Sergio Martinez vs. Sergiy Dzinziruk

Sergio Martinez vs. Sergiy Dzinziruk Preview & Prediction

On March 12, Sergio Gabriel Martinez will climb through the ropes to face Sergiy Dzinziruk in a middleweight clash, which according to will be for the "vacant WBC Diamond Middleweight Title." This is because in choosing to face Dzinziruk, Martinez gave the WBC an opportunity to strip him of his title and give it to German fringe contender Sebastain Zbik. The "Diamond Championship" is a farce and a monstrosity, little more than a trophy granted to the winner of a historic fight between two prominent boxers that allows greedy old Jose Suleiman to collect another sanctioning fee (which Martinez is hopefully refusing to pay). Yet even though no title worthy of the name is at stake, this is a fight of substance because Martinez remains the top dog of the middleweight division in the hearts and minds of boxing fans everywhere. His opponent, Sergiy Dzinziruk, is an undefeated junior middleweight champion, and therefore no slouch either.

Sergiy Dzinziruk (37-0, 23 KOs)
6'0" tall, 68" reach, 34 years old, southpaw
Ukrainian living in Germany
Current WBO Junior Middleweight Champion

Credit: Tom Casino/Showtime

If you haven't heard of Sergiy Dzinziruk, then take advantage of this match with Martinez as an opportunity to learn more about him. A well-schooled amateur who won Silver at the 1997 World Amateur Championships, Dzinziruk is the longest reigning champion of the 154 lbs weight class. He won the WBO belt from Daniel Santos in 2005 and has defended it six times since then. Dzinziruk has good power, as exemplified by dropping Daniel Santos in the 8th to win the championship, stopping fringe contender Daniel Dawson in his most recent outing, and his overall knockout numbers.

His style is fairly typical of Continental European fighters, as he stands straight up and comes forward behind a high guard, but with a few important differences. He has a busy and very stiff right jab, which is used to set up short, sharp two and three punch combos from the outside. Dzinziruk is also an able counter-puncher. HBO has been trying to get Dzinziruk into a big fight for at least a couple of years now, which ought to tell you what boxing's biggest network thinks of him.

Sergio Gabriel Martinez (46-2-2, 25 KOs)
5'10" tall, 72" reach, 35 year old, southpaw
Former junior middleweight champion, former middleweight champion

Photo credit: Craig Bennett/Goossen Tutor Promotions

Martinez's qualities are now well-known to boxing fans. He is a tough, busy fighter who uses the southpaw stance to set up an awkward, highly mobile defense. Offensively, Martinez packs a good wallop (as anyone who saw him flatten Paul Williams now knows), but relies more on volume than on single hard shots. That set of tools has carried Martinez to the top of his division, and he has whipped Kermit Cintron, Kelly Pavlik and Paul Williams along the way. "Marvilla" is seasoned, confident, and riding a wave of success.
Martinez vs. Dzinziruk Preview &Analysis

One of the most interesting features of this fight is how so many of the physical factors cancel each other out. Martinez came up from 154 lbs himself, and is not substantially larger than Dzinziruk. The Ukrainian is taller, while Martinez has the longer arms, but both men are about the same size. Both men are roughly the same age as well. While this is Dzinziruk's first truly big fight, he is a seasoned 37-0 champion, and therefore no blushing virgin. Both men will enter the ring equally confident and convinced of their ability to win. Neither man will enjoy the "southpaw advantage" either.

To win this fight, Dzinziruk needs to come forward and score with his right jab. It is his main weapon, and if he can keep the Argentine on the end of his jab he will be able to avoid the worst of Martinez's pressure tactics and capitalize on any mistakes Martinez might make with a straight left or a right hook. Once Dzinziruk gets a good rhythm going and establishes that jab, his point defense will be enough to keep him out of trouble and he pound out round after round.

For Martinez, the road to victory runs right through Dzinziruk's body. Cracking open Dzinziruk's high guard will prove a problem. As a well-schooled, technically sound fighter, Dzinziruk won't make the kind of mistake that let Martinez beat Williams to the punch back in November. Head-hunting the Ukrainian early on is not a winning tactic, so Martinez will need to hammer his ribs first.
Martinez vs. Dzinziruk Prediction

In this contest of plowing forward with the jab and body-snatching off of side to side movement, I see the mobile body puncher carrying the day. Dzinziruk is taller and relies on point defense, while Martinez has the reach and speed to land hard shots to the body from both the outside and the inside. It's a bad combination for the Ukrainian.

Both men are confident and aggressive, and therefore should go right after each other early on, which probably means both guys will be staggered or maybe even knocked down in the early rounds. But it is Martinez who will score the harder, more telling shots, most of them to the body. After a spirited contest, "Marvilla" is going to take Dzinziruk out to deep water and drown him.

Prediction: Martinez TKO7