In the telecast opener, unbeaten rising star Frank Martin (16-0, 12 KOs) showed the full complement of skills that has made him one of the most talked about up-and-comers in the 135-pound division, as he delivered a methodical destruction on his way to stopping Jackson Mariñez (19-3, 7 KOs) in the 10th and final round.
After a tentative first two rounds, the Derrick James-trained Martin began to use his superior footspeed to put himself into position to land his lethal left hand to the head and body.
“I was ready to go the distance whether I got the knockout or not,” said Martin, who’s stablemate and promoter, unified welterweight world champion Errol Spence Jr. watched his victory ringside and later told Jim Gray of SHOWTIME that he expects to face WBO titleholder Terence Crawford in a blockbuster welterweight undisputed championship fight later this year. “Me and Derrick James worked hard in the gym. It was just a matter of me being patient and not being anxious.”
Mariñez was able to use his size advantage over the early rounds to keep Martin honest, having success landing counter rights over the top of Martin’s guard.
“I felt great,” said Mariñez. “I was very comfortable inside the ring. It would absolutely have been a different result had I had more than eight days to prepare.”
Mariñez, who stepped in as a late replacement to face Martin, was unable to put together effective combinations and too often relied on single-punch counters. Martin was able to slowly break Mariñez down with a consistent body attack, landing 53 shots there throughout the action. He also held advantages in both punches thrown (505-411) and punches landed (160-106).
“I’m just an accurate puncher,” said Martin. “We had to really stay on the outside of the hook, I was doubling the two and trying to come inside with the hook.”
After a close first half of the fight, Martin began to pull away in the later rounds and finally broke through and hurt Mariñez late in round nine. He connected on a series of vicious left hands that staggered Mariñez, before a follow up attack left Mariñez on the mat in the neutral corner.
“The knockdown in the ninth changed the tone of the fight,” said Mariñez. “Maybe I could have been more careful. These things happen in boxing, and you just gotta be ready to roll with the punches. He had power, and so did I.”
Mariñez was able to get to his feet and survive the round, but Martin wasted little time restarting his offense in round 10. He pushed the pace from the outset and rained blows onto Mariñez, who was pinned against the ropes, until Mariñez hit the canvas again and referee Rafael Ramos jumped in to end the fight 30 seconds into the round (watch highlight HERE).
“I was on him once I had him hurt, I was hungry, he was in deep waters so I had to get him out of there,” said Martin. “I’m right there with those top guys at lightweight, sit me at the table with them, whenever, I’m ready. I’m going to sit down with my team and hopefully get something big. At the end of the day we’ve won them all.”