By Marc Livitz in Las Vegas, Nevada: Ryan "Blue Chip" Martin scored a close, perhaps questionable split decision win over Francisco "Paquito" Rojo this evening at the T-Mobile Arena as part of the pay TV undercard for the showdown between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin. The super lightweight bout went a full ten rounds and was not without its fair share of drama as well as controversy as Martin was deducted a point for low blows yet still hung on to his unbeaten record.
Rojo (19-3, 12 KO’s) used his left jab early on and did his best to stay with his Chattanooga, Tennessee opponent. Martin (20-0, 11 KO’s) patiently looked to use the ring as well as notable lateral movement to confuse his Mexico City foe. He countered well in the second as he tried to break Rojo’s high guard. Shots were exchanged in the dying moments of round three. Midway into the fourth, Francisco backed Ryan into a corner and looked to fire away on him, yet Martin was able to fight his way out.
As Rojo looked to dig to the body, his efforts left his head open for counter shots. This pattern continued into the fifth, though "Pacquito" was able to connect with an impressive three punch combination with two shots to the head of "Blue Chip". The bout appeared to be a close on as it passed through round six, though Rojo found similar success by way of nicely putting his punches together with Martin against the ropes.
The fighters moved into close quarters in the last minute of round six. Francisco looked to throw hard body shots and he was also starting to return fire up high on Ryan, who himself may have landed his finest shot of the bout so far. He connected with a well thrown left hook to the head. Referee Russell Mora issued a second warning to Martin a minute into the eighth for low blows. Thirty seconds later, warning number three was issued, yet without any sort of point deduction.
Finally, with a minute passed in round nine, Mora took a point away from Martin for hitting below the line. The fighters touched gloves to begin the tenth and final round. They traded shots with Martin’s back to the ropes, after which they shared a sportsman’s embrace at the bell. The judges would decide the outcome, which was loudly derided from many in the stands to those beginning to file into their seats. Scores listed below.
Richard Ocasio: 98-91 (Rojo)
Lisa Giampa: 96-93 (Martin)
Max DeLuca: 95-94 (Martin)
Additional Results from T-Mobile Arena
Serhii Bohachuk TKO 2 Joan Valenzuela - Welterweight
Vergil Ortiz TKO 2 Cesar Valenzuela - Super Lightweight
Marlen Esparza UD 6 Araceli Palacios - Flyweight
Post fight quotes (courtesy of Mercury, LLC)
“He was a good opponent, I’m happy I won. It was a tough fight, but I kept working at it and came out on top.”
“I just do what my coaches tell me to do. They knew how this fight was going to end, and kept reminding me to go towards the body. I’m super happy to get the win, and this is just another fight on the way.”
“Even though my opponent, on paper, looked like she had more ring experience, I’ve been in the ring way more than she had. Because I had 3 minute rounds, I was able to think a lot more in the ring and was even told by my trainer I had to slow down. I couldn’t research much about my opponent, but we knew she was going to be throwing her right often. I’m satisfied with my performance because this was my first 6-round fight.”