Sunday, October 02, 2011

Martinez keeps middleweight crown over Barker

ATLANTIC CITY (The Phanatic Magazine) - Sergio Martinez retained his middleweight title on Saturday, knocking out the previously unbeaten Darren Barker in the 11th round at Boardwalk Hall.

Martinez (48-2-2, 26 KOs), one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the
world, got off to a rather slow start as attempted to figure out his
length advantage and defensive posture of Barker (23-1).

Barker, a 15-to-1 underdog coming in, was extremely tentative early, throwing
just 25 punches in the opening round. The feeling out process continued into
the fourth but a Barker right earlier may have broken the champion's nose.

The blood began to pour out and Martinez seemed to be breathing out of his
mouth as Barker remained calm and defensive in an effort to wear Martinez out.

In the end the game plan simply didn't work. Martinez began piling up rounds
on the scorecards and by the 10thj hurt Barker badly on two occasions, nearly
knocking him down.

The damage took its toll and Barker crumbles at 1:29 of the 11th on a
partially blocked right hook.

On the undercard, Andy Lee (27-1, 19 KOs) avenged his only career loss with a
unanimous decision over the game but overmatched Brian Vera (19-6), taking all
three scorecards easily, 98-91, 99-90 and 99-90.

The English middleweight, who fights out of Detroit these days, knocked down
Vera with a straight left to end the second round. Lee kept his distance from
there but dictated the pace and style of the fight before eventually opening
up a cut over Vera's left eye.

Referee Steve Smoger seemed to miss another knockdown in the sixth when Vera
stumbled and looked like he touched a glove down after Lee hit him.

Vera did show a lot of effort and energy and was the far busier fighter,
throwing 658 punches to just 485 for Lee.

"I was trying to get him for the big punch but he was gone," Vera said.

Lee, however, was more economical landing 48 percent of his attempts and 60
percent of his power shots.

"[My goal] was to hit him and pull out so I wasn't exposed," Lee said. "I was
trying to knock him out but it's hard with him. With Brian Vera offense is his
defense. He's not a counter puncher."

Vera especially had trouble dealing with left hooks from the cinch as Lee
rebounded from a seventh round TKO at the hands of Vera back in March of 2008.

"The importance of this win was immeasurable," Lee said. "It was years coming.
If not for tonight I would be haunted for the rest of my life."

As for where he goes from here. Lee was open for anything.

"I'll fight anyone," the rising star said. "No middleweight wants to fight

In other action South African light heavyweight Isaac Chilemba (18-1-1, 9 KOs)
was just too much for Brooklyn's Jameson Bostic (23-5) and a flurry sent the
New Yorker to one knee at 1:48 of Round 2.

Bronx middleweight Troy Artis (3-2-1, 2 KOs) opened the night by handing
Israel Duffus (2-1) his first professional loss with a TKO at 2:03 of Round 3.

Detroit middleweight J'Leon Love (9-0, 6 KOs) showed no love for journeyman
Eddie Hunter and stayed unbeaten by pitching a shutout, winning all three
scorecards, 60-53, 60-54 and 60-54.

Harrisburg junior middleweight Daniel Lugo (1-1) followed by winning his first
professional fight, taking a four-round upset decision over Kevin Rooney
(2-1). Lugo took all three scorecards by a 39-37 margin.

Southpaw Boyd Melson (6-0, 3 KOs) stayed undefeated by winning a six-round
unanimous decision over Russ Niggemyer (2-4), 59-55, 60-54 and 60-53. Melson,
a West Point grad, was so confident he fought the entire fight right-handed.

Also, up and coming Puerto Rican junior middleweight Christian Martinez (11-0,
9 KOs) scored a spectacular fifth round knock out over Jay Krupp (14-5, 7
KOs), Martinez trapped Krupp against the ropes and unleashed a series of solid
left hooks and straight rights to stop Krupp 38 seconds into the frame.

Heavyweight Magomed Abdusalamov (10-0, 10 KOs) made short work of Atlanta's
Kevin Burnett (13-5-1), winning by TKO at 1:19 of the first round. Abdusalamov
knocked Burnett down three times before his corner stopped the fight.

Finally, popular light heavyweight Seanie Monghan (9-0, 6 KOs) stayed unbeaten, earning a fourth round TKO over Kentrell Claiborne (2-4).

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