Written by Rob Scott
Atlantic City — On April 17, 2010, Boardwalk Hall played host to 6,179 screaming fans as they witnessed Middleweight Championship history take place.
On this day Bob Arum’s, Top Rank, Inc., along with Lou Dibella’s, Dibella Entertainment brought Kelly “The Ghost” Pavlik vs. Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez for the WBC/WBO Middleweight championships.
Champion vs. Champion
Kelly Pavlik, who came in sporting a 36-1 (32KOs) record, was making the 4th defense of his 160lb titles.
With a record of 44-2-2 (24KOs), Martinez walked into the ring as the reigning WBC 154lb champion but was playing the role of the challenger on this night.
Excitement vs. Excitement
Going into the bout, Pavlik’s only blemish was a unanimous decision loss to Bernard Hopkins in a non-title one bout trek into the light heavyweight division.
However, at the middleweight limit, it was a different story.
With noted knockout wins over former champion, Jermain Taylor, Edison Miranda, Marco Antonio Rubio, to name a few, the Youngstown, OH native had developed a knockout middleweight reputation.
Martinez was making a return to AC, having just come off of a heated majority decision loss just four months earlier to the volume punching, Paul Williams, at Boardwalk Hall’s Adrian Phillips Theater.
The excitement brought in his bout with Williams was a precursor to what Martinez would bring against Pavlik.
Expect The Unexpected
Both fighters came to fight on this evening, but it was Martinez who stepped up to the challenge and wouldn’t be denied.
From the start, Martinez put forth an awkward style that offset and caused problems for Pavlik. The Argentinean’s speed, movement, and all-around ring generalship made it hard for Pavlik to land his power shots, while a cut left eyebrow sustained in the first round only added to the hill climb that Pavlik would endure.
Pavlik scored a flash knockdown in round seven, mostly caused by both fighters getting their feet tied-up, but it was Martinez who still had control.
Moving and potshotting the defending champion throughout, by round nine the wound over Pavlik’s eye served as a target for Martinez, eventually opening up and bleeding profusely.
With blood flowing, it made it even harder for Pavlik who found it increasingly harder to see punches coming.
And The New Middleweight Champion
Throughout this point, Pavlik was still a very dangerous fighter, but Martinez’s corner eventually saw a wounded man in the defending champ and instructed their fighter to go in for the kill. However the tough Pavlik persevered and lasted the entire fight with the decision being a foregone conclusion
With scores of 112-115, 111-115 and 111-116, Martinez was declared the winner and new WBC/WBO Middleweight Champion.
In the post-fight interviews, Pavlik admitted that it was Martinez’s hand and foot speed that was the deciding factor in his loss. Not being able to catch Martinez with any meaningful shots to slow him down played a significant role in this title loss as well.
Another Great Boxing Night In AC
You win some, you lose some, but on this night, like so many others before and after, served as yet another great night for Atlantic City Boxing History.
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