• Sergio Martinez v Julio Cesar Chavez Jr

Martinez survives late scare to outclass Chavez

Dan Rafael
September 16, 2012
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr nearly scored one of the greatest come-from-behind wins in boxing history © PA Photos

By the halfway point of the fight against Sergio Martinez, it was obvious that young Julio Cesar Chavez Jr was going to need a miracle. He was going to have to reach into the family playbook of his famous Hall of Fame father, all-time great Julio Cesar Chavez Sr, the way his dad had against Meldrick Taylor all those years ago.

In that classic 1990 fight, Taylor was winning in dominant fashion before Chavez Sr infamously stopped him with two seconds left.

And you know what? Chavez Jr almost got it done in the same fashion against lineal middleweight champion Martinez before an electric, sold-out crowd of 19,186 - an arena record for boxing - on Saturday at the Thomas & Mack Center.

In one of the most dramatic finishes in boxing history, Chavez, way behind on the scorecards, dropped Martinez with his bread and butter - a ferocious left hook - with about 90 seconds to go.

Martinez was marked up and badly hurt. He made it to his feet and was going to have run out the clock as the crowd went berserk. Could he survive the way Taylor could not against the old man?

It was touch and go because Martinez went down a few seconds later, but it was properly ruled a slip by referee Tony Weeks. But make no mistake, Martinez was in trouble, undoubtedly praying to hear the final bell.

But he hung on against Chavez, who had been whipped for the previous 11 rounds, and finally heard it ring. Once the fight was over, the scores - 118-109, 118-109 and 117-110 - were academic. What people will remember forever are the final seconds of the fight.

Lou DiBella, Martinez's promoter, summed it up perfectly. "You saw a boxing clinic for 11 rounds and you saw an epic last round," DiBella said. "I don't know how he held on. That was epic. That was a great night for boxing."

Chavez knew he let the fight escape him by not finishing Martinez when he had him in such bad shape.

Elsewhere, Mexican prodigy Saul Alvarez stopped Josesito Lopez in the fifth round to defend his WBC light-middleweight title. Before the stoppage, Lopez had been down in each of the previous three rounds.

This article originally appeared on ESPN.com

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