By Jake Donovan
A massive crowd was on hand in Buenos Aires to attend Friday's weigh-in ahead of this weekend's middleweight championship between Sergio Martinez and Martin Murray.
Both fighters came in under the 160 lb. middleweight limit for Saturday's HBO-televised main event. Martinez (50-2-2, 28KO), who defends his crown for the sixth time, was a ripped and ready 159.4 lb, while the unbeaten Murray (25-0-1, 11KO) tipped the scales at 159.6 lb.
The bout marks Martinez' first fight in his native Argentina in more than 11 years. The 38-year southpaw continues to improve with age, and is coming off of a dominant points win over previously unbeaten Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. last September. The moment marked Martinez' arrival as a boxing superstar; the event drew a huge crowd in Las Vegas and pulled in 600,000 pay-per-vew buys.
While Chavez Jr. drew in the crowd, the 40,000 or so that will be in attendance for Saturday's middleweight clash speaks largely to Martinez' current celebrity status in the sport and particularly at home.
Murray takes part in his second title fight, having fought to a controversial draw with Felix Sturm on the road in Germany in Dec. 2011. The traveling Brit was in line to face Chavez Jr. last June, but visa issues prevented the fight from materializing.
In the televised co-feature, Luis Abregu squares off against Antonin Decaire in a 12-round welterweight bout. Both fighters came in right at the divisional limit of 147 lb.
Both bouts will air live on HBO as part of a split-site tripleheader Saturday evening. The other leg of the show takes place in Ontario, California, where Chris Arreola and Bermane Stiverne collide in a heavyweight elimination bout.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board, Yahoo Boxing Ratings Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox