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Rising boxing star Sergio Martinez returns home to defend WBC title

Sergio Martinez, right, lands a punch against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. during their WBC middleweight title fight in Las Vegas on Sept. 15, 2012. Martinez won by unanimous decision.
Sergio Martinez, right, lands a punch against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. during their WBC middleweight title fight in Las Vegas on Sept. 15, 2012. Martinez won by unanimous decision.
Julie Jacobson / AP

Coming up

Saturday (9 p.m., Showtime): Danny Garcia vs. Zab Judah, 12, for Garcia’s WBA and WBC super-lightweight titles; Peter Quillin vs. Fernando Guerrero, 12, for Quillin’s WBO middleweight title.

Saturday (8:30 p.m., HBO): Sergio Martinez vs. Martin Murray, 12, for Martinez’s WBC middleweight title.

Special to The Miami Herald

In his previous fight, Sergio Martinez reached an important milestone. For the first time in his career, Martinez fought in a pay-per-view bout.

Martinez’s convincing unanimous decision victory over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. last September not only earned him a middleweight belt but it also validated his spot among the sport’s best pound-for-pound fighters.

Reaching such a coveted perch justified the lengthy path Martinez, 38, endured while never ceding ambitions to seek stardom. Martinez’s prolonged period of trials and tribulations made the victory over Chavez much sweeter.

One of the adjustments Martinez made was leaving his native country Argentina. Martinez moved to Spain 11 years ago and built his name with fights throughout the country. Eventually, Martinez sought stronger competition and additional exposure in the United States.

But during the decade-long separation from his homeland, Martinez (50-2-2, 28 KOs) always yearned for a return bout in Argentina.

Martinez will finally give his compatriots a much-awaited treat. In the first defense of his World Boxing Council title, Martinez will fight Great Britain’s Martin Murray (25-0-1, 11 KOs) on Saturday night at Velez Sarsfield Stadium in Buenos Aires (8:30 p.m., HBO).

The bout will be Martinez’s first since his win over Chavez. Moreover, Martinez has not fought in Argentina since April 2002 — 27 fights ago.

With the obvious emotions of fighting at home after a prolonged absence, Martinez also understands that any slip in performance could derail the sacrifices of the past decade. Martinez realizes there are additional lucrative bouts pending thanks to his current position as an elite fighter.

Alvarez wins

Mexico’s Saul “Canelo” Alvarez won a unanimous decision over Austin Trout in their super-welterweight title unification bout Saturday in San Antonio.

Alvarez pursued Trout throughout the bout but also boxed from a distance as he was effective with rights to the head and right uppercuts. In the opening seconds of the seventh round, he floored Trout with a straight right to the head for the fight’s only knockdown.

Attempting to build on his convincing win over Miguel Cotto last December, Trout (26-1) landed with a lead right jab and combinations to the head.

But Alvarez’s aggression convinced all three judges. Alvarez won the bout on all three scorecards, 116-111, 115-112 and 118-109.

“Austin was a difficult fighter but little by little I figured out how to fight him,” Alvarez said. “I will learn from this and only get better.”

Alvarez retained his World Boxing Council belt and won the World Boxing Association belt previously held by Trout, who accepted the bout’s result.

“He was the better man, he was quicker, he was stronger,” Trout said of Alvarez. “I have no excuses for tonight.”

The bout was fought before a pro-Alvarez crowd of 39,247 at the Alamodome.

• Pembroke Pines’ Ed Paredes (33-3-1, 22 KOs) knocked out Basilio Silva in the second round of their welterweight bout Saturday in the Dominican Republic.

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