NEW YORK (March 17, 2012) – Before a house filled with Irishmen celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, World Middleweight Champion Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez scored a dramatic come-from-behind knockout of a game Matthew “Mack the Knife” Macklin Saturday night in the Theater at Madison Square Garden.
“THE REAL Middleweight Championship – Get Your Irish Up,” presented by DiBella Entertainment, provided fireworks on HBO and a strong Fight of the Year candidate in the main event. The 37-year-old Martinez (49-2-2, 28 KOs) got off the canvas, albeit from a controversial knockdown, in the seventh and then dropped Macklin twice at the end of the 11th round. Referee Eddie Cotton halted the action on the advice of Macklin’s corner.
“It was a complicated fight,” Martinez explained. “He wasn’t open on defense. I knew it was a 12-round fight. I knew that it was only a matter of time. It’s like chopping a tree – little by little – and I knew he would fall.”
“My right hand to chest, straight punch to the chest, was working for me,” Macklin commented. “It was hard for him to nail me. He didn’t think I could box smart.
“Buddy stopped the fight, I wanted to continue. (Macklin’s co-promoter Brian Peters said, ‘We called it in the corner. There are more days.’) I worked with Buddy on technical things. He polished me but I resorted back in the last two or three rounds. We only had 10 weeks working together (for the first time) to fight the best middleweight in the world.”
In the “Bombs Away” co-feature, undefeated IBF #3 Edwin “La Bomba” Rodriguez (21-0, 14 KOs) defeated tough Don “Da Bomb” George (22-2, 19 KOs) in the opening bout on HBO. Rodriguez proved to be more skilled during the 10-round bout for George’s USBA title. The Worcester, Mass. fighter won a unanimous decision by scores of 99-91, 97-93, 96-94.
“I feel great,” Dominican-native Rodriguez said after the fight. “I feel tired but happy. Ronnie (Shields, head trainer) gave me a 10 tonight. Since I’ve been with Ronnie, we’ve been working on my defensive game and boxing. I’m showing another dimension. I don’t think I have to go out there for three minutes every round throwing bombs. I still need to improve but, overall, I was pleased with my performance.”
Russian heavyweight Magomed Abdusalamov remained perfect, extending his pro record to 14-0 with his 14th knockout, coming against previously unbeaten Jason Pettaway (11-1, 8 KOs) in the fourth round for the vacant World Boxing Council Silver Championship.New York fan favorite Seanie Monaghan ran his undefeated record to 13-0 (8 KOs) with a six-round decision against light heavyweight Eric Watkins (6-2).
Japanese junior middleweight champion Charlie Ota (20-1-1, 14 KOs), making his U.S. debut in his hometown, registered a seventh round technical knockout over Gundrick King (16-8, 11 KOs)
Popular Kevin “Kid” Rooney (4-1, 2 KOs) made quick order of Anthony Shuff (0-1), stopping him at 1:27 of the first round, and then went to work as publicist for DiBella Entertainment.
Chicago junior welterweight Carl McNickles (57-55, 57-55, 56-56) took a six-round decision from Danny McDermott. Irish heavyweight Thomas Hardwick (5-0, 2 KOs) kept his unbeaten record intact, dropping TJ Gibson (1-2) once en route to a unanimous four-round decision.
MAIN EVENT – MIDDLEWEIGHTS
Sergio Martinez (49-2-2, 28 KOs), Oxnard, CA/Buenos Aires, Argentina
Mathew Macklin (28-4, 19 KOs), Birmingham, UK
(Martinez retained World Middleweight title)
CO-FEATURE – SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHTS
Edwin Rodriguez (21-0, 14 KOs), Worcester, MA.
WDEC10 (99-91, 97-93, 96-94.
Donovan George (22-2, 19 KOs), Chicago, IL
(Rodriguez won USBA Super Middleweight title)
Magomed Abdusalmov (14-0, 14 KOs), Oxnard, CA
Jason Pettaway (11-1, 8 KOs), Huntington, WV
(Abdusalmov won vacant WBC Silver title)
Thomas Hardwick (5-0, 2 KOs), Yonkers, NY/Dublin, Ireland
WDEC4 (39-35, 39-35, 39-35)
TJ Gibson (1-2), Duluth, MN
Seannie Monaghan (13-0, 8 KOs), Long Beach, NY
WDEC6 (60-54, 59-55, 59-55
Eric Watkins (6-2, 2 KOs), Morgantown, WV
Kevin Rooney (4-1, 1 KO), Catskills, NY
Anthony Shuff (0-2), Reidville, NC
Charlie Ota (20-1-1, 14 KOs), Tokyo, Japan/NY, NY
Gundrick King (16-8, 11 KOs), Tuscaloosa, AL
Carl McNickles (7-3, 6 KOs), Chicago, IL
WDEC6 (57-55, 57-55, 56-56)
Danny McDermott (9-3-2, 4 KOs), Jersey City, NJ