The world's top middleweight is an action tonight as Sergio Martinez faces WBO light middle titlist Serhiy Dzinziruk at Foxwoods Casino in Mashantucket, CT with the vacant WBC Diamond belt at stake in an all-southpaw battle.
36 year old native Argentine Martinez, 46-2-2 (25), labored in the shadows for a very long time until his big break came in the form of an Interim WBC light middle title clash against Alex Bunema in 2008. Martinez made the best of this opportunity, winning every round until Bunema didn't answer the bell for the ninth.
Martinez then kept onto the title via majority draw in 2009 against ex-IBF welter beltholder Kermit Cintron before moving up to middleweight and losing a controversial majority draw to ex-WBO welter ruler Paul Williams, in which both combatants were canvassed in a withering first round.
2010 was the best year for Martinez as the California resident pulled off a shocking upset of WBC/WBO middleweight king Kelly Pavlik before producing an equally stunning one punch second round KO of Williams in a hotly anticipated rematch.
In particular it was the second Williams result which has catapulted Martinez into the top ten pound for pound standings but will he suffer a letdown in tonight's contest against Dzinziruk?
35 year old Dzinziruk, 37-0 (23), is an undefeated former European light middle titlist who won the WBO 154 pound strap with a tough and surprising victory over Daniel Santos in 2005.
Since then, the Ukraine born Hamburg resident retained the title on six occasions but his defeated challenger lineup of Sebastian Lujan, Alisultan Nadirbegov, Carlos Nascimento, Lukas Konecny, Joel Julio and Daniel Dawson isn't exactly top of the line opposition.
So, Dzinziruk is not only stepping up a weight class but he'll be facing a much higher level opponent than on any previous occasion. To make matters even more difficult for "The Razor", he hasn't been in the ring for 10 months.
Both Dzinziruk and Martinez are counterpunchers and are most comfortable when their opponents come to them, which could make for an unexciting early going. Dzinziruk is the classic European stand up boxer while Martinez likes to dance on his toes with hands down, launching unpredictable attacks before darting back out.
This is likely going to be a difficult bout for Dzinziruk as he could struggle with the quick feet and fast hands of Martinez, who has also developed into a very good puncher.
Dzinziruk must cut off the ring and try to keep Martinez off balance with his excellent jab but that has proven to be beyond the capabilities of far more accomplished fighters, who generally end up frustrated by Martinez's constant movement and unwillingness to stand and fight.
Martinez must remain focused however, and not rest on his laurels of having defeated Pavlik and Williams over his last two outings as Dzinziruk will likely come in motivated into what is by far the biggest bout of his professional career.
Unless Dzinziruk is really in over his head, expect this one to go the distance and Martinez to walk out of Foxwoods with the WBC Diamond belt around his waist.
Boxing News Tags: Alex Bunema, Alisultan Nadirbegov, Argentine Martinez, Boxing, Carlos Nascimento, CT, Daniel Dawson, Daniel Santos, Dzinziruk, IBF, Kelly Pavlik, Kermit Cintron, KO, Paul, Preview, Sebastian Lujan, Sergio Martinez, Ukraine, WBC, WBO