Blackpool's Brian Rose suffers controversial points defeat to former pound-for-pound great Sergio Martinez
Blackpool’s Brian Rose suffered the seventh defeat of his boxing career with a controversial points loss to former pound-for-pound great Sergio Martinez.
The ‘Lion’ looked to have done enough to have his hand raised in Spain on Saturday night after the bout went to the judges’ scorecards after 10 rounds.
But it was former world champion Martinez who claimed the victory via unanimous decision, the three ringside judges scoring the fight 97-94, 96-94 and 97-94.
The win is the 46-year-old’s third on the spin since deciding to come out of retirement last year after a six-year absence.
As for Rose, the defeat is bound to leave the middleweight with a tough decision to make whether he should now call it a day and hang up the gloves.
But the 36-year-old boxed well in Madrid and appeared to have landed the more accurate blows against his aging opponent.
Martinez did enjoy some success in flurries, but they were few and far between and he wasn’t able to sustain or prolong his attacks.
While it wasn’t exactly an action-packed fight, Rose opted to box smartly behind his jab and looked to stay patient and pick his moments.
If there was one criticism, it was that Rose was perhaps guilty of not fighting aggressively enough to get a decision overseas.
That’s something his manager Kieran Farrell alluded to on social media, although he believes Rose had done enough to win the bout.
“Proud of Brian Rose, went to Sergio Martinez’ country and lost a decision,” he posted on Twitter.
“I thought he did enough to get his hand raised and definitely would have if it was in the Winter Gardens in Blackpool.
“Fair play to Brian after repeatedly being turned down from the “UK prospects”, you won that bro.”
Martines, whose record now reads 54-3-2, was the aggressor early on in the first round, but Rose showed good defence and only took a few blows to the body.
Nevertheless, he ended the round well and landed some good jabs of his own to chants of “Sea, Sea, Seasiders” from the crowd.
The fight continued at a slow pace, with Rose sticking to his disciplined, orthodox approach while the awkward southpaw Martinez would only come alive in short bursts.
Martinez, who initially decided to retire in 2014 following a defeat to Miguel Cotto, did go down in the second round, although it wasn’t recorded as a knock down.
The two fighters continued to show plenty of respect to one another, which led to the fight continuing in the same vein early on with both looking for a way through.
Rose made contact with one or two big right hands, one in particular buzzing Martinez in the third.
Blood seeped out of a cut just beside Rose’s left eye at this point, but trainer Bobby Rimmer was able to keep it under control between rounds.
At the end of the fourth, Rose had some joy with a flurry of counter shots and at this point, it appeared Martinez was beginning to tire as he clung on and looked to buy some time.
But, to his credit, the Argentinian - who is 10 years Rose’s senior - recovered well, although Rose still looked the fitter man.
Martinez had Rose pinned up against the ropes at the end of the fifth, but the Blackpool man did well to escape before facing further punishment.
The sixth was a bit of a non-event, with Rose using his left arm to shield and block before coming under fire towards the end of the round, taking a heavy blow which Martinez was once again unable to follow up.
The Argentine stumbled in the following round after taking a wild swing, which Rose immediately looked to pounce upon, but Martinez managed to escape.
It was Rose’s turn to stumble onto the canvas in the right as the fight became more of a slugfest, but again the referee ruled it as an accidental slip.
The two continued to will each other on, both Rose and Martinez smiling through their gum shields.
But, true to form, the fight would end in fairly muted fashion, Rose staying behind the relative safety of his jab looking to conserve energy, believing he’d already done enough to win the fight.
Martinez, meanwhile, would become increasingly desperate with his wild swings, suggesting he knew a knockout would be required.
Both fighters celebrated after a fairly uneventful 10th and final round, but it was Martinez who received the all-important arm raise from the referee once the judges’ scorecards were read out.
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