Originally written on Boxing Watchers  |  Last updated 10/26/14

It's not uncommon for boxers to change their styles over time, with our opinions of them transforming as they do. Usually, said changes are the result of aging, changing weight classes or simply running into tougher competition on a regular basis.

But in the moments immediately following Sergio Martinez's 11th-round TKO of Matthew Macklin on Saturday night, it dawned on me: There's never been a boxer who's morphed as dramatically in such a relatively short period of time as Maravilla.

To wit, here are capsule summaries of my take on Martinez over the past three years:

* Prior to his February 2009 fight with Kermit Cintron, I wasn't 100 percent sure who Martinez was or if he was even any good. Though Sergio was robbed in that bout, I still wasn't convinced he was the goods.
* After he fought Paul Williams to a bitterly contested loss in December 2009, Martinez seemed like a very athletic fighter with an unorthodox style and excellent movement, but perhaps lacking serious stopping power. That view was reinforced when he defeated Kelly Pavlik by decision a few months later.
* The rematch with Williams proved he did have KO power, of course, though there was still the sense that he simply landed the perfect punch a la Antonio Tarver against Roy Jones or Manny Pacquiao when he fought Ricky Hatton.
* Martinez turned in perhaps his most confusing, albeit dominating, performance when he out-jabbed noted jabber Serhiy Dzinziruk early before generally knocking him around later. This was the fight that seemed to cement Sergio as a top five pound-for-pound fighter in most pundits' eyes, yet he hasn't really fought like that since. Because...
* Against both Darren Barker and Matthew Macklin, Martinez looked a lot less sharp, and perhaps less confident than we may have expected. Thanks to some devastating flush shots in the later rounds, though, Martinez was able to stop both men.

So where does that leave us? Honestly, I'm still not really sure. The comparison to Tyson in the post title is obviously an imperfect one because Iron Mike was a noted aggressor and Maravilla would prefer to counter-punch. What makes it still somewhat valid is that if you consider the important part of Martinez's career to be the seven fights starting with Cintron and running through this past weekend, we've seen him win more fights with lightning fast single power shots than by any other method.

Think about that again. If you transported the April 2010 version of Martinez to fight Macklin, you'd expect him to either win on points or earn a TKO from steady, accumulated damage. Instead, he didn't exactly need a KO, but it sure made things easier after he suffered a knockdown (a flash knockdown, but still) and was probably in a pretty tight battle on the cards through eight rounds or so. That's a pretty startling change in a boxer in less than two years, one made even more amazing by the fact that Martinez is, by his own admission, a 154-pounder fighting at 160.

It's also the reason that despite what Maravilla says, I doubt Floyd Mayweather will have anything to do with him. Floyd will almost certainly look at a fight like Martinez-Macklin and see someone even easier to beat on points than he appeared just a few fights ago, but one who also is even more of a threat to land a single fight-changing shot. The chances of that punch landing may be less, while the possibility that it would turn Money's lights out are greater. Pacquiao would be a less risky opponent for Mayweather with a lot more financial upside. Sorry Sergio.

Oh, unless Martinez decides to morph again. At this point, we really can't rule that out.

Time for a few random thoughts from Saturday night...

* Edwin Rodiguez showed a serious jab, some very clean hooks, and a variety of defensive tricks in the co-feature. What he didn't show was a whole lot of punching power, and while he looked like he might have the sense to brawl when necessary, Donovan George wasn't able to force him to show it very often. In short, he looked like a very good fighter in a division that (as the HBO crew pointed out) already has a bunch of them. If there's a truly great super middleweight, Andre Ward and Lucian Bute are the top candidates, and I don't think Rodriguez is in their class. At least not yet.

* Jim Lampley confuses the hell out of me sometimes. His "Bring It On" (a.k.a. cheerleading) tendencies are well documented, but they almost always come out in support of the headliner. Not so on Saturday, when he often sounded like he was willing Macklin into doing even better than what we were witnessing. Simply selling the fight he was calling? Maybe, but Lamps doesn't usually make that a priority when he is doing his "Bang! Bang!" routine for Pacquiao or something similar for Mayweather. 


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