Aron Martinez banged away, banged away, and banged away all night long, and in the end, Devon Alexander's career took a big step toward being stretched and destroyed, as the scrappy Martinez scored a big upset win over the former two-division titleholder on scores of 96-94, 97-93, and 97-93. BLH had it 97-93 for Martinez.
Martinez (20-4-1, 4 KO) gave Robert Guerrero hell in a debated split decision loss back in June, and was reportedly listed as up to a 50-to-1 underdog for this fight against Alexander, who was routed by Amir Khan last December and hadn't fought since then.
Alexander (26-4, 14 KO) looked sharp in the first couple of rounds, but by the third Martinez had baited him into trading inside. Alexander tried to grapple his way through a lot of that, and the crowd in Arizona booed the fight heavily for a couple of rounds. But Martinez just kept grinding away, and more and more, he was able to throw shots with Alexander not holding on to him any longer. In close, the fight was Martinez's, and he took over for good starting in the fifth or sixth round, wearing Alexander out physically.
There was also a point in the middle of the fight when, between rounds, ESPN cameras picked up trainer Kevin Cunningham scolding Alexander for something, saying, "If you want me to stop the fight, I'll stop the fight!" ESPN's Todd Grisham said that the issue was Alexander complaining about blood in his eye from a cut, something that brought back memories of Alexander's first pro loss to Timothy Bradley back in 2011.
Alexander was told by Cunningham that he needed a knockout to win going into the 10th and final round, and though healthy skepticism would've led one to believe that was just Cunningham trying to light a fire under his fighter, who was the A-side and heavily favored man, it turned out to be true. Alexander did leave everything he had left in the ring in that round, to his credit, but it just wasn't enough. He'd lost too much ground already.
This is a huge win for Martinez, who basically has guaranteed himself a return to a PBC main event with this victory, and a massive blow to Alexander, whose future is pretty uncertain at this point. Past the opening few rounds, he looked tired and overwhelmed by the physicality of Martinez, and this is his third loss in his last four fights. At 28, he's still a young man, but you have to wonder where his head is at, and if perhaps he might need a change of trainer. He's been with Cunningham for his entire boxing life, dating back to when he was a child, but it might be time for a move to someone else.