After witnessing his charge Martin Murray narrowly drop a unanimous decision to WBC champion Sergio Martinez at the weekend, promoter Ricky Hatton admitted he was baffled by the outcome.
Murray – previously 26 fights unbeaten – subjected the middleweight kingpin to a ferocious assault, flooring him in rounds eight and ten, though the second was ruled a slip.
And though the fight was close, many watching – including Hatton – believed 30-year-old Murray had done enough to ruin the Argentinean’s much-vaunted Buenos Aires homecoming.
“I think Martin should be the middleweight champion of the world,” said a dejected Hatton, after all three judges ruled a 115-112 Martinez victory.
“It was a good competitive fight but there was only one winner for me – he also scored a knockdown and it should have been two in my opinion.
“When you go into the lion’s den you have to rip the title from the champion and although he couldn’t finish as strong as he we would have liked, Martin was the aggressor.”
Murray was supposed to provide a token resistance for Maravilla’s first fight on Argentinean soil in more than a decade, yet he clearly had not read the script at the Estadio Jose Amalfitani.
Blocking the majority of Martinez’s best punches in the early rounds, he put the 38-year-old champion through the mill and knocking him down.
Yet the fateful decision to deny Murray as second knockdown in the tenth round – with the mandatory two-point penalty – appeared to knock the wind out of the Englishman’s sails.
And with the rain pouring down in the 40,000-seater venue, Martinez successfully appealed to the referee that he had slipped on a puddle before closing out the fight’s later stanzas.
Hatton was also heartened to see that his fighter fared better than other British hopes Darren Barker and Matthew Macklin, both stopped inside the distance by the evergreen champion.
“I think if one good thing did come out of the fight, it’s that we now know that Martin is the best middleweight in Britain,” he said.
“His performance against Martinez eclipsed Macklin and Barker’s by a long way.”
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