Martinez Unimpressive in Win Over Macklin; Diaz Challenges Suspension; UFC 146 Adds More
Article courtesy of the Associated Press
Sergio Martinez defeats Matthew Macklin to retain his middleweight belt.
NEW YORK — After slicing up Mack The Knife, Sergio Martinez wants his piece of a middleweight belt.
In a fight dubbed “Get Your Irish Up” on St. Patrick’s night, Martinez dominated Matthew Macklin in an action-packed bout and stopped him after 11 rounds Saturday. Macklin, an Englishman whose parents are Irish, was the clear favorite of the crowd at the Theater at Madison Square Garden, but Martinez was clearly the better fighter.
Sergio Martinez got off to another slow start Saturday, but he roared back with a flurry of left hands to leave Matthew Macklin bloodied and beaten by TKO after 11 rounds, writes Dan Rafael. Story
Although no major belts were at stake because of sanctioning issues, Martinez kept his reputation as the top middleweight in the world with a late surge. He decked the game but outmatched Macklin twice near the end of the 11th round, then Macklin’s corner asked referee Eddie Cotton to stop it before the 12th round began.
“It was the right thing to stop the fight,” Martinez said. “He will now have a tomorrow. He would not have had a tomorrow if they continued the fight.”
Martinez now is 49-2-2 with 28 knockouts. He struggled early and even had his glove touch the canvas for a knockdown in the seventh round after Macklin connected with an overhand right.
But that was Macklin’s final big punch as he fell to 28-4 and ended the fight on his stool, the blood from cuts on his face having stained his green trunks.
Now, Martinez wants one of the official championships; he had the WBC belt stripped early in 2011 without ever losing it in the ring. He targeted Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. as the logical opponent.
“I want the belt. Chavez has the belt,” he said. “I want a fight with the champion. I won it inside the ring, they took it, and I want to win it in the ring (again).”
He was dominant in the Garden ring for the final four rounds, looking anything but a 37-year-old fighter. Martinez was at his best as he bloodied Macklin.
The crowd of 4,671 featured a rooting section for Martinez waving Argentine flags that was dwarfed by the green-clad Macklin supporters. Macklin’s fans vigorously sang the Ireland national anthem, then were invigorated by Macklin’s strong early showing.
But Martinez’s experience began to show in the eighth round, and the bout never was close after that.
“It was about being a mature boxer. It was winning on his mistakes,” said Martinez, who like Macklin weighed 158 pounds.
“The better man won tonight. I thought it was a close fight up until the last few rounds when he pulled away,” Macklin said.
Macklin was ahead on one scorecard until Martinez closed him out. Through eight rounds, though, he was ahead on all three cards.
“I lost my shape a bit,” Macklin said. “I think I proved where I belong tonight and that is in the top two or three. I don’t think too many could give him this tough a fight.”
Martinez’s left-handed stance didn’t bother Macklin early, but when Martinez began connecting with lefty leads, it gave Macklin trouble. And after the quick but undamaging knockdown in the seventh, Martinez rallied with three straight sharp lefts to Macklin’s face.
By the 10th round, Macklin lost all pretense of attacking. He was holding on, trying to be defensive, and Martinez pounced.
In the 11th, Martinez carved up his opponent with a succession of lefts, and both knockdowns came on mammoth lefts.
“I knew he couldn’t handle that,” Martinez said.
On the undercard, super middleweight Edwin Rodriguez easily outpointed Don George for a unanimous 10-round decision. Nicknamed “La Bomba” — George is called “Da Bomb” — Rodriguez showed off his boxing skills, particularly his jab, in outclassing the often wild George.
“I think I am showing another dimension,” Rodriguez said. “I don’t think I have to go out there every three minutes throwing bombs.”
Rodriguez is 21-0 with 14 knockouts, while George now is 22-1.
Also, heavyweight Magomed Abdusalamov scored his 14th knockout in as many pro fights, stopping Jason Pettaway in the fourth round. It was the first loss for Pettaway, whose face was a bloody mask when the referee stopped the bout.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press
By Brett Okamoto | ESPN.com
LAS VEGAS — Per a response filed to the Nevada State Athletic Commission on March 7, UFC welterweight Nick Diaz is challenging the commission’s complaint for disciplinary action that he tested positive for a prohibited substance following a Feb. 4 contest in Las Vegas.
Following a unanimous decision loss to Carlos Condit at UFC 143, the NSAC reported Diaz submitted a urine test that tested positive for “marijuana metabolites.” The commission voted later that month to temporarily suspend Diaz’s fighters license.
That suspension is unwarranted, according to Diaz’s attorney, Ross Goodman, who states that “marijuana metabolites” are not a prohibited substance according to the list used by the NSAC, which is adopted from the World Anti-Doping Agency.
“Marijuana is the only substance that is prohibited; not marijuana metabolites,” Goodman told ESPN.com.
“The basis to discipline Mr. Diaz is that he tested positive for a prohibited substance. We know he didn’t test positive for marijuana. So, you look to see at WADA whether marijuana metabolites are prohibited. They do not prohibit it in any category.”
In a sworn affidavit submitted with the response, Diaz stated he has been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder for which he was prescribed medical marijuana by his physician, Robert E. Sullivan. Medical marijuana is legal in both Nevada and California, where Diaz resides.
Diaz and his camp have said the fighter suspends his use of marijuana eight days prior to a contest. Under the statues set forth by the NSAC, athletes are not punished for using marijuana out-of-competition.
According to Goodman, the substance Diaz tested positive for was THC-Carboxylic Acid, an inactive marijuana metabolite. NSAC executive director Keith Kizer was unavailable to comment on that claim Monday.
The response filed to the commission, therefore, challenges that Diaz merely tested positive for an inactive metabolite, which is not listed as a prohibited substance.
“You have to test positive for marijuana, as opposed to this inactive ingredient Nick did,” Goodman said.
“If there’s nothing in the rules prohibiting marijuana metabolites, why are we here?”
Athletes are provided the option to submit an application to the NSAC requesting therapeutic exemptions for different substances.
Goodman says Diaz did not take that measure because he discontinues use eight days before a contest — long enough for the effects of the active compound in marijuana, THC, to wear off.
The filed document also points to the “long detection window” of marijuana in one’s system as a potential reason why WADA does not include metabolites on its banned substance list.
Diaz’s legal team argues that since marijuana is not prohibited to athletes out-of-competition per commission standards, it would be unreasonable for its banned substance list to contain marijuana metabolites.
“Why punish Nick, or anybody else for that matter, for a metabolite?” Goodman said. “We’re not talking about a cocaine metabolite. We’re not talking about something illegal. We’re talking about a metabolite that stays in your system for weeks or months.”
The UFC had planned to set up an immediate rematch between Diaz and Condit, prior to the NSAC’s findings. When hearing the news, UFC president Dana White said he was “beyond disappointed.”
Diaz faces a potential one-year suspension for the positive test. In 2007, he tested positive for marijuana following a submission victory over Takanori Gomi in Las Vegas, resulting in a six-month suspension and the result changed to a no-contest.
A formal hearing to sentence Diaz was expected to take place in April; however, Goodman told ESPN.com that date might be delayed due to Monday’s filing.
by Franklin McNeil, ESPN.com
Former heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez has agreed to face Frank Mir on May 26, promotion president Dana White said Wednesday.
“Verbal agreements are in for a No. 1 contender match between former UFC world heavyweight champions Frank Mir and Cain Velasquez at UFC 146 in Las Vegas,” White said on UFC.com.
In the main event, UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos makes the first defense of his title against current No. 1 contender Alistair Overeen.
Former Strikeforce heavyweight contender Antonio Silva is slated to face Roy Nelson. UFC announced the Silva-Nelson bout on Wednesday.
Velasquez claimed the heavyweight title in October 2010 with a first-round TKO of Brock Lesnar. But he suffered a torn right rotator cuff in that bout and was sidelined for more than a year.
Velasquez returned to action on Nov. 12 against dos Santos and was stopped in the first round. It was Velasquez’s lone title defense.
Mir won the UFC interim heavyweight belt in December 2008 with a second-round TKO of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.
He would relinquish the title in July 2009 to Lesnar during a unification bout.
Mir would come up short in a second attempt at claiming the interim belt. Shane Carwin knocked him out in the first round at UFC 111 on March 27, 2010.