Rodolfo Martinez vs. Carlos Zarate
8th May, 1976
Today May 8th is the forty fifth anniversary of the legendary fight between WBC bantamweight champion Rodolfo Martinez and Carlos Zarate, who dethroned him with a ninth round KO, at the Inglewood Forum in Los Angles.
A sizeable crowd of 17,468 fans who back then, paid a whopping quarter of a million dollars to see two sons of Tepito duke it out. Both were proven punchers. At that stage Rodolfo was 43-3-1, with 35 KO`s. While Carlos was ominously 40-0 with 39 KO`s.
It was Carlos` first tilt at the magnificent Green and Gold Belt and he made the very most of it. At five feet eight inches tall, he towered over five feet five and a half inches tall Rodolfo. But surprisingly, Rodolfo`s reach at seventy two inches was more than Carlos who`s span was sixty seven inches.
No one imagined it was going to go the full fifteen rounds and that proved absolutely correct. Carlos was calm, calculating and precise, trying to home in on Rodolfo, who used lateral movement and stiff counters, trying to negate the ramrod left jab aimed at his face. Zarate got a little careless in the third and was caught with a terrific left hook which wobbled him, but he weathered it using a wide and balancing stance. His fabulous physical condition also helped him stay upright.
In the fifth Carlos, who`s left nostril was weeping blood, pursued Rodolfo, who switched to southpaw. Rodolfo was backed on to the ropes, and a flurry punctuated by a big right hand put him down. Sensing he could finish it there and then, Carlos threw caution to the wind and waded in, but Rodolfo weathered the two fisted onslaught. At the bell Carlos took out his own mouthguard to suck air deep into his lungs.
Carlos continued to dominate and Rodolfo kept switching to southpaw. It wasn`t successful in wrong footing Carlos. In the ninth he trapped Rodolfo on the ropes and a massive right uppercut dropped him like a stone. He lay prone and the Referee, who didn`t start a count, stopped the fight at one minute and fifty one seconds.
It was the start of a glorious championship reign for Carlos. His final and astonishing career statistics read: 66-4, with sixty three KO`s. Wow he could punch!
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