Martinez broke hand in win over MurrayApril 30, 2013
Middleweight champion Sergio Martinez must have had deja vu following his successful title defence against Martin Murray on Saturday night.
Martinez emerged from his sixth title defence, which he won on a unanimous decision - all three judges scored the bout 115-112 - with a right knee injury, broken left hand and bad cut over his left eye.
Those are the exact injuries he also suffered last September when he outpointed Julio Cesar Chavez Jr in a more lopsided fight that saw Martinez get knocked down and nearly knocked out in the 12th round but survive for the clear unanimous decision.
Martinez's left hand was placed in a cast and his cut was stitched up after the fight, but the most serious injury was the knee. Promoter Lou DiBella told ESPN.com on Monday that Martinez's knee likely will require a second surgery and that he will not fight for the rest of 2013, scuttling a possible autumn rematch with Chavez, which had been heavily discussed.
"He's probably out for the rest of the year. I just can't see him returning this year," DiBella said. "He probably needs another surgery to remove scar tissue from the knee and he needs more time to rehab it than he gave it after the Chavez fight."
Although Martinez pronounced himself in perfect health going into the fight with Murray - "All of my injuries have healed 100 percent," he told ESPN.com a few days before the bout - it turned out they were not.
"He was never fully recovered from the knee surgery," said DiBella, noting that the injury made it very hard for Martinez to plant his feet. "The knee was OK early in the training camp but it wasn't perfect. But with three weeks left in camp, it got much worse. He probably would have postponed the fight if was in a normal arena. He was damaged goods going in against Murray."
The fight with top-10 contender Murray (25-1-1, 11 KOs) was Martinez's long-awaited homecoming in Argentina, where he had not fought since he was an unknown in 2002. But he returned as a megastar in his country and sold out the 50,000-seat Club Atletico Velez Sarsfield, a football stadium in Buenos Aires, where high winds and a driving rain storm made for a surreal atmosphere for Saturday night's fight.
"People who noticed his body wasn't cut were correct," DiBella said. "It wasn't a normal camp. Murray was big and strong though and deserves props."
Martinez broke his left hand in the second round when he caught Murray with a shot on the elbow. The fracture is in a different place than the one he had in the fight with Chavez, DiBella said.
Martinez (51-2-2, 28 KOs), 38, was diagnosed with a "left hand carpal large bone compression fracture" and his doctor said his hand would need to be in a splint for 45 days followed by two months of rehabilitation.
Murray knocked Martinez down in the eighth round with a clean straight right hand. Because of the bum knee and the slick canvas, DiBella said Martinez never had his legs fully under him in the fight.
"The 100 per cent humidity and a wet canvas hurt and he was also fighting a very good opponent. Martin Murray is a good fighter," DiBella said. "I was scared sh------ but he pulled it out in the 11th and 12th rounds and Murray said he was hurt in the 12th round.
"Sergio had to use every trick in the book in 11 and 12 to pull it out. The fight had the makings of an upset, but I'm just glad it wasn't. But he was banged up going into the fight. It was a real gutty performance. In any case, Sergio's body needs time to recover."