Sergio Martinez TKO8 Sergiy Dzinzurik [HBO]
Sergio Martinez may have had a career highlight in his one-punch demolishing of Paul Williams this past November, but he may have possibly eclipsed that with his performance Saturday night against top contender Sergiy Dzinzurik. "Maravilla" dedicated himself to a hard, snapping jab early on before tattooing the rugged and ridged Dzinzurik with his usual odd-angled shots, with his hooks being the most dangerous ones of all, as they accounted for a bulk the five knockdowns delivered. Though he was able to score two and looked in control against an unwavering opponent prior to the 7th, he hadn't moved around the ring as much as usual for much of the fight and as such, especially with his unique posture and fighting style, was absorbing more punches than necessary.
Perhaps Martinez was taking a breather or was running out of gas, but it did not matter, as he summoned a second wind and put Dzinzurik on the canvas three more times in the 8th to secure the stoppage. It was an impressive showing by Martinez, who put his varied skills on display, from his quick hands and instinctual attack stance, to newer ones like the stiff jab and newfound power (or more specifically, his newfound way of getting the most out of his power punches and landings). Dzinzurik stood in there tough and not only had a tightly-wound style (perhaps to a fault, as he barely countered and couldn't contend with the slick Argentine up close) and some decent skill, but he also had his moments, particularly in the 7th, when the fight briefly appeared to have shifted momentum in his favor as he landed a fair amount of good shots.
The recently jail-freed James Kirkland is one name being floated around as a next opponent for Martinez, who won via first-round KO earlier this month and may be fighting again as soon as tomorrow (March 18) and April (not to mention, he has publicly called him out…and is the only one really doing so). Andre Ward is a hot name, too, but he is still participating in Showtime's Super Six tournament (and you know that's not happening with HBO in the picture…). He's interested in Floyd Mayweather, Jr., Manny Pacquiao, and Miguel Cotto, but I see only the latter being the most feasible for now (and that's if he's willing to go up in weight). Mayweather's stuck in legal limbo and won't be in the ring anytime soon and while I would salivate at a Pacquiao bout, there are a lot of things match-up -wise that would make it a mighty dangerous proposition for the Filipino.
Martinez's stock continues to rise, while Dzinzurik made a decent name for himself to warrant a few good-profile bouts in the future. I guess that should make up for the 5-1 betting odds, his equaling those odds with his weight in incurred knockdowns, having to eat in the casino employees' cafeteria instead of enjoying the culinary perks his promoter, Martinez, and the others enjoyed (and he is a champion, too, mind you, even though neither man's belt was on the line), and having HBO dedicate a segment to making fun of your last name. Some "diamond belt" from either the WBA or WBC was on the line, too, but no one cares about that…
Miguel Cotto KO12 Ricardo Mayorga [HBO]
It sounds like the fight went the same as most of Mayorga's fights against top talent: he gets his butt whupped from early on, lands a few good shots in the mid to late rounds as the opponent tires from pounding his face in, the fight gets tighter, Mayorga gets close to making it to the end of the final round, gets knocked down, and doesn't get back up for some given reason (or he will get KO'd before then in said mid-late period). This time around, he hurt his thumb after getting sent to the canvas by Cotto and quits after another trip down, announcing his retirement soon after. Doubt it will last, but if so, Mayorga will go down as yet another big-mouthed boxer who is prone to recklessness and getting pummeled by top competition, then talking humble after the beatdown. He could have had a better longevity if had actually learned to stop punches with his forearms in a guard stance instead of his face and move his body more.
Next for Cotto: a possible rematch against Antonio Margarito