Xavier Martinez is back in the win column.
Once a promising prospect on the rise, Sacramento’s Martinez bounced back from his lone career defeat with a fifth-round stoppage over Alejandro ‘Pork Chop’ Guerrero. A flurry of power punches left Guerrero defenseless, forcing referee Edward Hernandez Sr. to stop the junior lightweight contest at 2:57 of round five Saturday evening at Pechanga Arena in San Diego.
Guerrero flew out of his corner upset-minded, immediately taking the fight to Martinez. The 24-year-old Texas native landed a clean left hook midway through the opening round, moments after unloading with power shots over the top of Martinez’s guard though most missing their mark. Martinez maintained his poise, landing right hands and left hooks to the body while coming back up top with the jab.
Martinez slowed down the attack of Guerrero, heeding the between-rounds advice of Robert Garcia Jr. Contreras was intent on remaining the aggressor, though left looking for opening that just weren’t there as Martinez’s jab was key in bringing the fight to his desired pace.
Two-way action ensued in round three. Martinez was the more effective combination puncher but still forced to fend off Guerrero’s left hook and right uppercut. Martinez consistently found a home for his long right hand, often setting up sequences where he was able to land in bunches.
Martinez closed the show in style in round five after slowing and steadily wearing down Guerrero. A flurry of power shots left Guerrero to cover up along the ropes, twice previously warned by the referee to show him something before eventually stepping in to intervene.
The fight sees Martinez advance to 18-1 (11KOs), bouncing back from a disappointing loss to Robson Conceicao earlier this year. The lingering effect of that defeat is evident in the upcoming schedule, as Conceicao is due to challenge lineal/WBC/WBO junior lightweight champion Shakur Stevenson atop a September 23 ESPN show in Newark, New Jersey.
Martinez-Guerrero aired live as part of a nine-fight card on ESPN+ and later transitioning to ESPN. Headlining the show, WBO featherweight titlist Emanuel Navarrete (35-1, 29KOs) attempts his third title defense as he faces first-time title challenger Eduardo Baez (21-2-2, 7KOs).
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox