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Straight Left

By Ron Galarpe

Martinez is One Serious Tough Fight for Gerry
21 Oct 2006

Gerry Peņalosa of the Philippines and Mauricio Martinez of Panama have one common denominator in their careers and that is against former WBO bantamweight titlist Ratanachai Sor Vorapin of Thailand. Peņalosa won over the Thai via 6th round TKO, while in contrast, it was a majority decision loss for Martinez against one of the current best boxers in Thailand.

But it seems common sense will tell us that Gerry’s win over the boxer that victimized his upcoming Panamanian opponent cannot be a clear gauge that Gerry will automatically hurdle Martinez’ challenge. For one, Gerry’s fight with Sor Vorapin is now past 6 years. On the other hand, Martinez’ loss to Sor Vorapin that happened only last year of August was criticized as another hometown decision made in Thailand.

Boxing pundits believed that Peņalosa and Martinez are in the same boat at this stage of their careers. With both fighters now in their 30’s, time is not on either side and that they are just seeking for that one last surge for big bucks and recognition before hanging up their gloves. But still, veterans are veterans and regardless of their age, it is clear Peņalosa and Martinez are still two of the best bantamweight boxers in the world right now.

Mauricio Martinez, 31, is now on his 11th year in the ring. With his 31-6, 21 KOs record, he has decorated himself as a fighter. Martinez held the Panamanian title, the WBO-NABO title, the WBC Fecarbox, the WBA Fedecentro and his latest, the WBO Latino title. Winning the WBO bantamweight title is the major one for Martinez’ resume.

Martinez’ record is not grossly padded unlike others. Fact is Martinez during his early 20’s was already pitted against older veterans like Freddie Norwood and Hector Aceo Sanchez from whom he suffered loses. But he passed with flying colors against battle-scared veterans like fellow Panamanian achiever Juan Antonio Torres whom he TKOed in the 10th and stopping highly regarded Oscar Maldonado where many boxing experts believed was a surprising upset.

Martinez suffered loses to top fighters Cruz Carbajal, Genaro Garcia and Ratanachai Sor Vorapin. However, there are more worthy stories than the final results.

Against Carbajal, Martinez was defending his WBO belt for the second time but he was coming from a 15-month long layoff. As a result, Carbajal stopped him in the 9th. Observers saw a different and rusty Martinez, which enabled Carbajal to dominate from start to finish.

Genaro Garcia is a long-time highly regarded bantamweight and is now ranked 6th best bantamweight by the Ring Magazine. One of his exploits was a win over current P4P bantamweight Rafa Marquez and is currently the #1 WBC contender. But Martinez proved he is just in the league of Garcia when they met. It was a highly competitive fight but Garcia was more aggressive in the early goings to lead ahead on points. As the fight went on, Martinez managed to find his rhythm and made the fight looked close. In the last round, Martinez kept his rally and wobbled Garcia with solid left and right combinations. Garcia held on for dear life and survived Martinez’ assault. Garcia won by a UD but not after saying in the interview, “Look at my face, this was a true war. This was a very tough fight but I was very prepared and that is why I kept coming and coming.”

Against Sor Vorapin for the WBO bantamweight belt, the boxing media were divided in their view of the fight. says it's Sor Vorapin but Maxboxing said it was the other way around. The actual result of the match was a majority decision for the Thai, which should give us enough idea that the fight could have gone either way. In fact, Martinez almost floored the champion in the first round and was the only one who managed to dominate clearly a one whole round, which was round eight. The 12th and final round even went clearly to Martinez. Two judges scored it 116-112 to Sor Vorapin who were obviously watching a different fight but Filipino judge Salven Lagumbay saw it a 114-114 draw.

Mauricio Martinez recently joined the Sycuan Ringside Promotions. The San Diego-based boxing outfit was happy to add another world-class fighter into their fold, which already list top warriors Carlos Baldomir, Israel Vasquez and Joan Guzman.

When he signed up with Sycuan Promotions, Martinez was quoted saying, “I'm going to be a world champion again, I'm hungry and I'm stronger than ever. Signing with Sycuan Ringside Promotions is the opportunity of my lifetime, and I won't be stopped.”

Martinez is currently ranked WBO #1, WBA #3 and IBF #8. With Martinez’ lofty billing, a Gerry Peņalosa win is surely a step towards a title fight.

While Gerry Peņalosa is looking for that last world title belt, this weekend would not be a walk in the park for the Filipino who is known for his amazing technical skills. With Martinez being a southpaw, taller with longer reach, has a decent power in his class, has the skills of a veteran, proven to have an untiring work rate and also looking for that one last glory, Gerry definitely has a big job to overcome.

Tomas Rojas gave Gerry some serious problems but the concession is that Martinez is definitely in a higher league than Rojas. Indeed a very tough fight for Gerry.

I guess it will be Martinez’ power and aggression versus Gerry’s boxing skills.

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