Standing in his corner a few minutes after the final bell rang, Juan Carlos Burgos was feeling good. He had ventured to legendary Madison Square Garden in New York City as a relative unknown and fought perhaps the best fight of his career. Burgos had clearly out boxed WBO super featherweight champion Rocky Martinez over 12 rounds. His bodywork had been impressive. After a lull in the middle rounds, he found his second wind and picked up the pace.
The decision should have been anti-climatic.
But this is boxing.
Judge Waleska Roldan’s scorecard (117-111 for Burgos) reflected the ringside consensus. A round or two could have gone the champion's way if one was feeling generous. (doghouseboxing.com scored the bout 116-112 for Burgos).
A unanimous decision looked to be forth coming. Not so fast. Judge Tony Paolillo shockingly gave Martinez the fight by a 116-112 tally. As the 'boo’s' cascaded around The Garden, there was hope that judge John Signorile would render the Paullilo card irrelevant.
Unfortunately, hope is not always the reality. Signorile saw the fight as a 114-114 draw.
Burgos looked up in disbelief shaking his head ever so slightly.
In the opposite corner, Martinez raised his hand. His Christmas present had arrived early.
In the last two weeks, Burgos has re-watched the fight repeatedly.
“I’ve seen the fight many times.” Burgos said, through translator Alex Camponova, to this writer last week. “I still feel the same way as I did before. I took more time to myself to watch it alone. I’m 100 percent convinced that I won the fight. There’s no way the fight was a draw.”
Burgos (30-1-1, 20 KOs) executed his game plan throughout most of the fight.
“I did have a strategy going into the fight.” said Burgos. “I know I made a couple of mistakes during the fight that I need to correct. Maybe(, -delete)I wasn’t listening to my corner enough between rounds. I went back to our plan in the middle of the rounds. I know I won the fight.”
The ability to go to the body seems to be a lost art. Some judges either go blind or fail to recognize that a right hand to the gut is an automatic point.
Burgos used Martinez's body like a battering ram throughout most of their 12-round affair. His well-placed shots had to hurt.
“I am a very good body puncher even though I’m usually taller than my opponent,” said Burgos. “I can normally work the body very well. That was part of our strategy. I had also seen in other fights that Martinez was open to bodyshots. I needed to capitalize on that.
“At the same time I have to give a lot of respect to Martinez for standing up to those shots. Some other fighters would have stayed in their corner or taken a knee, “Burgos added.
The 25-year-old- native of Tijuana, Mexico acknowledged the strength of Martinez’s punches.
“I wasn’t hurt or buzzed, but I felt his power,”Burgos said. “I prepared very hard and was in top condition. I take a good shot.”
Fighting is something Burgos knows well.
“When I was child I got into a lot of fights,” said Burgos chuckling. “My parents decided to take me to a gym so I wouldn’t fight on the streets. I come from a boxing family. My Uncle Victor is a former champ. My father and uncle also boxed.
“Seeing my Uncle Victor on television motivated me to fight and become a professional.”
After the fight was declared a draw, Thompson Boxing and Banner promotion – the co-promoters of Burgos - demanded a rematch. Burgos is confident that a sequel is in the works. As of this writing, an investigation into the scoring of three ringside judges is also underway.
“I have a good feeling a rematch is going to happen,” Burgos said. “The fight was good so I’m sure a lot of people want to see a rematch. I’m hopeful the WBO will make the right decision. It’s in their hands now. I’m just waiting for the right decision so that I can fight him again.
“I’m the number one challenger and I know he didn’t beat me,” added Burgos.