It's about time. In a delightful change of pace, a boxing champion will actually fight someone worthy of the opportunity.
Tonight (Sat., March 17, 2012), Argentinian superstar Sergio Martinez -- best known for his colossal one-punch annihilation of Paul Williams -- will return to action against Matthew Macklin at the Madison Square Garden Theater in New York, New York.
While the WBC continues doing everything in its power to keep Martinez as far away as possible from current cash-cow Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., he will instead take on the well-regarded Irishman -- who was arguably robbed of a win over WBA champion Felix Sturm in his last effort -- on St. Patrick's Day.
In addition, super middleweight prospects Edwin Rodriguez and Don George will go toe-to-toe as part of a double-header that will air live on HBO this evening.
MMAmania will deliver up-to-the-minute LIVE coverage of the event, starting with the HBO broadcast at 10 p.m. ET. Be sure to check out our bell-to-bell coverage, including quick results and play-by-play of all the action, after the jump:
HBO World Championship Boxing: "Martinez vs. Macklin" Quick Results:
Middleweight Championship: Sergio Martinez (c) def. Matthew Macklin by TKO (Corner Stoppage) at 3:00 of Round Eleven
Super Middleweight: Edwin Rodriguez def. Don George by Unanimous Decision (96-94, 99-91, 97-93)
HBO World Championship Boxing: "Martinez vs. Macklin" Play-By-Play Results:
The Ring Middleweight Championship: Sergio Martinez (c) vs. Matthew Macklin
Round One: Both men circling. Nice left straights from Martinez connect. Another lead straight from Sergio. Macklin pawing with the jab, Sergio connects with a solid one. Not much action, as both men are hanging out slightly out of range. Macklin tries a combo, which is blocked. More sharp hooks from Macklin fall short. They tie up at the bell; practically nothing landed clean there, but what did was courtesy of Sergio. 10-9 Martinez.
Round Two: Lot of movement, but no real action in the first minute. Punches from both men falling short. Martinez sparks Macklin and sends him stumbling back with a left hand out of nowhere, prompting grins from both men. Macklin re-orients himself, ties Martinez up and lands a few short shots. Nice right from Sergio. Macklin lands a right in the clinch. Left now from Sergio connects. Round was going nowhere, but Sergio’s missile of a left turned it into a fight. 20-18 for the Argentinian.
Round Three: Sergio’s punches come from the weirdest angles; his hands are essentially at his waist even when he isn’t taunting. Macklin testing the guard of Sergio with short straight punches and finding it nice and solid. Sergio still dancing around the ring, not throwing much besides the jab but staying out of trouble. Sergio snapping Macklin’s head back with the jab now, but still a much lower output than his opponent. Macklin targeting the body without success. Sergio seems to be trying to counterpunch, but just isn’t throwing anything. 10-9 Macklin on activity, 29-28 Martinez.
Round Four: Macklin lands a good few hooks inside; Sergio with his hands at his knees. Sergio now moving forward with the jab and trying to put that monster left behind it. BIG left uppercut from Sergio inside briefly buckles Macklin, but the Irishman is alright. Sergio dancing away from Macklin’s punches, now lands straights. Nice right hand from Macklin, his best punch of the night. Tough fight to score, but I’mma give this round to Sergio. 39-37 Martinez.
Round Five: Sergio slightly more aggressive now and he lands a left; Macklin doesn’t look like he can take Sergio’s left hand. Straights to the body by Sergio. Macklin’s one-two falls short and he eats a couple retaliatory jabs. Macklin pursuing with right hands, nothing lands clean. Good right straight and left hook from Macklin, jab from Sergio in response. Another nice right by Macklin. Crazy exchange at the end of the round, looks like they just about broke even. Excellent round from Macklin; 48-47 Sergio.
