- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Junior lightweight contender Juan Carlos Burgos did everything he needed to do in order to win a world title on Saturday night at the Theater at Madison Square in New York, yet he didn't get to walk out of the ring with the belt.
That is because his title challenge against Roman "Rocky" Martinez was ruled a split draw, allowing the undeserving Martinez (26-1-2, 16 KOs) to keep the 130-pound belt in his first defense.
It's not that Martinez fought badly, it's just that Burgos fought better and, in the opinion of many at ringside (not to mention all of those who tweeted to me), deserved the decision.
I had the fight 116-112 in favor of Burgos (30-1-1, 20 KOs), whom I gave ample credit to for his dominant body attack. The score was common at ringside, although HBO's scoring guru, Harold Lederman, had it even wider for Burgos at 117-111, as did official judge Waleska Roldan. But judge John Signorile had it 114-114 and Tony Paolillo (not the first time he has been way off with a card in a title fight) absurdly had it 116-112 for Martinez.
Burgos was upset with the decision as were his co-promoters, Artie Pelullo of Banner Promotions and Alex Camponovo of Thompson Boxing. They plan to ask the WBO, which sanctioned the bout, for an immediate rematch.
I hope Burgos is given one.
"Juan Carlos won that fight hands down and this week we will file for an immediate rematch," Pelullo said. "The kid worked hard and should be a world champion. We just hope the WBO agrees with what the whole world saw and does the right thing by granting us this rematch."
Said Camponovo, "The draw left Juan Carlos Burgos completely dejected and angry. We all felt the same way as his dream of becoming a champion turned into a New York nightmare. We hope the WBO does not punish a young man who has given everything to his craft since the age of 10 and joined the pros when he was 16 years old. An immediate rematch should be the only solution to a poor ending and I think Martinez's people and the champion himself know deep down that he did not do enough to retain the belt."
Although judges do not have access to CompuBox's punch statistics (and the stats merely reflect the quantity of punches, not quality), Burgos did land a lot more blows. According to CompuBox, Burgos landed 286 of 805 punches (36 percent) while Martinez connected on 193 of 827 (23 percent). Burgos also landed more shots in 10 of the 12 rounds.
In the power shot category, Burgos was dominant, landing 234 of 507 shots (46 percent) while Martinez landed 164 of 576 (28 percent).