by Rick Reeno
Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas - Sergio Martinez (50-2-2, 29KOs) dominated Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (46-1-1, 32KOs) for nearly eleven rounds of action. But in the twelfth, Chavez dropped and came close to stopping Martinez. The scores were 118-109, 118-109 and 117-110, giving Martinez the twelve round unanimous decision and the WBC middleweight title.
The first round was very slow, with Chavez not doing much or anything. Chavez started to pick things up with very hard body shots in the second. Martinez came roaring back in the third and he was outhustling the young champion with movement and quick accurate punches. Chavez had no answers in the fourth and fifth, allowing Martinez to take control with hard punches and sheer activity.
Chavez started off well in the sixth, landing hard shots to the head and going back to the body. But Martinez stole the round with a boxing clinic in the final minute, landing combinations at will to bust Chavez up.
Martinez dominated the seventh round. Chavez tried to rally in the final thirty seconds, but Martinez was firing right back. Chavez had limited moments of success in the eight, but not enough of them to gain a point with the judges.
The ninth round action was controlled by Martinez, but he suffered a cut above the left eye and his face was started to swell a bit. The tenth round was more Martinez, but his pace began to slow down. He was still moving very well and outboxing Chavez, who wasn't throwing enough punches.
Chavez's big mistake in this fight was the lack of consistent pressure and activity. There were several rounds that he gave away on silver platter. The eleventh was a back and forth war. Martinez started strong, with Chavez taking over around the middle of the round with punches to the head and body, and then Martinez coming back with numerous combinations to send the crowd into a frenzy. The twelfth and final round saw Chavez stalking and Martinez staying away, but Chavez manged to land some very hard shots when the Argentine boxer stood his ground to exchange.
In the final minute of the twelfth, the entire arena went crazy as Chavez land several hard punches to drop Martinez, who was seriously hurt and in real trouble. Chavez tried to finish him off, but he couldn't put him away before the final bell as over 19,000 fans were standing on their feet.