In the aftermath of Floyd Mayweather's domination of Shane Mosley there continues to be a lot of maneuvering in the boxing world. Last night, Paul Williams and Antonio Margarito climbed into ring with a lot to gain and a lot to lose.
Both fighters won their bouts, but only one of them ended up a winner at the end of the night. There were other winners and other losers as well, including both Floyd, Jr. and Manny Pacquiao.
Let's look at the sore sheet.
Winner - Antonio Margarito
Margarito easily beat tough Roberto Garcia in Mexico to start his climb out of boxing purgatory. Winning by a large margin on all three cards Margarito showed that he still has skills as well as a big punch, with or without loaded gloves.
This win allows his promoter, Bob Arum, to continue using a possible Manny Pacquiao-Margarito fight as a threat during negotiations with Golden Boy during the upcoming Mayweather-Pacquiao negotiations.
Loser - Paul Williams
The tall, athletic Williams showed once again why no one wants to fight him.
Williams started slow but his awkward style was starting to work it's magic on Kermit Cintron when the fight came to it's bizarre, unsatisfying end in round four.
I'd like to describe exactly what happened, but after watching it from three angles several times on HBO I was even more confused than when it first happened.
On one angle it appeared Cintron tried to clinch and ended up with his arm around Williams' head. Another angle looked like Williams started to fall and grabbed Cintron and flung the Puerto Rican out of the ring as he went down.
Cintron ended up falling on the TV production table and then to the floor. Doctors rushed to Cintron's side and later called the fight.
In other states this would have been ruled a no contest, but in California they go to the cards after three rounds.
Williams ended up with a split decision and immediately did the obligatory call out to Mayweather and then Pacquiao.
With the small crowd already booing the fight's first uneventful rounds and then booing the decision, I can not see anyone giving either fighter a hard time for passing on a bout with Williams.
Winner - Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
Floyd's people have been letting people know that they would be interested in fighting Sergio Martinez if the Pacquiao fight falls through again. Whether it's just a bargaining chip or the real deal, the Martinez fight makes sense style wise and belt wise.
The only drawback would have been the perception that Money was ducking Paul Williams by taking a fight with Martinez. After all, Williams had already beaten Martinez and said he would fight at Welterweight if necessary to fight Floyd.
But after the debacle on Saturday night in front of a sea of empty seats at the Home Depot Center I doubt anyone will call Mayweather out for going with Martinez. Especially since there are people who believe that Martinez won his fight with Williams last December and many others thought it was a draw.
Loser - Manny Pacquiao
Bob Arum has made noises that he will match Pacquiao with Margarito if negotiations get tough with Mayweather and Golden Boy. Arum is fine with that because just like Cotto and Clottey, Arum reps Margarito and he'll control the entire promotion.
It's a disaster for Manny if that happens. Manny has nothing to gain fighting Margarito, a disgraced fighter who was beaten by not only Paul Williams, but Shane Mosley, who was just dispatched into the night by Money May.
Not only does Manny gain nothing from beating Margarito, but last night's fight showed that Margarito can still punch. And punch hard.
Manny beats Antonio, they just say he beat the man who lost to the man that Floyd destroyed. If Margarito catches him with a big punch maybe he loses.
It's a lose-lose proposition for Pac-Man.
Floyd knows that. He'll negotiate that much tougher now that he thinks he has the upper hand. And he does have the upper hand.
Loser - Boxing fans.
This might be somewhat premature but last night's results were not good for boxing.
The Williams fight was a total mess. Boring at the outset, and unsatisfying in it's conclusion.
The Margarito a total disgrace. Margarito couldn't fight in the states and probably shouldn't be allowed to fight anywhere right now.
Bob Arum may use this night to ruin the Mayweather-Pacquiao showdown. Blowing up the fight and not really negotiating so he can make the Margarito-Pacquiao fight that only he and Antonio really want.
Let's hope he doesn't.