By Jake Donovan
His failure to make weight denied Aalan Martinez the regional title at stake for his Telemundo-televised main event with Charlie Serrano. However, the visiting fighter's will was enough to take a decision on the road at the A La Carte Event Pavilion.
Scores were 115-113 (twice) and 117-111 in a hard-fought, though at times awkward, battle that was originally billed as a regional featherweight title fight. The belt was on the line only for Serrano, a local favorite who did his job by making the divisional limit during Thursday's weigh-in.
Martinez wasn't nearly as professional, missing weight by six pounds. The occurrence was shades of scale drama just two weeks in a different part of Florida, when the oft-vilified Joan Guzman disgracefully showed up more than eight pounds heavy for his planned Telemundo main event with Vicente Mosquera.
That fight never happened, as Mosquera wound up facing Cosme Rivera in their makeshift main event two weeks ago. Despite his own scale follies yesterday, Martinez was permitted to proceed with Friday's main event, though not before paying a hefty fine and the lost opportunity to leave the ring with alphabet hardware.
Instead, the 30-year old leaves with his first win in more than a year.
Size could have very well played a factor in the contest, as the taller and heavier Martinez was able to impose his will on the slicker Serrano. Neither fighter was in danger of being stopped despite the two remaining at close quarters throughout. The action was surprisingly free-flowing despite the number of headbutts and clinches over the course of the 12-round affair.
Momentum went back and forth, but Martinez was able to pull away in the second half of the contest, as evidenced on the scorecards. The suggestion that the Mexican southpaw won nine out of 12 rounds didn't accurately portray what took place in the ring, though matching scores of 115-113 was much closer to the truth.
Martinez advances to 15-2-1 (10KO) with the win, bouncing back from his humiliating 6th round knockout to Orlando Cruz earlier this year. That bout also took place in Florida and on Telemundo. While Cruz advances to a major title shot later this year against former champ Orlando Salido, the rebuilding continues for Martinez, whose lone other loss came against Evgeny Gradovich, now a featherweight titlist.
Serrano did his best to make his hometown fans proud, playing the A La Carte for the 17th time in his young career. The 25-year old came up short in the end, as his record is now 15-4-1 (4KO), with just his second loss at this venue.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as the Records Keeper for the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and a member of Boxing Writers Association of America.