It was a squeaker, one way or the other, Wednesday’s main event on ESPN — but the “house” fighter hardly ever loses that kind, and that’s just what happened when the one-dimensional yet tough Aaron Martinez decisioned a fast-fading Devon Alexander.
It was an ugly welterweight match-up; Alexander held relentlessly, underdog Martinez smashed his noggin into Alexander’s constantly. But Alexander was having his way against the squared-up, downhill Martinez. Eventually, though, Martinez became less sitting duck and more steamroller, and Alexander stopped doing much other than moving backward and throwing punches sometimes. Trainer Kevin Cunningham complained between rounds that Alexander wasn’t following the game plan — stick, move, turn — and didn’t look mentally like he was there. (Alexander, harkening back to his infamous loss to Bradley, complained of feeling blood behind his eye.)
It was two fights — first half Alexander, second half Martinez, each with competitive rounds in the other man’s half. When the scorecards read 96-94, 97-93 and 97-93, everyone thought Alexander would get the call. Nope.
Alexander now feels ages removed from one of the brightest prospects in the sport and a boxer who was one of the best young American contenders. He still seemed to have something left after losing his showdown against the similarly-situated Bradley in 2011, but he’s now lost three of his last four. Two of those losses were tough calls coming in, so that’s understandable. Losing to Martinez, while looking lost at times, seems a death knell for his days as any kind of contender.
Martinez seems like the kind of guy who could give a lot of other guys tough fights, but he now has gotten ahold of two former contenders on a slide, and that has helped. He didn’t get the win against Robert Guerrero. He did against Alexander, and it’s easy to be happy for him, especially since he took out a fighter who has spent a ton of time on the Internet saying hateful things about homosexuals.
On the undercard, featherweight contender Lee Selby (above right) had his hands full with crafty, undersized vet Fernando Montiel (left; via), who outsmarted him for many of the early rounds. Eventually, though, Montiel faded, and Selby’s youth took over. He won a clear unanimous decision. It’s starting to feel like with all the vulnerability Selby and Carl Frampton have shown, some kinda fight between the U.K. featherweight/junior featherweight trio of Selby, Frampton and Scott Quigg needs to happen soon before they get spoiled in a random loss.
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