One man in Saturday’s junior middleweight warm-up for the Showtime main event, Jermell Charlo, had never faced anyone as good as his opponent, and didn’t exactly rise to the occasion. The other man, Vanes Martirosyan, has always been inconsistent and was again. They pecked at one another for 10 inconclusive rounds, with the judges siding with Charlo, the “house” fighter.
Martirosyan was in charge early, the more aggressive of the two, in as far as that word could apply to anyone. He went to the body, fired counter left hooks and kept Charlo on the defensive. But Charlo would occasionally unleash reverse 1-2s, leading with the right hand and then jabbing. It wasn’t until the middle rounds that he did much of anything, finally turning up the heat with his jab and forcing Martirosyan back on the defensive.
In the 8th, an apparent head butt unseen by the camera left Martirosyan with a left eye that he said he couldn’t open and that left his vision “very blurry.” The ring doctor wasn’t getting what he wanted from Martirosyan on this, but, in an apparent bid to circumvent the microphones, talked into Martirosyan’s ear that if he could see at all, he’d let it continue. Martisosyan responded with new aggression, while Charlo had little luck targeting the damaged eye, and by the final rounds, Martirosyan seemed to say to himself, “Wait a minute, I could hit him to the body before, maybe I should do it again!”
This writer had it six rounds to four for Martirosyan, who was busier than Charlo but not busy enough. Few of the rounds were definitive for either man.
It’s hard to say anyone’s fortunes change from the judges having scored it 97-93, 96-94 and 96-94 again for Charlo. Martirosyan has had a million second chances and apparently has an infinite supply. Charlo has never really thrilled anyone and didn’t Saturday. If nothing else, boxing adviser Al Haymon retains a couple names for the 154-pound mix, not that anyone is probably especially eager to see these two stay in it.
(Photo of Charlo punching Martirosyan via @shosports on Twitter)