August 28th, 2007 – by Jonny Stapleton at The Point, Dublin
Kiko Martinez took just 86 seconds to effectively turn a boisterous sold out Point Theatre into a morgue last Saturday night as he powered his way to victory over one of Ireland’s true sporting heroes,
As per usual, the famous dockland venue was a crescendo of noise and song as the then European Champion, Bernard Dunne, made his way into the ring for a fight that was suppose to propel him toward a dream World Title
But, within a jaw dropping and explosive minute and half you could have heard a Dunne tear hit the canvas, as 7000 people were stunned into silence, left mourning the loss of the European Title and the possible death of any World super bantamweight title ambitions.
The Neilstown native got “caught cold” as the “mini Tyson” set out to finish the bout as quick as he could.
It wasn’t just sensational from Kiko “La Sensacion” Martinez it was out of this world; he responded to a trade mark Dunne combination with his own marque powerful right and didn’t stop throwing punches from there on in.
Dunne, who had only ever once before met the canvas, was too proud to grab, spoil or dance and as a result the Prince of Dublin hit the mat three times and was relieved of his European Title before the first of a scheduled 12 rounds had ended.
You could sense the utter heartache, both in and out of the ring, immediately after the bout, their was as much anguish as disbelief from both team Dunne and his loyal fans.
But, amongst the shocked and traumatised thousands there were a handful of tranquil and content Spaniards.
Champ Kiko were not phased by the result or the manner in which it came, in fact they were so confident of a first round knock out that they staked €10,000 at 66/1 on the outcome.
After there were no more tears to fill the hankies and the disbelief that comes with shock wore off, the ‘what happens next question’ reared its head.
Is a 24 and 1 record still big enough to draw 600,000 TV viewers or to persuade punters to flock in their droves again? Is the World Title dream dead or on its sick bed? And can Bernard Dunne bounce back?
If anything Dunne can be proud off what he has already achieved, along with Brian Peters, his promoter, he has brought Irish boxing to a level it had never previously enjoyed.
He became the first ever boxer to fill The Point, neither Lennox Lewis or Prince Naseem could achieve that and single handily put boxing back onto the back pages, providing inspiration for hundreds of aspiring Irish fighters.
But, you get the feeling that, that certainly wouldn’t be enough for the talented and determined Neilstown native, he will be looking to mend his reputation, but only after a deserved rest.
There was positive talk of a rematch directly after the fight, but Martinez will be tempted by the possibility of fulfilling his dream and fighting in Las Vegas, which is an option considering his new partners Setanta connections.