Round Six: Sergio pursues behind the jab. Macklin lands a good right hand. Sergio jabbing, Macklin has a one-two blocked. Solid right hook by Sergio. Now a stiff jab by Sergio as Macklin punches his way in. Another good jab from Sergio and another, and finally one that snaps Macklin’s head back. Better round for Martinez, 58-56 same.
Round Seven: Sergio still has the swagger, but he just doesn’t look like the best middleweight on the planet in there. Big left straight from Sergio lands to no discernible effect. Macklin attacking when Sergio gets inside, but not landing anything great. Short left from Sergio. Right to the body from Macklin. Nice inside flurry from Macklin and again. Macklin thumps Sergio in the clinch and an off-balance Sergio’s right hand touches the canvas. They call it a knockdown. Sergio comes out with a vengeance and they suddenly explode into a fight at the end of the round. 10-8 Macklin, 66-66.
Round Eight: Replays confirm that Sergio tripped. Hopefully this will light a fire under him in these last five rounds.
Sergio nearly tripped again in the early going and he eats a left from Macklin. Solid left straight from Sergio. Macklin with body blows in the clinch. Sergio on the attack and jacks Macklin with a hard right, but the tough Irishman seems fine and lands a short right of his own. Clubbing right from Macklin connects. Big left hand from Sergio has Macklin backpedaling. Decently entertaining round; 76-75 Martinez.
Round Nine: Nice counter jab from Sergio. Right to the body lands for Macklin. Good left straight again from Sergio. Nice one-two from the Argentinian, Macklin responds with a knock to the side of the body. Solid short lefts from Sergio, who is now swinging harder and lands a right hook. Another hard left. Another. Definitely Sergio’s round; wonder why he wasn’t doing this for the last thirty minutes. 86-84 Martinez.
Round Ten: Solid right hook from Martinez in the early going. Stiff jabs from Sergio. Martinez poking with the jab and lands a decent left hand. Sergio content to play around on the outside and jab. Nice counter left from Sergio and a big right hand. Nice right hook by Sergio; he’s starting to dominate when they exchange and he lands a brutal jab. Big right hook from Sergio sends Macklin reeling but he fires back at the bell. Sergio is starting to run away with this. 96-93 Martinez.
Round Eleven: Short right hook by Sergio connects, as does a counter jab. Nice right hand by Macklin, who eats a hard left. Macklin swinging bigger now, but unable to connect. Left by Sergio pierces Macklin’s guard. Another hard left hand followed by a short right. Macklin bulls his way in with punches, but only lands after they reset with a right hand. Body blow from Macklin. HUGE LEFT HAND FROM SERGIO SENDS MACKLIN TO THE CANVAS! Man, that was nasty. He’s back up but Sergio decks him again right at the bell; two knockdowns in this round, but Matthew survives. Damn, that had to hurt. 106-100 Martinez.
They've called it. Macklin made it back to the stool, but his corner determined that he could not continue. Brutal finish by Sergio Martinez.
Final Result: Martinez def. Macklin by TKO (Corner Stoppage)
Super Middleweight Bout: Edwin Rodriguez vs. Don George
Round One: There is apparently a belt on the line. I’m pretty sure they’re making them up as they go along at this point.
Combo right off the bat from Edwin, which is blocked. One-two misses from George. Rodriguez pumping the jab and the two exchange. Right to the body by Edwin. Nice flurry, capped off with an uppercut by Edwin, who seems the cleaner puncher of the two. The two tie up after a counter left from Rodriguez connects. Rodriguez is doubling and tripling the jab; he’s dictating the fight at the moment. Triple jab and a clubbing right to the body from Edwin. The two exchange body blows near the end of the round before thumping one another at close quarters. There’s obviously heat behind George’s punches, but he can’t connect. 10-9 Rodriguez.
