GLENDALE — Vanes "Nightmare" Martirosyan made another point in his case to be considered a top contender in the 154-pound division with his win via 10-round unanimous decision over fellow undefeated prospect "Mean" Joe Greene in the Bronx, New York on Saturday night.
He also made a bit of history, as well, as his North American Boxing Federation and North American Boxing Organization super welterweight title defense was part of the first boxing card to take place in the new Yankee Stadium, which opened in 2009. The last of myriad classic boxing exhibitions held at the former Yankee Stadium, which closed in 2008, was a bout between Muhammad Ali and Ken Norton on Sept. 28, 1976.
HBO. "It was a great event. I was so happy to be a part of it."
Fighting on the opposite coast from his home in Glendale against a hometown favorite in Greene (22-1, 14 knockouts), who fights out of Jamaica, Queens, Martirosyan (28-0 17 KOs) outpunched and thoroughly outboxed his opponent, landing 32% of his punches (133 out of 416) to Greene's 23% rate (87 out of 386).
While the fight started slow and never developed into much a crowd-pleaser, Martirosyan shrugged off a badly swollen left eye in the pivotal sixth round and did enough to win comfortably, 98-91, on judge Julie Lederman's card and 96-93, according to judges Billy Costello and Tom Schreck. The News-Press scored the fight, 98-91, in favor of Martirosyan, as did HBO's ringside judge Harold Lederman.
"[Greene] did what we wanted him to do — come forward," Martirosyan said. "Once he ran into my punches he stopped coming forward and started looking at the clock."
Greene, a natural right-hander fighting southpaw, rarely threw combinations and seemed resigned to trying to catch Martirosyan with a home run shot, more so as Martirosyan began to pile up rounds on the scorecards.
Greene's window of opportunity came late in the fifth round, the only round he won on the News-Press card, when Martirosyan's left eye, the same eye cut in his Jan. fight against Kassim Ouma, began to swell shut.
Early in the sixth, Martirosyan seemed to be conscious of the swelling while fighting and prior to the start of the round Greene's trainers could be heard on the live broadcast imploring him to attack the eye.
But Martirosyan solidified his control of the fight in the sixth, landing four solid rights late to win the round and begin to salt away the decision.
"I just had to be calm and stick to the game plan," Martirosyan said. "He changed up a lot, but eventually he started running around.
"He didn't want to fight after a while."
In the eighth round, a Martirosyan combo opened a cut over Greene's right eye and Martirosyan took the final round, 10-8, when his right hook caused Greene to stumble for the lone knockdown of the fight inside the final 10 seconds.
"When I saw blood, I wanted [Greene's] cut to get bigger, maybe go for a stoppage," Martirosyan said. "After 10 rounds, I wasn't even breathing hard.
"I'll fight [Paul] Williams, I'll fight any of the top fighters [in the division]. But I know when I fight the top fighters, they're not going to run, they're going to keep coming forward."