In a shocking turn of events in the feature bout of PBC on ESPN Wednesday at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona, Aron Martinez scored an upset unanimous decision victory over former world champion Devon Alexander.
The action did not start off stellar for either fighter.
Alexander worked behind his straight left hand and Martinez, who appeared to be testing the waters, came forward to attack the body.
However, the spurt of action in that round dissipated into unstimulating romance, and referee Wes Melton issued plenty of warnings.
Boos filled the arena as holding, head-butts, rabbit punches, and hugging was the theme for the opening half as nothing of substance was making any chairs exhibit Newton’s Laws of Motion.
It was not until the fifth round when Alexander trapped Martinez on the ropes and had himself his best round of the night.
Alexander connected on 27 punches, but went dormant for the rest of the evening, as Martinez took control from the sixth round with his relentless pressure and precise uppercuts.
Something changed in Alexander’s demeanor in the sixth round which gave the impression that he was in some discomfort.
At the conclusion of the seventh, Alexander got an earful from trainer Kevin Cunningham as his fighter wasn’t following the gameplan, not taking advantage of Martinez being in front of him, and not sticking and sliding like he trained to do.
Alexander alluded to the blood that was trickling into his eye, but Cunningham wasn’t buying it as he yelled, “It’s a fight!”
Martinez caught Alexander with a left hook early in the eighth, and followed it up with a big right hand when Alexander was trapped on the ropes.
Having been out of the ring for almost a year following his unanimous decision defeat to Amir Khan last December, it seemed that the magic charm took a nosedive.
In the 10th and final round, Martinez out-landed Alexander 21-13 in power shots to close the show.
The judges awarded Martinez with scored of 96-94, and two scores of 97-93.
The battle-tested Martinez improves to 20-4-1 with four knockouts while the 28-year-old Alexander may have to think considerably about his future as he drops to 26-4 with 14 knockouts and has lost three of his last four fights.
Alexander was clearly disappointed, but not completely discouraged.
“I wanted to be smart and aggressive in there tonight, and that’s what I did.
“He was coming in fast like we knew he would. We knew he was going to come forward. I just couldn’t get my shots off like I wanted to.
“Consecutive losses are tough, but I’m not easily discouraged. I just need to regroup and then we’ll see what’s next. I’m still considered one of the best.”
A very delighted Martinez credited following the game plan as well as sparring with heavier fighters in preparation for the fight.
“I’m the heavier guy. I’ve always fought at 147 lbs. This is my natural weight and I sparred against much bigger guys during the last few weeks of training camp. I was facing fast 180 lb. fighters in camp to get ready for this.
“We followed our game plan tonight I give [Alexander] props for standing in there with me.
“Fighting on a PBC card on ESPN is the best kind of opportunity for me. I’ll use this fight to get another great chance like I got tonight.
“I’ll fight whoever they put in front of me. I’m always the underdog, but I embrace it because that mentality has pushed me to work harder.”