HBO Boxing Preview: Sergio Martinez vs. Martin Murray, Arreola vs Stiverne
By: William Holmes
Now that Golden Boy Promotions and Showtime have an exclusive arrangement between each other, and NBC Sports Network has joined the boxing fray, you will get to see quality fighters on HBO that might have never previously had the opportunity to showcase their skills in front of the United States audience.
Martin Murray and Luis Carlos Abregu are two fighter who have had limited TV exposure but will get an opportunity on Saturday night. The heavyweight division is also starting to get more exposure and Chris Arreola and Bermane Stiverne will do battle in a WBC Heavyweight eliminator.
HBO on Saturday night will televise two fights from Buenos Aires, Argentina including middleweight kingpin Sergio Martinez, and the heavyweight matchup from Ontario California.
The following is a preview of all three televised bouts.
Luis Carlos Abregu (34-1) vs. Antonin Decarie (27-1); Welterweights
The hard hitting Argentinean Luis Carlos Abregu has recently been signed by Top Rank Promotions and will be fighting in his home country on Saturday night.
His only loss came in 2010 against the undefeated Timothy Bradley, but he has since rebounded nicely and has scored five straight stoppages, including a 8th round TKO against the then undefeated Thomas Dulorme in 2012. He was active in 2012 and fought three times, twice in Argentina.
He’s stopped 28 of his opponents and is a welterweight to keep a close eye on. Top Rank only signs fighters with a high ceiling and Abregu is one of those fighters, though he should be on the fast track for a title shot since he only has a few years of his athletic prime left. He’s defeated the likes of Dulorme, Richard Gutierrez, and David Estrada. His most recent victory over Dulorme is by far his most impressive victory to date.
His opponent, Antonin Decarie, has spent most of his career fighting in Canada and is nowhere near as powerful a puncher as Abregu. He’s only stopped eight of his opponents, including his most recent fight, a TKO victory over the then undefeated Alex Perez.
Decaire will be slightly shorter than Abregu, and he’s faced significantly weaker opponents and the majority of them in his home country of Canada. His lone loss came in 2010 when he traveled to France to face Souleymane M’baye, a fight he lost by a close decision.
Decarie has a good record, but he’s not on the same level as Abregu. Look for Abregu to excite the Argentinean crowd and score an early stoppage.
Sergio Martinez (50-2-2) vs. Martin Murray (25-0-1); WBC Middleweight Title
Sergio Martinez is by far the best middleweight in the world, but his chin can be tested as Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. proved in September of 2012 by rocking him in the last round despite being thoroughly dominated by Martinez through most of the fight.
Martinez is a small for the middleweight division and will be giving up some size to Murray. Martinez is also 38 years old and his athletic ability is likely to taper off sooner than later.
Martinez doesn’t have the amateur background that most champions possess, but his professional record proves that he’s one of the top pound for pound fighters in the world. He’s defended his title five times since winning it against Kelly Pavlik in 2010 and he’s defeated the likes of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Matthew Macklin, Darren Barker, Serhiy Dzinziruk, and Paul Williams.
His only losses were a disputed decision loss to Paul Williams in 2009 and to Antonio Margarito early in his career in 2000. Martinez is clearly the best middleweight in the world and many view Martin Murray as a tune up fight to a bigger payday fight in the near future.
Murray has never been defeated but he lacks any real punching power. He’s only stopped eleven of his opponents, and with the exception of one fight he’s spent his entire career fighting in the United Kingdom.
His only real test came against Felix Sturm in 2011 that resulted in a split draw. Most of his opponents were inexperienced and untested. Murray did win the prizefighter tournament and won the ABA Welterweight championship in 2004 as an amateur.
Murray is signed by Hatton Promotions and Ricky Hatton believes Murray can upset Martinez. Ricky Hatton is one of the few that believe that. It’s unlikely the judges in Argentina will give close rounds to Murray and Murray doesn’t have the power necessary to stop Martinez. Martinez should coast to victory but he should be cautious since Murray did surprise many by giving Felix Sturm a close fight.
Cristobal Arreola (35-2) vs. Bermane Stiverne (22-1); WBC Heavyweight Eliminator
Of the three fights being televised on Saturday this fight is the most likely to end by stoppage.
Arreola has thirty stoppages to his record and Stiverne has twenty. They’ve both stopped four of their last five opponents. It’s highly unlikely that this fight will make it all twelve rounds.
Arreola has had a chance at the heavyweight title twice before and he came up short both times. He lost to Vitali Klitschko in 2009 and Tomasz Adamek in 2010. But when he’s faced opponents that he’s supposed to beat he usually does so in spectacular fashion. Arreola hasn’t lost since 2010 but it’s been against marginal opponents. Throughout his career he’s defeated the lieks of Joey Abell, Nagy Aguilera, Eric Molina, Jameel McCline, Travis Walker, and Chazz Witherspoon.
Arreola also has amateur experience, he won the National Golden Gloves in the light heavyweight division in 2001. Stiverne also has amateur experience, but he has more international amateur experience than Chris Arreola. As an amateur he defeated the likes of Robert Helenius and David Price.
Stiverne is two years older than Arreola and will be the same height inside the ring. This will likely be Stiverne only legitimate chance to fight for a title if he is victorious on Saturday. This will also likely be Don King’s last chance at glory as Bermane Stiverne is one of the few top rated fighters left in his stable.
Stiverne has good look record that’s paper thin. He has not fought anywhere near the quality of opposition that Arreola has faced. Stiverne was last on television against Ray Austin in 2011 and won by 10th round TKO but was not impressive in his victory. He only fought once in 2012 and it will a whole year since he’s been inside the ring.
Besides Ray Austin, his most notable victory was a 2nd round stoppage over the then undefeated Kertson Manswell in 2011. Manswell has since gone on to lose six more times.
This fight will be a slugfest, but Arreola has the experience and power to stop Stiverne and ending the title hopes of another one of Don King’s fighters.