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Xavier Martinez survives two knockdowns, outpoints Claudio Marrero in WBA eliminator

24
Oct

As a ten-year ring veteran, Claudio Marrero came into the Mohegan Sun Casino intending to take the 22-year-old Xavier Martinez into deep waters. Marrero did just that, scoring two knockdowns in round eight, but Martinez showed he could swim pretty well, finishing the fight strongly to win a unanimous decision Saturday night in Uncasville, Conn.

All three judges scored the for Martinez (16-0, 11 knockouts), with one judge scoring the WBA junior lightweight title eliminator 115-111 while the other two had it 114-112. Marrero (24-5, 17 KOs), who was making his 130-pound debut, suffers his fourth loss in his last six fights.

“I got the will to win. I didn’t want to lose,” said Martinez. “I wasn’t going to go down like that. I wanted to show everybody that even though I got dropped I could come back and win it.”

The fight was the c0-feature to the Showtime Boxing card headlined by Sergey Lipinets vs. Custio Clayton.



Marrero, 31, of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic started the third round strongly, putting his punches together with both hands, backing Martinez up. Nothing landed too cleanly, and Martinez came back to land heavy shots on Marrero along the ropes. Despite having four previous losses, Marrero didn’t come to lose, and would come out of his corner throwing to test the younger fighter.

The difference in power began to show up on the face of Marrero in round six, as swelling developed under both of his eyes. Martinez, who is trained out of his hometown of Sacramento, Calif. by Ray Woods, the stepfather of the late Diego Corrales, began to bust up the southpaw by tripling up right hands, then finishing up his punches to the body.

Marrero remained game throughout, even shouting “Beautiful, papi!” after Martinez ended the seventh with a heavy-handed flurry to end the seventh.

The following round, Marrero made his move. Twenty seconds into the round, Marrero threw a left hand to the body and followed with a right hand over the top ala Manny Pacquiao, dropping Martinez for the first time in his career. Martinez rose up, but was still buzzed, and found himself down a second time from an accumulation of punches. Martinez showed a lot of grit to survive the round, but it didn’t look promising for him, since he’d never fought past the eighth before.

Still, Martinez showed he had serious determination, bouncing back in the final four rounds, as it was the more experienced Marrero who failed to capitalize on his success.

In the broadcast opener, Malik Hawkins suffered the first defeat of his pro career, losing by seventh round stoppage to Subriel Matias.

From the outset, Hawkins (18-1, 11 KOs) of Baltimore, Md. appeared to lack any snap to his punches, at least in comparison to Matias (16-1, 16 KOs) of Fajardo, Puerto Rico, who was swinging with full power in each shot. Matias buzzed Hawkins in round three, and continued to chip away at Hawkins, puffing his eyes and causing concern among the ringside officials.

Matias scored the only knockdown of the fight in round six, landing with a shot on top of the head that put Hawkins down for a count. Hawkins survived, but was outlanded 24-0 in power punches in the stanza. The ringside doctor had decided he had enough the following round, and instructed the referee to stop the fight.

With the win, Matias rebounds after his first loss to Petros Ananyan in February. Hawkins, who is four years younger than Matias at 24, was fighting for the first time since overcoming a potentially life-threatening kidney ailment.

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