Michel Rivera was expected to push Frank Martin. To some, he was viewed as the man that would derail his hype train. Martin didn’t say much. He simply stared a hole into the soul of the Dominican native whenever they faced off. When they did eventually swap fists, Martin (18-0, 12 KOs) always got the better of the exchanges, leading to a lopsided unanimous decision victory late last year.

Facing Artem Harutyunyan seemed to be a step in the wrong direction. He wasn’t as lauded. He also wasn't regarded as a true lightweight contender. None of that mattered. Martin promised to go about his business the way he always does. Yet, once the opening bell rang during their main event clash this past Saturday night, the 28-year-old fought listlessly.

Ultimately, Martin got the job done. It wasn’t pretty but his undefeated record remained intact. His 18th victory wasn’t exactly one that he was proud of. He was a step slow throughout and didn't appear nearly as powerful.

Patience has always been one of Martin’s greatest attributes. Laying back and getting into sniper mode has produced highlight-reel-level finishes. This time around, his self-restraint led to a weird and underwhelming performance.  

“I feel like I was sitting back a little too much,” Martin told a group of reporters. “Waiting a little too much.”

For the most part, Harutyunyan (12-1, 7 KOs) wasn't given much of a chance. His undefeated resume was thought to be unproven and his Olympic bronze medal was pushed aside and ignored. In short, the 32-year-old can box like few others. His under-the-radar skills placed Martin in a hirsute situation for the first time in his career.

When those final few seconds ticked off the clock, Martin, who scored a late knockdown, appeared despondent. He slinked to his corner and rested on the ropes. There was nothing confident about Martin’s demeanor. Even after he picked up the win, he remained apathetic.

All three judges scoring from ringside were in agreement that Martin did just enough to eke out the win. Steve Weisfeld had it 114-113, while both Tim Cheatham and Max DeLuca had it 115-112.

The win was salient and Martin appreciates that he was given the nod. Those close scorecards, however, is something he wholeheartedly disagrees with.  

“I don’t feel like it was that close.”