Despite suffering another right knee injury, broken left hand and bad cut over his left eye, the hometown Martinez (51-2-2, 28 KOs) controversially outscored the 30-year-old Murray (25-1-1, 11 KOs) by three counts of 115-112.
The 38-year-old Martinez also sustained a partially torn meniscus in his right knee and a shattered left paw while overwhelming Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. in September.
Currently ranked by Ring Magazine as the fourth preeminent pound-for-pound pugilist in the world, Martinez will likely again undergo the knife to repair his wounds.
“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. He was never fully recovered from the knee surgery. 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.”
Getting bloodied and hitting the canvas midway through the eighth, Martinez exhibited great testicular fortitude by rallying for a victory in the final rounds.
“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.”
Battling in the South American Paris for the first time in more than a decade, it was evident Martinez is graying and no longer the dominant force that earned the 2010 “Fighter of the Year” award.
In all fairness, had the scrap occurred in London, Martin Murray easily could have vacated the squared circle as an unbeaten titlist.
A fading superstar who has long been actively involved in domestic violence and anti-bullying causes, Sergio Martinez is “damaged goods.”by