On paper this was a mismatch. One of the pound-for-pound best in the world, Sergio Gabriel Martinez (51-2-2, 28) was facing the relatively unknown Martin Murray (25-1-1, 11) who although being the WBA "interim" Middleweight champion was relatively unknown on the international stage. Paper however doesn't have fights for us and instead we ended up with an enthralling and very evenly matched bout that saw neither man manage to enforce themselves for more than just a few rounds at a time.
The bout started slowly, with Murray using a high guard and blocking much of Martinez's attacks. Although Murray was defensively sound early on he really didn't through too much and was clearly behind on all 3 of the official cards at the 4 round point (which we knew due to the controversial open scoring that was in effect).
Following the slow start for Murray he started to let his hands go more and more through the middle rounds and found a home for his right hand which connected with an alarming success rate. The right hand and even the left hooks started to really make a dent in Martinez who was forced to feel the weight on Murray's shots and they appeared to shake him up several times before dropping him in round 7 as Murray started to overturn the early deficit on the cards.
Despite his excellent charge through the middle section of the fight Murray was still behind on the official cards by scores of 77-74 and 76-75 (twice). Unlike the score cards in the recent Austin Tout v Saul "Canelo" Alvarez fight knowing the scores here did somewhat reflect the bout and seemed to spur on the fighter who was behind, despite the fact he had a very quiet round 9.
In round 10 Martinez appeared to be dropped though the referee ruled it a slip, a call that would effectively cost Murray a 3-point swing in the round. Sadly for Murray he couldn't drop Martinez again in the final 2 rounds despite trying most notably in round 12. Had he done saw he may have managed to dethrone Martinez of the Middleweight crown, instead Martinez managed to retain his WBC title.
With a slippy canvas perhaps fighting in an outdoor arena with rain blowing on to the ring helped Murray though in all honesty Martinez, aged 38, appears to be at the end of the line. Murray put on a good performance don't get me wrong, but Martinez didn't look like the man who dominated Julio Cesar Chavez Jr for 11 rounds, he instead looked like an old man.
For Murray this was his gateway to bigger fights. Sure he may have lost but he has shown himself capable enough of mixing it with the best. As the WBA "interim" champion he really should be looking forward to the winner of the upcoming Gennady Golovkin v Matthew Macklin bout with the winner, the "WBA Regular" champion being the most obvious opponent for Murray.