Former middleweight champion Sergio Martinez managed to turn back time once more to display flashes of his old self in a solid win over England’s Brian Rose at the Plaza de Toros de Valdemoro near Madrid, Spain, scoring a unanimous decision victory by scorecards of 97-94 (twice) and 96-94 in a ten-round bout on this Saturday, September 25.

In the first round, Martinez became the stalker right away against a much taller and bigger opponent, connecting a terrific hammering right jab from his southpaw stance towards the end of the episode.

Martinez’s worst moment in the fight would come early in the second round, when a straight right by Rose shook him to the core and wobbled him visibly, forcing him into a clinch that ended with both fighters entangled on the canvas.

Martinez regained control in the third, working behind a pawing jab and cornering his opponent in several occasions, even though he appeared to be trying to catch his breath after a difficult previous round. Rose went back to his corner to nurse a small cut over his left eye and came out in defensive mode in the fourth, trying to work his way past a sneaky right jab that kept him at bay and paved the way for a more solid, ramming straight right hand that stunned Rose a few times.

Martinez, who had retired in 2014 after a loss against Miguel Cotto and a series of knee injuries that wouldn’t heal properly, started showing stance problems in the fifth and sixth rounds, but even so he managed to establish his jab with precision and power, continuing to keep Rose in check in two of the closest rounds of the fight.

Feeling that he was in control of the action, Martinez scaled back his ring movement in the seventh while keeping his output at a high level, scoring at will while Rose’s cut grew bigger. The eighth round was pure vintage Martinez as he chased his foe around the ring and forced him to the canvas in what was ruled a slip by the referee.

With the cut looking bad and bleeding profusely, and with Martinez doubling up on his ramming right jab, the home stretch belonged to the Argentine-Spanish fighter, who was also the promoter of the bout through his promotional company Maravillabox.

Martinez (now 54-3-2, 30 KO) had two previous wins during this past year in the comeback trail, defeating Jose Miguel Fandiño and Jussi Koivula in two easier challenges leading up to this fight, and he now aims to a world title opportunity in the near future. At the age of 46, he will need to expedite his plans if he wants to have any semblance of a chance against the current crop of 160-pound titlists, which include names such as Jermall Charlo, Ryota Murata, Gennadiy Golovkin and Chris Eubank Jr., among others.

Rose, 36, slips to 32-7-1 (8 KO) in a career highlighted by his six successful British title bouts, and a string of failures at a higher level, including an unsuccessful bid for the WBO junior middleweight belt against Demetrius Andrade in 2014.