NEWARK, New Jersey – Joey Spencer wouldn’t let James Martin ruin his perfect record too.
Spencer got off to a strong start, fending off Martin’s little rally in the middle rounds to win her eight-round junior middleweight game by unanimous decision on Saturday night at the Prudential Center.
Judges James Kinney (80-72), John McKaie (79-73) and John Signorli (79-73) all scored their long distance bouts for Spencer (13-0, 9 KOs) from Linden, Michigan.
Martin (7-3, 0 KOs), who pissed off previously undefeated Vito Mielnicki Jr. three months ago, was due to face Mielnicki in an immediate rematch on Saturday night, but Martin was much overweight on Friday and agreed, instead in the first fight against Spencer compete to televise FOX.
Philadelphia’s Martin replaced Dan Karpency as Spencer’s opponent after Friday’s weigh-in. Spencer had a weight advantage of five pounds over Martin because Martin raised 151½ pounds for a second straight fight with Mielnicki.
Unlike his win over Mielnicki, Martin didn’t land nearly enough punches against Spencer to score a second upset in a row.
Martin pressed the action in round eight, when a seemingly exhausted Spencer was less active than in previous rounds.
Spencer ate Martin’s right hand to land two of his own left long hooks at the start of the seventh round. Martin landed a right hand and helped Spencer onto the ropes just before the seventh round ended.
Martin’s overhand right hit early in the sixth round. Spencer landed on the right and Martin later hit him with a left in the sixth round.
A left hook from Spencer moved Martin backwards at the start of lap five, which was a competitive three minutes.
Spencer, struggling against the ropes, cut Martin off with a counter-right hand towards the end of the sixth round.
Martin and Spencer swapped left hooks when they were in the middle of the ring on the fourth round. Martin then put Spencer under pressure and landed a right hand.
An aggressive Martin was more successful in this fourth round than in the first three rounds.
Spencer’s hand speed and defense skills won him the third round. He assisted Martin that round with a left hook, which caused Martin to switch to a southpaw, hoping to land clean shots at Spencer.
Spencer caught Martin with the right lead three times in the second lap. A swinging left hook from Spencer brought Martin back on the second lap.
Spencer skipped most of Martin’s punches in the second round.
A left hook from Spencer threw Martin off balance in the first minute of the Theif fight. Spencer also landed the harder punches for the remainder of the first round.
Seven rounds later, Martin suffered his third professional defeat.
Martin had hoped to score another win against Mielnicki, the Roseland, New Jersey resident, who wanted to avenge his defeat in front of his hometown fans. The unannounced Martin angered Mielnicki by majority voting in an eight-round FOX that aired on April 17th from the Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall in Los Angeles.
However, 24-year-old Martin failed to reach the contracted weight of 147 pounds and agreed on Friday morning to fight one of Mielnicki’s stable mates, Keeshawn Williams, instead. Mielnicki and Williams switched opponents when Mielnicki agreed to fight Noah Kidd in FOX’s co-feature on Saturday night.
However, after the weigh-in on Friday afternoon with Williams, Martin was asked to fight Spencer in the FOX opener. Spencer’s original opponent, Karpency, refused to fight Spencer because Spencer was 2½ pounds over her contracted weight of 154 pounds.
Karpency (9-3-1, 4 KOs), of Adah, Pennsylvania, fulfilled his contractual obligation by stepping on the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board at 153½ pounds. Williams (7-0-1, 2 KOs) from Lanham, Maryland, had no opponents on Saturday night.
Spencer fought for the first time on Saturday night after two needles were inserted into his right hand during surgery in late February.
Keith Idec is a senior writer / columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.