Sergio Martinez was too much for Sergiy Dzizniruk in the main event at Foxwoods, stopping the Ukrainian challenger in the eighth round to retain his middleweight championship.
Martinez (47-2-2, 26 KO) didn't have what I would call an easy time with Dzinziruk (37-1-1, 23 KO), but that was to be expected. Dzinziruk is still the best junior middleweight in the world as far as I'm concerned, but Martinez would be the best junior middleweight in the world if he was still fighting at that weight, and is unquestionably the best middleweight in the world. It was just a matter of Martinez being that much better than another good fighter. Dzinziruk just doesn't have enough layers to counteract someone like Martinez, and it showed. Dzinziruk was down in the fourth and fifth round, and three times in the eighth before Arthur Mercante Jr. called a halt to the fight.
Later in the night, Martinez called out Miguel Cotto, but really I don't put much stock in that one. Top Rank has a lot of other options for Cotto, including a rematch with Antonio Margarito which will pique the interest of a lot of hardcore fans on both sides of that fence. Those two are for better or worse going to be eternally linked to one another. Puerto Rico versus Mexico is generally enough to sell a fight itself. But we're talking about a rematch of an incredible fight where controversy wound up growing months later. Or they could even eye a rematch with Manny Pacquiao if other options aren't available late this year. There's a lot for Cotto to do, and as unfair as it might be, Martinez needs him more than he needs to take a big risk against Martinez.
In the co-feature, and a fight that I really hope didn't determined Martinez's next challenger although it was a fine fight, Andy Lee scored a final round TKO over Craig McEwan for the best win of his career. Lee (25-1, 19 KO) had more than his share of trouble with McEwan (19-1, 10 KO), but finally put the Scot down and out 56 seconds into the tenth. McEwan was also down in the ninth round. At the time of stoppage, scores were 85-85 on two cards and 86-84 McEwan on the third. If McEwan had gotten up, reeling as he was, he still probably would have been stopped, and almost sure would have wound up losing a majority decision unless he staged his own remarkable rally. Lee fought like he wanted it in those last two rounds, and that was the difference maker. McEwan just ran out of steam.
While this was a good win for Lee, Martinez would make mincemeat of the Irishman. It wouldn't be a competitive fight at all. I really hope that's not what's next for Sergio, but it might be, because there just aren't that many names out there at 160 or 154.
After the jump, results from Glasgow, Argentina, Australia and a Friday night Vegas card you probably didn't know about. (It had Tye Fields!)
- Ricky Burns RTD-7 Joseph Laryea: Laryea pulled out of the fight with a right hand injury, but was starting to fall apart anyway. Burns picked up the pace nicely after having trouble early on, and was starting to look like the obvious better fighter. I do hope we see Burns take on Mzonke Fana next. 130 is a very weak weight class, and that's about as good a fight as you're going to get in the division.
- James DeGale TKO-5 Alpay Kobal: A nothing fight for DeGale (10-0, 8 KO) as he prepares to face fellow top prospect George Groves.
- Paul Appleby PTS-6 Youssef Al Hamidi: A bounce-back win for Appleby (17-2, 11 KO), the former British featherweight champ who lost his last outing to Laryea in December. If Burns can't get a fight with one of the better names in the division, Appleby still wouldn't be the worst fall-back option.
- Jonathan Victor Barros UD-12 Miguel Roman: Barros (32-1-1, 18 KO) retains his alphabet belt at 126 by outpointing Roman on tallies of 118-109, 118-110 and 117-111. "Mickey" Roman is likely best-known for his loss in a Texas backyard brawl with Antonio Escalante in February 2010, but just isn't world class. He falls to 33-8 (25 KO) with his five-fight win streak snapped.
- Ulises David Lopez DQ-3 Carlos Wilfredo Vilches: You likely remember Vilches (55-10-2, 32 KO) from a vicious 2008 knockout at the hands of Juan Urango. Lopez (27-3, 15 KO) is supposedly fighting Yassine El Maachi on March 19 in Dagenham.
- Sebastian Lujan TKO-4 Juan Pablo Lucero: Remember back in 2008 when Lujan beat Jose Luis Castillo in dominant fashion on Wednesday Night Fights, and supposedly Castillo was going to retire? Here we are three years later, and Castillo is still fighting, while Lujan has faced nothing but mediocre opponents in Argentina since the win. Neither development is actually a surprise.
Las Vegas, Nevada
- Michael Grant KO-3 Tye Fields: Believe it or not, this was a PPV option on Friday night from Planet Hollywood. This one was purely for the heavyweight fetishists. This was reportedly a one-punch sort of knockout, with Grant (47-4, 35 KO) flattening the lumbering Fields (45-3, 41 KO) with a right hand. As much as I used to resent Fields' constant presence on that awful series that Top Rank ran on Versus for a while, I don't really mind him anymore. Since getting blasted by Monte Barrett in '08, Fields has basically become a part-time fighter and is quite aware of his limitations. These two fought because it's a "Battle of " and it was a payday for them. At least they wound up throwing punches.
- Joel Casamayor SD-10 Manuel Leyva: Casamayor is reportedly fighting purely for money these days, which is sad. At his best, the tricky and admittedly dirty Cuban was one of the best fighters in the sport. But now he's 39 and is having trouble with fighters like Leyva, who had never fought anyone of any note, and , who is a pure club fighter. Casamayor is now 38-5-1 (22 KO), but his record doesn't really matter anymore. If he wins, he's not going to be beating anyone good, and if he loses, it's because he's not really Joel Casamayor anymore.
- Robbie Bryant UD-12 Togasilimai Letoa
- Billy Dib TKO-8 Billy Sismundo
- Daniel Dawson MD-8 Arnel Tinampay (Dawson's stock has dropped like a rock after building up a record from 2002-07.)
- Daniel Estrada TD-7 Arturo Gomez
- Gamaliel Diaz TKO-3 Rafael Urias