Xavier Martinez Defeats Claudio Marrero By Unanimous Decision
In what was the toughest fight of his career, Xavier Martinez (16-0, 12 KOs) overcame two knockdowns to capture a close unanimous decision win 115-111, 114-112 (twice) over Claudio Marrero (24-5, 17 KOs) in a WBA World Super Featherweight eliminator at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Facing an experienced southpaw who can punch in Marrero, Martinez was patient early on. The 22-year-old from Sacramento, California was studying his opponent. He was not reckless in there as he did a good job of applying the right amount of pressure, throwing meaningful punches while at the same time keeping defensively responsible.
Marrero’s straight left hand is a powerful weapon. And his main focus during the first four rounds was to get in the best position to connect with that left. The action was intense and both men were fighting hard and landing with shots. It was just that Martinez was a little more accurate and precise.
COMPETITIVE ALL THE WAY
The middle rounds saw Martinez continue to show patience, which was smart on his part because the longest he has gone in any of his previous fights was eight rounds. But Marrero continued to be a dangerous dog, whipping the left hand whenever possible.
Then suddenly in round eight, the power of Marrero struck. Twenty seconds into the round, he connected with a beautiful right hook that hurt and put his opponent on the deck. Moments later, Martinez went down for a second time in the round as a result of a fusillade of punches. Marrero went for the finish, but Martinez was able to bite down and survive the round.
In what can only be described as a strange tactic, Marrero decided to box during the last three rounds. It was confounding he did not attempt to carry the momentum he gained in the eighth. Instead of charging ahead, he played the role of the Matador, which ultimately cost him on the scorecards.
This will serve as a learning experience for Martinez. While he got the win and is now in the position to fight for the WBA World Super-Featherweight title at some point, he still has some work to do. For Marrero, you would have to figure once he looks at replays of the fight, he will kick himself for what was a missed opportunity.
By: Michael Wilson Jr.