Xavier Martinez was forced to go the distance in a grueling affair for the second straight fight.
The unbeaten junior lightweight contender once again prevailed, this time in a 10-round unanimous decision over three-time title challenger Juan Carlos Burgos. Judges Rudy Barragan, Dr. Lou Moret and Don Deverges all scored the contest 99-91 for Martinez, though in a fight deemed much closer by the passionate crowd at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
Burgos went against the scouting report in the opening round, immediately taking the fight to an undefeated opponent 10 years his junior. The 33-year-old Tijuana native accepted the bout on short notice in place of countryman Abraham Montoya, abandoning his normal crafty style of boxing to force an intense pace. Martinez welcomed the fight at close quarters, riding out Burgos’ volume punching to connect with right hands.
Action continued at a fierce pace in round two, one where Martinez threw and landed in combination. Burgos continued to come forward, Martinez allowing the approach and drawing the veteran boxer to the ropes where both fighters ripped off rapid fire combinations.
Burgos solved the shoulder roll style defense attempted by Martinez, who settled down into a more conventional approach in round three. Martinez threw a crisp jab while cognizant of the incoming, though it didn’t discourage Burgos from letting his hands go.
Round four saw Burgos take the lead and attempt to work the body. Martinez did well to defend against most of the incoming, picking off body shots with his elbows though his defense left open long enough to catch a left hook upstairs.
Martinez turned the tide in round five, outworking his elder foe. Burgos showed remarkable resilience and stamina in maintaining the hectic pace, though it was Martinez who landed the more telling blows.
After an uncomfortable round six where he briefly found himself trapped along the ropes, Martinez enjoyed a dominant round seven. Burgos continued to fight at close quarters, though began to show signs of fatigue. Martinez turned up the heat late in the ring, connecting with a straight right hand which briefly had Burgos hurt.
Martinez remained a step ahead in round eight, a frame where Burgos was urged to press the action for fear that he was falling well behind on the scorecards. Martinez fought well off of the ropes, avoiding most of Burgos’ punches and countering with a right uppercut in the final minute of the round.
With two rounds to go, it became clear that Burgos—as valiant and relentless was his effort—needed to land a bomb to turn the tide. Martinez was composed in the pocket, crashing home lefts and straight rights as Burgos showed significant swelling around his left eye. Burgos’ attack noticeably slowed in the final minute, while Martinez continued to land in combination.
Burgos went for broke in the 10th and final round, throwing a pair of combinations to Martinez’s body. Martinez bit down and immediately responded, driving Burgos to the ropes and landing a right hand and left hook. Burgos managed a counter shot but was forced to show bravado in the absence of defense as he waved in Martinez who continued to land with heavy shots.
Both boxers let their hands go down the stretch, much to the delight of the crowd at a site that adds another war to its young yet storied history.
Final Compubox statistics had Martinez landing 329-of-891 total punches (37%), compared to 261-of-830 (31%) for Burgos.
Martinez remains perfect as a pro as he improves to 17-0 (11KOs). The unbeaten contender hears the scorecards for the second straight time, having twice climbed off the canvas to outpoint Claudio Marrero last October at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Burgos falls to 34-5-2 (21KOs) with the defeat, the third in his last four starts. His other defeats all came to world champions and rising contenders, falling short versus Mikey Garcia and Hozumi Hasegawa in title fights and to Devin Haney and Hector Tanajara while both were on the rise.
The bout aired live on Showtime, opening a televised tripleheader topped by a 122-pound two-belt title fight between Luis Nery (31-0, 24KOs) and Brandon Figueroa (21-0-1, 16KOs).
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox