Julio Cesar Martinez survives slow start to stop Ronal Batista in 11th round
Julio Cesar Martinez turned what appeared to be a so-so performance into an emphatic victory on the Canelo Alvarez-John Ryder card Saturday in Zapopan, Mexico.
The WBC 112-pound titleholder was outboxed and outworked by Ronal Batista of Panama in the first half of the fight, during which the Mexican looked like anything but the dangerous slugger he is known to be.
However, he put Batista down in Round 7, took firm control and finally stopped the challenger a minute into the 11th round to retain his belt.
Batista’s downfall might’ve begun at the end of Round 4, when he was docked a point for punching Martinez after the bell to end the round.
However, the challenger continued to box well and match Martinez (20-2, 15 KOs) punch for punch for the next few rounds in what was a competitive fight.
Then came Round 7. Martinez landed a wide left to the side of Batista’s head, which sent him to the canvas. The referee initially ruled that Batista (15-3, 9 KOs) had slipped. However, in a bizarre moment, ringside officials overruled him between rounds after seeing a replay.
Martinez shifted into another gear at that point, clearly outworking Batista the next several rounds to set up the knockout.
The end came when Martinez landed a series of hard, accurate shots with Batista’s back against the ropes, which prompted the referee to stop the fight.
Martinez has now won two consecutive fights since he moved up in weight and was outpointed by Roman Gonzalez in March of last year.