Sergio Martinez was too much for 11 rounds tonight, shutting out Julio Cesar Chavez Jr and dominating the fight. But the 12th round nearly blew the roof off of the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, as Chavez Jr stormed on Martinez, knocked him down, and nearly got him out of there.
To say that the 12th round of this fight was electric would be selling it way, way short. Writing this recap now, my hands are just now stopping with the shaking. It was that intense.
Martinez didn't run or hold, and tried to fight his way out of danger, flailing his arms with Chavez Jr, getting tagged, and somehow staying on his feet. And surviving the round and the fight -- barely -- he won on the scorecards: 118-109, 118-109, and 117-110. Bad Left Hook had it 118-109 for Sergio Martinez.
Martinez (50-2-2, 28 KO) dominated the fight with his movement and overall superiority for 11 rounds, with Chavez Jr (46-1-1, 32 KO) having only moments of success here and there.
At times, it appeared as though the 26-year-old Chavez was breaking down mentally, but then he would find a way to come on strong for a second or two, indicating he was in the fight, even though he wasn't close to winning almost any of the rounds -- you could have given him one, but it would have been half a gift, in my estimation.
Still, Chavez Jr acquitted himself well in the end, as he refused to say die, and went out throwing everything he had left -- with his nose and mouth bleeding, his left eye nearly swollen shut, and cuts marring sections of his face, he warred on, charged into battle when all was lost, and left an impression at the end of this fight.
Sergio Martinez was the better man, and right now is the much better fighter. One round does not a great fight make. But for great moments, for heart-pounding drama, nothing in 2012 has matched the final round of Chavez Jr vs Martinez.
And it was worth the money and the wait in the end.