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Dazzling Martinez Steals Show

Unbeaten, and highly-touted young stars Yuriorkis Gamboa and Alfredo Angulo each scored knockout victories, but it was an unheralded 33-year-old Argentinean fighting out of Spain, Sergio Martinez, who shone brightest in the spotlight on a Boxing After Dark tripleheader.

Martinez (44-1-1, 24 KOs), with a bloated record against nonentities, put on a stunning performance against Alex Bunema, a fighter ranked in the top five of three sanctioning bodies, demonstrating a superior speed and athleticism that prompted HBO commentator Harold Lederman to compare him in to Roy Jones Jr. Martinez, holding his hands lows in Jones-like fashion, thoroughly dominated Bunema (30-6-2, 16 KOs) for eight rounds before the ringside doctor -- after examining Bunema on the stool after the round -- told referee Raul Caiz to waive off the fight. Martinez, whose only loss was to Antonio Margarito in 2000, won his 28th straight fight since that defeat and positioned himself as a real player in the junior middleweight division. So impressive was Martinez, that HBO commentator Max Kellerman declared that "a star was born in boxing."

While Angulo (14-0, 11 KOs), also a junior middleweight, dominated seasoned veteran Andrey Tsurkan, stopping him with 33 seconds left in the 10th and final round, he did not look like a fighter who could deal easily with the kind of speedy talent Martinez displayed. Angulo suffered a bad cut over his right eye from an accidental head butt in the first round, but was able to keep landing almost 50 per cent of his punches. The Mexican also showed an ability to switch smoothly from orthodox to southpaw that befuddled Tsurkan. But while Angulo, who had yet to go beyond six rounds, connected at a high percentage, he never seriously hurt his opponent, and seemed sluggish in the later rounds.

Although Angulo may have put on a dominating performance in terms of punch stats, it was not an overly exciting and impressive one, as had been most of his other fights. Angulo is a fighter with very little foot work, and seems to need an opponent who stands in front of him, as Tsurkan did. It is a style which last night may have exposed a glaring flaw in his championship potential. It seemed obvious after watching the opening bout on the card that a slick-moving guy like Martinez would give Angulo, a 25-year-old who has sparred with Antonio Margarito for years, and has been compared to the welterweight champ, a ton of problems.

Meanwhile the 26-year-old Gamboa (13-0, 11 KOs), a 2004 Cuban Olympic gold medalist, continued to show both exciting talent and fundamental flaws, despite having undergone a trainer change after his last fight. Previously unbeaten featherweight Marcos Ramirez (25-1, 16 KOs) came out very aggressively in the first round, knocking Gamboa down with what replays showed was an elbow shot. Gamboa beat the count and then fought hard at close range to close the round.

In the second round Gamboa used his raw talent – a mixture of high speed and power – to knock Ramirez down. Ramirez got up and continued to trade punches until an uppercut sent him down for the second time. Ramirez was counted out with 1:19 left in the round. Clearly the highly-talented Gamboa is a work in progress, who needs to outgrow his amateur boxing style and improve greatly on his defense.

Yuriorkis Gamboa vs Marcos Ramirez

HBO BAD - Oct. 4, 2008

Angulo vs Tsurkan
Martinez vs Bunema

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