By Tom Donelson / Member Boxing Writers Association
HBO had their night of boxing which began with Roman Martinez going up against Juan Carlos Burgos for the WBO super featherweight title. Burgos lost a previous shot to Hozumi Hasegawa and now was going for Martinez’s title. Burgos showed control over the first eight minutes using his height to its utmost advantage while adding vicious body shots to Martinez. Martinez did manage to trap Burgos over the last 30 seconds of the third round as he closed the distance and unleashed several body shots.
In the fourth round, both fighters moved inside at times as Burgos surrendered his height but neither fighter had any real advantage. When Burgos went southpaw, he allowed Martinez to connect; leaving one to wonder why change to southpaw when he had so much success orthodox?
At the beginning of the sixth round, Burgos leaned in and nailed Martinez with vicious body shots followed by uppercuts but halfway through the fight Martinez stopped briefly as to state, “Go ahead and pound me and turn this into alley fight.” If Burgos won the first part of the round but Martinez kept boring in and connected on his own body shots. HBO Harold Lederman had the fight in Burgos favor five rounds to one.
Throughout the seventh round, Martinez managed to trap Burgos on the rope and had his best round of the fight at that point. As HBO Max Kellerman noted, it is not always easy to keep Martinez in the center of the ring as Martinez continued to bore in. However, the best punch of the seventh round was an Burgos’ right hand that briefly forced Martinez to retreat. Throughout the eighth round, Burgos slow down as if to rest and this allowed Martinez to connect on a series of punches while chasing the retreating Burgos. This continued into the ninth round but Burgos landed some solid body shots and matching Martinez punch for punch on the inside. Burgos moved and used his defense to avoid big shots over the last minute of the round. After nine rounds, Lederman had it 6 rounds to 3 but Burgos ripped Martinez with body shots at the beginning of the tenth round. Martinez looked exhausted and he did not fight back as Burgos continued his assault as the round progressed. If Martinez looked like he was getting back into the fight throughout the eighth and ninth round, Burgos took control of the tenth round and now Burgos was set up to win the fight as Martinez looked weak throughout the tenth round.
Martinez showed guts in standing up to Burgos body shots but just as in the tenth round; Martinez looked like a beaten fighter as he simply couldn’t muster a consistent attack. Burgos went for broke in the final round as he did not want to take a chance on losing the title and for the first two minutes, Martinez chased but had nothing on his punches. Burgos dominated the fight but the scorecard had the fight a draw and left a bad taste as a good effort was wasted because two of the judges did not seem to comprehend what they were seeing. Lederman had the fight 9 round to 3 and that was the correct score. Burgos won the fight in the ring but Martinez escaped with his title as a draw allowed the champion to maintain his title.
Gennady Golokin defended his WBA Middleweight crown against Gabriel Rosado. The first round saw Rosado moving away from Golokin power as Golokin forced Rosado to work in a defensive style. Golokin punches showed pop as he managed to cut Rosado eyes in the second round with a jab. Rosado finally connected on some solid shots in the third round including a solid right hand. With a minute left Golokin nailed Rosado with a right hand that sent Rosado reeling. Golokin simply unleashed a barrage of power punches over the last minute of the round. Rosado started to press Golokin in the middle of the fifth round but Golokin took most of Rosado best before countering with his own power shots, Golokin face showed redness from Rosasdo shots but Rosado own face was puffed and bleeding. Golokin popped Rosado with a right that nearly sent Rosado down but Rosado continued to stay upright and he even managed to punch Golokin over the last minute. With thirty seconds left, another Golokin shot open up a gusher from Rosado’s nose and Rosado’s face was even bloodier than previous rounds, Going into the seventh round, the referee forced Rosado to see the ring doctor and the ring doctor allowed the fight to continue. Golokin continued his assault and while Rosado showed heart, it was obvious he was not in Golokin’s league With 23 seconds left in the round, Rosado’s camp ended the fight as it was no longer possible for Rosado would win. Golokin showed power even with his jab as it was a left jab that open up a cut in the second round and he showed that he was one of the best heavyweight.
Orlando Salido faced Miguel Angel Garcia for Saldio’s title. This was a battle between two knock out artist and as one pundit noted, this was a bout that no one knew who would win. After a minute of checking each other, Garcia nailed Salido with a left hook and sent Salido down for a quick count. Salido chased Garcia and with seconds running out, a second Garcia left hook sent Salido down a second time. Garcia continued to control the bout throughout the second round as he easily countered Salido. With a minute and half in the third round, Garcia sent Salido down with a right hand as Salido moved right into a right hand. As Saldio went back to his corner, the left side of his face was puffed up.
Garcia dropped Salido a fourth time with a right hand in the first thiry seconds. Salido managed to connect on looping right hands over the final minute and half of the round. In the first minute and half of the fifth round, Garcia connected on two left-right hand combination that nearly sent Salido down a fifth time and another right upper cut staggered Salido near the end of the fifth round.
At the halfway mark, Harold Lederman had Garcia ahead by 10 points, making it virtually impossible for Salido to win a decision. Salido got Garcia attention as he nailed Garcia with three solid rights and while Garcia countered; Salido continued to pursue the action. Salido fought his best and yet Garcia seemed unfazed. During the eight round, Salido decided to use his head as he nailed Garcia with a head butt, breaking Garcia’s nose. The doctor stopped the fight and the fight went to the scorecard. Garcia won the title as he received an easy decision with the closet score being 79-70 as the other two judges had it 79-69. Garcia was masterful as he landed twice as many punches and sent Salido down four times and nearly two more times.
Garcia beat a very good fighter and did it easily and the only disappointment was the judges cheating Burgos out of a title. The latter shows a serious problem with judging in boxing. To have a major event on HBO marred by a bad decision needs to be dealt with.