (27-1, 8 KOs) of Canada.
4dMalik Smith, ESPN Stats & Information