Kelly Pavlik Loses Middleweight Titles to Sergio Martinez

American boxer Kelly Pavlik has been dethroned as the WBO and WBC middleweight champion in a brutal 12-round match against Argentina’s Sergio Martinez at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Martinez dominated the last five rounds of the fight to score a unanimous decision victory and become a champion in his first fight as a middleweight. Judge Roberto Ramirez scored the fight 116-111, Barbara Perez scored it 115-111 and Craig Metcalfe had it 115-112.

Martinez used his stinging jab to perfection early in the fight, forcing Pavlik to focus on defense. Pavlik turned up the heat in the middle rounds, landing some big shots and dropping Martinez in the seventh round, although the Argentine claimed that he merely slipped. Martinez proved his claim as he took control in the succeeding rounds, turning Pavlik’s face into a bloody mess. With blood oozing from a cut above his right eye, Pavlik was reduced to a one-eyed fighter.

It was a devastating loss for Pavlik, who vowed to win the fight in an effort to regain his reputation and shoot down rumors that he was facing alcoholism and other personal problems. As for Martinez, it was a welcome change after debatable results in his last two fights–a majority decision loss to Paul Williams and a controversial draw against Kermit Cintron.