Rocky Martinez and Miguel Beltran Jr put on a Puerto Rico vs Mexico classic tonight at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, with Martinez winning a split decision in a grueling war on scores of 114-113, 114-113, and 111-116. Bad Left Hook scored it 115-112 for Beltran, but it was a close fight that could have gone either way, and there's no real dispute with the decision.
Martinez picks up the vacant WBO super featherweight title with the win.
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The two fought about as evenly as any two men could. Here are quick CompuBox numbers from the HBO broadcast:
Martinez: 187/705 (27%)
Beltran: 154/553 (28%)
Martinez: 148/480 (31%)
Beltran: 140/458 (31%)
Martinez (26-1-1, 16 KO) and Beltran (27-2, 17 KO) waged a close quarters war at times, drilled each other at distance at times, and both employed heavy offensive weapons. Beltran found a lot of success with his right hand, and Martinez seemed to put punches together better in combination. Neither did major body work, but Beltran had the advantage there with a strong left hook.
It must be noted that a point deduction late in the fight by Russell Mora kept this fight from being a majority draw. But it must also be noted that the deduction wasn't really unjust -- Beltran had been warned for hitting behind the head, and told he'd lose a point the next time, and there did appear to be intent there.
The Chavez Jr vs Martinez main event is next. Join us for live round-by-round coverage!