By Robert Morales
LAS VEGAS - Too little, too late. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. of Mexico was dominated for the first 11 rounds Saturday in his middleweight title defense against Sergio Martinez of Argentina. Either Martinez got tired, or decided to please the house by going toe-to-toe with Chavez in the final round after out-boxing the son of the legend the first 11.
Chavez proceeded to deck Martinez in a vicious 12th, where both fighters were throwing punches with mean intentions even though they were obviously spent. But since Martinez had done so well most of the way, he was able to take the WBC middleweight belt from Chavez via unanimous decision before 19,186 at Thomas & Mack Center.
Judge Stanley Christodoulou scored it 117-110 and Adalaide Byrd and Dave Moretti both had it 118-109. This newspaper had Martinez winning 117-110.
Chavez's trainer, Freddie Roach, praised Martinez while at the same time saying his fighter could have done some things differently.
"His speed was the difference," Roach said of Martinez, 37. "I kept telling (Chavez) every round to go out and exchange with him. Chavez just couldn't catch him. I knew Martinez was good, but I didn't know how good.
"Chavez can do better. This is a good lesson for him. But he needed to let his hands go sooner. I told him before the 10th round he better start fighting or I was going to stop it."