Martinez wins in ring return after 6-year hiatus

Boxing

Sergio Martinez (52-3-2, 29 KOs) made a successful return to the ring by stopping Jose Miguel Fandino (15-7, 8 KOs) in Round 7 on Friday night in Spain in his first bout in over six years.

The previous time Martinez boxed was in June 2014, when he came into the ring hobbled by a pair of damaged knees and was dominated by Miguel Cotto in 10 rounds.

Yet, like many other boxers, Martinez made the decision to put the gloves back on. And the 45-year-old looked like a reasonable facsimile of the fighter who once had such a unique and athletic style.

With both of his knees wrapped, Martinez steadily chipped away at Fandino with both hands. While he didn’t glide around the ring as he once could, his legs were steady and he began to sit down on his punches starting in the third round. His punches looked sharp and his combinations were crisp for the most part.

In the sixth round, a body shot visibly affected Fandino. After taking a barrage of punches from Martinez, Fandino took a knee. He fought on, but was then tagged by another salvo of punches to the head at the very end of the round that left him dazed.

Then in the seventh, a piercing straight left to the ribs sent Fandino down again, writhing in pain, and he was counted out.

There was a time when Martinez was considered one of the best boxers in the sport, and from humble beginnings in Argentina, he became a televised staple on premium cable in America. He put forth enough of a ring résumé that he was on the 2019 ballot for the International Boxing Hall of Fame. It’s a matter of time until he’s inducted into the hall in Canastota, New York.

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