Round Two: Probing lefts from Rodriguez, who is now stringing combos together. More nice jabs from Rodriguez leads to a clinch. Four punches in sequence blocked from Edwin, same with the subsequent double left hook. More jabs. One-two from Edwin connects. Edwin is doing an excellent job of getting out of the way of George’s retaliatory shots. Hard right from George is slipped and he eats a hard jab; both men connect decently well. Clinch. Nice left hook from George, who forces Edwin into the corner but cannot land anything well before the bell. That left glove is in his face at all times; he can’t get past it. 20-18 Rodriguez.
Round Three: Rodriguez connects early. Again, George just can’t get inside to connect. Rodriguez now finding success with the right to the body. George lands a snapping jab in retaliation and another. Both men now working the jab; George lands a glancing overhand. Rodriguez connects with a couple right hands of his own; neither fighter seems damaged. George now seems to have Edwin slightly uncomfortable; the two exchange body shots. More jabs from Edwin. Edwin lands a couple combos near the bell. Close round; 10-9 George, 29-28 Rodriguez.
Round Four: Harold Lederman’s voice makes me want to commit arson.
Anyway, Rodriguez keeping up the jab onslaught. George trying to walk him down, but can’t land power shots. Nice two-level combo from Rodriguez, who slams a nice cross into George’s jaw and follows up with an overhand. More jabs. Short right to the body from Rodriguez. George pursues with jabs, cannot connect with the big right. Beautiful head movement from Rodriguez. Left uppercut from Rodriguez answers a right from George at the bell. George just can’t walk him down or make angles. 39-37 Rodriguez.
Round Five: Rodriguez continuing to pretty much have his left glove up George’s nose at all times. Nice one-two from Edwin, then a clubbing right. George swinging hard, but can’t connect. Nice left from Edwin up close. Nice two body blows from George, who then lands a solid jab. George now jabbing and smacks Edwin with a hard right. Edwin now firing back behind the jab with combos. Edwin’s output dropped in the latter half of the round and that cost him this one. 48-47 Rodriguez.
Round Six: Nice left hook from Edwin early. George still walking Edwin down, not connecting. Both men blocking each other’s punches; nothing solid has landed for either man yet. Short lefts from George in the clinch. Edwin lands a short combo and avoids George’s counter. Nice right upper from Edwin. More probing jabs and a one-two from Edwin. Nice right to the body from Rodriguez; George again swinging big with no success. This fight is a story of impotent aggression for the most part. There’s the bell, Rodriguez maintains his lead at 58-56.
Round Seven: More nice jabs from Edwin. Excellent upper-body motion. Combinations from Edwin, who is avoiding George’s blows and making it look easy. Rodriguez fighting incredibly well off his back foot, landing the jab constantly, although George is blocking many. Rodriguez lands a good right. Nothing from George getting through; 68-65 Rodriguez.
Round Eight: Jab, one-two, slip, jab, etc. Hard right uppercut now from Edwin. Right to the body from Rodriguez. More jabs. Even more lead into a solid uppercut. Nice left from George, Edwin answers with a better right. Left uppercut this time. Good three-punch combo from Rodriguez. Neither man has landed anything great, but Edwin is just running circles around him at this point. 78-74 Rodriguez.
Round Nine: George needs a knockdown at this point. Technical issues strike; picture returns forty seconds in. Same story; Edwin jabs, land combinations behind it, and dodges or blocks everything George throws at him. Honestly, this is just a repeat of the last few rounds. George finally lands a hard right, but Rodriguez seems unfazed. George swinging huge at the bell to no avail. 88-83 Rodriguez.
Round Ten: Nice counter right from Edwin as the two begin swinging big. George trying to just hurl everything he has, but Edwin ties him up. Rodriguez now has the jab working again and he lands hard rights low and high. Clinch. George now hurling with all his might and gets slightly stumbled by a left hook. George putting absolutely everything on the line now, but the defense of Edwin is just airtight. Brave effort from George, but sadly in vain as he gets clocked with a left and the bell rings. Nice performance from Rodriguez, who should take this 98-92.
Final Result: 96-94, 99-91, 97-93 for the winner, Edwin 'Rodriguez