Fireworks in the first and fourth

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Last week’s Toe-To-Toe Tuesday featured a rematch between two up-and-comers in the Welterweight division.

Undefeated Miguel Cruz laced them up against Alex Martin for the second time.

They went the distance in a very close fight back in mid-January. Two judges scored it 96-94 for Cruz the other gave it to Martin, 91-99.

The split decision win had Cruz all knotted up. He stated he should have knocked Martin out.

Martin was shooting like a Minuteman in the War of Independence…

I concur.

Of course Martin believes he won their previous fight. So much so, that his team filed a protest; but the decision was upheld.

Martin came into their rematch angry and with something to prove.

It didn’t help.

At the bell Cruz came out and established his jab early.

Southpaw Martin was the boxing equivalent of a musket…he fired one shot at a time, which was followed by a lengthy reload.

The opening frame had enough action to make it interesting because they settled into their game plans quickly, having fought before.

There was the expected battle to get the “inside position” of the lead foot.

When a lefty (“southpaw”) faces an “orthodox” (right-handed) boxer, the lead foot of each fighter is directly opposite from their opponent’s, instead of being offset as it would be for two men that are both dominant right-handed, or both dominant left-handed.

This usually leads to a lot of tripping and noggin knocking…and it did.

Martin was leaning in and bent at the waist far too much to give himself a sturdy and effective platform from which to fire.

Right after the 10 second warning announcing the end of Round 1, both men stepped forward to smother the punches of the other.

There was a short clench. Coming out of it Cruz threw two punches, a right hook that Martin ducked under, and a left hook that had all the twisting torque his body could supply.

It caught Martin right on the chops, whipped his head around, and set him on the seat of his satins.

He rolled to his knees and was up on wobbly legs by the count of “5”. But time had expired and as soon as the mandatory 8-count was completed, the round ended.

Martin had his wheels back under him in Round 2 and he did some good bodywork on the inside.

There was a great deal of hesitation from both men, and they kept waiting to pull the trigger. Their best exchanges were when they had their heads together while chopping away at the trunk of the other.

Cruz was definitely the aggressor and landing the better punches, but he wasn’t putting together combinations to his advantage. Martin was still shooting like a Minuteman in the War of Independence…aim, fire, recover, reload.

At the end of the first minute of Round 4 Martin was off balance (bent at the waist again) and a clubbing hit left sent him south a second time.

He complained of being hit in the back of the head and the referee responded with, “Keep your head up.”

Again, I concur.

Martin retaliated in the next round and delivered a low blow that drew a warning from the ref.

The pace slowed through the later rounds and Cruz’s punch output dropped off. That may have helped Martin win a round or two.

The championship rounds were more of the same. Cruz marched forward behind his jab, while Martin waited for openings and threw weak counterpunches.

At the end of ten Miguel had cruised to a unanimous decision victory (96-92 three times).

Miguel Cruz remains undefeated and improves his record to 16-0, with 11 KO’s.

God Bless and be grateful you live in the land of the free.

Mark Felicetti is proud to be a sentimental patriot. Reach him at mark@tolucantimes.com.

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