Chris Martin a knockdown victim in his second loss

Luis "Orlandito" Del Valle (R) of Bayomon, Puerto Rico, lands a straight right to the chin of Chris Martin of Chula Vista, CA, in their Super Bantamweight bout, Friday, April 27, 2012 on Showtime's Showbox, the New Generation from the Buffalo Casino in Miami, Oklahoma. Photo: Tom Casino/Showtime Promotions

Miami, Oklahoma (April 27, 2012)

On Friday evening, Christopher Martin (23-2-3, 6 KOs) of Chula Vista, CA suffered his second defeat to go 0-2-1 in his last three contests. Luis Orlando Del Valle (16-0, 11 KOs) of Bayomon, Puerto Rico defeated Martin in this Super Bantamweight bout held at the Buffalo Casino in Miami, Oklahoma, one of three great bouts aired on Showtime’s Showbox, the New Generation.

What went wrong?

If we were to liken Martin’s performance to a chess match, you could say he spent entirely too much time protecting his pawns rather than pressing the attack to get an opportunity to take Del Valle’s king. Spending the majority of your time waiting to counter and blocking your opponent’s punches are often misconstrued by the judges who will almost always give more credit to the offensive minded boxer.

At this point in Martin’s career, with the quality of opponents he’s facing, he can not afford the mistakes made last night, the biggest being a switch from orthodox to southpaw in round seven and then getting caught by an overhand right that sent him to the canvas for the first time in his career. You see mistakes like that in the amateur ranks, but not in the pros.

The confusion in the corner is a minor hiccup but a definite distraction. One and only one person should be talking to Martin in-between rounds. That person is his trainer, Sergio Melendrez. Last night three people offered advice. The usual protocol has the seconds giving their insights to the trainer just before the breaks.  Multiple counsel can clutter a boxer’s focus.

Also, the bad habit of giving away the first couple rounds to an opponent has got to stop. When fighting someone of like or equal skills, this handicap becomes a nightmare, almost impossible to overcome. Going back to the Charles Huerta fight at the O. C. Fairgrounds, Martin has this habit of getting off to a slow start where he does more on the defensive side than on the offensive side.

By Round #5, Del Valle had a punch stat lead of 360 punches to 90. The fifth round was the first that could have been awarded to Martin who began landing some power punches. He most assuredly took round six.

Then came the ill-fated seventh when Martin left himself open after switching from righty to lefty to land the surprise uppercut that never reached it’s mark. Del Valle saw the opening and took full advantage to knock Martin off his feet.

Visibly hurt by the punch, Martin showed amazing recovery skills and lasted out the round. Del Valle took Round #8 and Martin Round #9. I defy anyone to tell me with any surety who took the final round. It was that close.

According to Steve Farhood, Showbox’s color analyst, Martin had a considerable size advantage since he was at least two inches taller and 13 pounds heavier after rehydration, and yet this advantage never translated to a victory. In the end, the unbeaten Puerto Rican prospect, Del Valle, won the 10-round unanimous decision with scores of 100-89, 98-91 and 97-92. That 100-89 score indicates one of the judges, Jerry Griffin, felt Del Valle had pitched a shutout.

Luis Orlando Del Valle (C) has his arm raised by referee Gerald Ritter (L) and his trainer after defeating Chris Martin on Friday night at the Buffalo Casino in Miami, Oklahoma. This was one of three great bouts aired on Showtime’s Showbox, the New Generation. Photo: Tom Casino/Showtime Promotions

Where does this loss leave Martin? The only way he’ll get a shot at the title is in a warm-up capacity. Perhaps one of the top contenders, which now includes Abner Mares and Nonito Donaire, will conclude that Martin is easy pickings. Rico Ramos, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Toshiaki Nishioka might be interested. There is a ton of talent within this division, probably more than any other. The problem is the size of Martin’s payday has now diminished.

Thomas Oosthuizen (R) is shown landing one of his devastating left hooks on the chin of Marcus Johnson. Photo: Tom Casino, Showtime Promotions

Martin may have lost some of his luster, but that’s not the case for Thomas Oosthuizen, the gentleman who faced Marcus Johnson in the Main Event. You can be certain the Gauteng, South Africa super middleweight’s stock went up, especially after delivering such a crowd-pleasing unanimous decision victory over the formidable Mr. Johnson. All three judges scored the 10-round slugfest 98-91 in Oosthuizen’s favor.

After losing the first fight of his career in his last ShoBox appearance, Johnson (21-2, 15 KOs), of Houston, came out bullish and determined to outperform the IBO super middleweight titlist. Jumping out from his corner at the opening bell, Johnson went directly at his six-foot-four opponent and attacked with a barrage of head and body blows. Oosthuizen (19-0-1, 13 KOs) absorbed the early punishment and maintained his composure.

Despite his height advantage, Oosthuizen did not always keep his distance, choosing to fight off the ropes during many portions of the contest. As the bout entered the fourth and fifth rounds, the 26-year-old Johnson slowed and the 24 year-old Oosthuizen upped his work rate. The busy southpaw threw most of his punches in this machine gun style (thus the nickname, “Tommy Gun”) repeating the left-right, left-right combos to the midsection.

In the eighth round, Oosthuizen pressured Johnson and forced the Texan to take a knee after landing a right hook to the body which dislodged Johnson’s mouthpiece. The two power punchers put up quite a fight with Oosthuizen maintaining the upper hand by being the busier and more accurate puncher.

Thomas Oosthuizen (R) has his arm raised by referee Garry Ritter after defeating Marcus Johnson on Friday evening at the Buffalo Casino in Miami, Oklahoma. Photo: Tom Casino/Showtime Promotions

“I never underestimated Johnson,” said the 24-year-old Oosthuizen. “I expected him to come out fast … I could tell he was beginning to tire by the third or fourth round because I could hear how heavily he was breathing.”

After the official announcement of his unanimous decision victory over Gil Garcia, Jose Pedraza raises his arm to acknowledge the fan support. Photo: Tom Casino/Showtime Promotions

To open the evening, Jose “The Sniper” Pedraza (8-0, 6 KOs) found himself in a competitive, nonstop bout with Gil Garcia (5-3-1, 1 KO) of Houston, Texas. Pedraza, the highly touted prospect out of Caguas, Puerto Rico, amassed “a frightening connect percentage,” said Showtime’s Farhood, landing 60 percent (281 of 471) of his punches. In the fifth round, Pedraza staggered Garcia with several shots to the head and referee Vic Drakulich ruled it a knockdown even though the video replay revealed Garcia did not touch the canvas with his glove and was not held up by the ropes. Then, late in the sixth round, Pedraza opened a nasty cut over Garcia’s left eye.

Gil Garcia (L) is shown getting clobbered by Jose Pedraza (R) during their contest on Friday night at the Buffalo Casino in Miami, Oklahoma. Photo: Tom Casino/Showtime Promotions

Unfazed by the near knockdown or cut, Garcia fought on. Despite Pedraza’s wonderful performance, it was Garcia who won over the hearts of the crowd with his no-quit attitude.

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