Bantamweight Mauricio Martinez of Panama didn't impress the restless Arrowhead Pond crowd of 2,711 Monday night. But his workmanlike performance, which ended with an eighth-round knockout of Cruz Acosta, moved him a step closer to a world title fight.
Martinez (15-3-1, 10 knockouts) used uppercuts and overhand rights to dominate Acosta (17-2) of Culiacan, Mexico, who had never before fought in the United States. Acosta, whose nose appeared to have been broken by an uppercut, decided he didn't want to take any more punishment after the eighth round. Referee Pat Russell concurred with Acosta's decision.
"This is the first fight I've used the uppercut much," said Martinez, who has won his last five fights by knockout. "He was reading my jab too well, so I went to the uppercut."
Martinez, ranked second by the World Boxing Organization, said he will not challenge Jorge Eliecer Julio, the WBO champion and Martinez's stablemate. He is hoping to fight for the World Boxing Assn. title.
The fans, who booed throughout the main event, were much more appreciative of junior middleweight Dwain Williams' performance in the co-main event. Williams (16-3, 12 knockouts) of Los Angeles also stopped his opponent, Fidel Avendano of Acapulco, Mexico, after eight rounds.
Williams, who was coming off a knockout loss at the Pond in February, hammered the slower Avendano (46-12-1) relentlessly with punishing left hooks.
By the eighth round, Avendano's bloodied ear could withstand no more. After the round, ringside physician Michael Deluca mercifully stopped the bout.
"I felt they probably should have stopped it earlier," Williams said. "But I was just doing my job."