Jennifer Han vs Liliana Martinez: What We Know
Tonight Jennifer Han (14-3-1) will defend her IBF Featherweight Title against Liliana Martinez (20-15) at the Don Haskins Center. Han has been on a streak and there is nothing when watching tape of Martinez that indicates it will be stopped tonight.
Han has openings and weaknesses that can be exploited by a clever fighter, but these openings usually reveal themselves in a dog-fight, when Han's precise, clean boxing wavers and her ability to control the fight gets tested.
When Han last fought against Calista Silgado, there was none of those holes. Silgado was easily frustrated by the pure boxing Han presented and never got a foothold in the fight.
Liliana Martinez is a journeywomen fighter. Her record reveals much of what is in store for us tonight. In her fight against Maureen Shea, we can see how Martinez is easily flustered by strategic boxing, and in her desperation can find herself running into traps that smart boxers, such as Jennifer Han, employ through footwork and popping jabs.
Jennifer Han is on the cusp of the next level. It is the same location Antonio Escalante was in a few years ago. There is hype, there is talent, but there has yet to be a true test. When Escalante faced his first true opponent, it popped the balloon El Pasoans had inflated for ourselves and our representative. Escalante never came back. Han, however, has lost and knows the taste. This is one of the larger advantages she has, it is the ropes on her back in the ring. Some fighters feel those ropes and panic, get stuck and fall prey to combinations that end the fight. Other fighters know the feeling of the ropes, can stay focused and use their knowledge of being backed into a corner to fight out.
While Martinez is no test, and we will learn nothing new outside of a rare possibility that the belt has gotten to Han's head, we will see how the memories of being against the ropes play out. Martinez record indicates that she cannot escape them, and Han will no doubt use the sweet science to remind her.
Jennifer Han wins by however she want.