Saturday, November 20, 2010
Sergio Martinez vs Paul Williams II
Ed Hernandez and I were at the Home Depot Center in July of 2007, when Paul Williams took Antonio Margarito’s WBO title by 12 rounds unanimous decision. It was a close, hard fought battle and despite the angry response from the crowd, Williams deserved the win. He’s the real deal and I think it’s fair criticism when most boxing writers and boxing fans say that both Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao want nothing to do with him, though maybe a little more Mayweather than Pacquiao, especially after last Saturday’s shutout by Pacquiao over Margarito.
In his very next fight, Williams lost his title to the once highly regarded Carlos Quintana, a fight he avenged with a first round stoppage a few month later in the rematch. He has been on a six fight winning streak since the loss to Quintana.
One of Williams “victims” was Sergio Martinez, and I use the term “victim” loosely , in fact if Martinez was a victim that night, it was of bad judging. The fight at best could have been a draw but I thought Martinez edged out the fight and I’m not the only one. Still, it wasn’t a robbery , some fights just come down to opinions.
Martinez, an athlete and former soccer player from Argentina, made the transition from soccer player to professional boxer without the benefit of ever having fought as an amateur. Wasting no time after the loss to Williams, Martinez took on tough Kelly Pavlik for Pavlik’s WBC and WBO Middleweight titles. Pavlik’s only loss up to that fight was a twelve round loss to Bernard Hopkins. It was an exciting fight that Martinez won in spectacular fashion in twelve rounds.
That brings us to tonight’s fight in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Williams has proven he can win a rematch and Martinez has shown himself to be a legitimate fighter with skill and speed. Sometimes rematches turn out to be boring duds. Every once in a while though, we get a Gotti-Ward, Barrera-Morales or a Marquez-Vasquez. That’s my hope for tonight
Williams, a tall and rangy fighter needs to use his height and jab to set up his punches. Show some patience before going on the inside. Martinez, an excellent counterpuncher, has to keep in perpetual motion, not be a stationary target and find a way to get inside of Williams jab, which might not be quite as easy as the first fight.
This fight is a toss up but maybe the mental edge goes to Martinez. He was a contender in the first fight, Now he’s a champion. My father would tell me that a fighter really gains confidence once they win a title. They believe in themselves in a way they never did before, becoming a champion improves them. If that’s the case and Martinez is an improved fighter, Williams will have his hands full tonight. On top of that, Martinez feels he got screwed in the first fight. He wants revenge.
The fight will be televised by HBO. As always, may the best man win.
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