The highly-anticipated rematch between Paul "The Punisher" Williams and new Middleweight champion Sergio Martinez takes place on November 20 at Caesar's Atlantic City. A prefight conference call took place Thursday, October 28 and was hosted by Dan Goossen of Goossen-Tutor promotions, who promote Paul Williams.
Highlights from the call:
Introduction (Dan Goossen)
Dan Goossen opened up by stating how important this fight is for boxing, and how it might be the biggest fight this year, even more important than Pacquiao-Margarito.
According to Goossen, HBO's Mark Taffet wanted to name this fight "True Blood," but since they obviously couldn't get the naming rights to that, they are calling the fight "Blood and Guts", Martinez vs. Williams II.
Comments from Paul Williams, trainer George Peterson, and Dan Goossen
Paul Williams and his team were on the call first. Williams said that his training is going well. He said that he doesn't feel that the close result of the first fight gives him increased urgency to knock out Martinez, but that he plans to "put a real beating on this time. If the knockout comes, it comes."
Williams then said that he is also going to "be real cautious." When asked to clarify, he said he wanted to be cautious not to hurt Martinez too bad. The fight, to him, is "nothing personal, just business."
According to Michael Woods, Bob Arum recently suggested that there is a potential fight between Pacquiao and the winner of this match. Williams didn't disagree that the future matchup could be a motivating factor, but stressed that he is focused on the November 20 bout with Martinez.
There were several questions about how Williams and Martinez only had three weeks to prepare for their last fight, and how the longer preparation would benefit Williams.
Williams' trainer George Peterson said that Martinez was running in the first fight, and Paul Williams agreed that there would be more punches thrown. However, Williams emphasized that the first fight wasn't "that difficult," and that he just took a few rounds to adjust to the style of Martinez.
The fight is going to be fought at a catchweight of 158 lbs. According to a press release sent out just prior to the conference, Williams weighed 162 and Martinez 176. Neither fighter said that the weight would be an issue.
Williams' camp explained Williams' low weight by pointing out that Williams was trying to book his next fight at 147 against Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather, Jr., and so he was closer to that weight class.
Regarding the reasoning behind having the fight at 158 rather than 160, Williams' trainer said, "I just can't understand the difference in two pounds" Martinez later said that it was a concession he had to make in order to get Williams to agree to fight him.
Peterson said that, since Paul won the first fight, Martinez should be grateful to be getting a rematch.
When asked if he felt slighted when Kelly Pavlik decided to defend his middleweight title against Martinez instead of him, Williams said that he did feel that Martinez "stole the belts that are supposed to be mine."
When asked about fighters being protected by their promoters by booking matches against lower-caliber, "in-house" opposition, Williams and his team stated that it's up to the fighter to stand up to their promoter and say that they want the big fights.
They also said that in order to make that happen, fighters must be flexible and not just fight in one weight division. They frequently cited Pacquiao as an example of someone who should stand up and say that he wants the biggest fights. The promoters, they said, were just being smart businessmen when they protected their fighters in this way.
There were several questions alluding to the similarities between Martinez and Carlos Quintana, who handed Williams his only career loss in a fight that "The Punisher" later avenged. Reporters suggested that Martinez's movement was tricky for Williams to deal with, but Williams said he wants to end this fight quickly, like he did in his rematch against Quintana.
Regarding being knocked down in the first fight, Williams said that he wasn't hurt, but just got caught by a punch he wasn't expecting, and wasn't bothered by Martinez's power.
Paul Williams said his training has focused primarily on fighting a left-handed fighter, and they have paid attention to what Martinez did last fight, and what adjustments he might make this fight. The bottom line, he said, is that he doesn't care what approach Martinez comes in with.
Notes from Goossen
Before Martinez went on the call, Goossen said that tickets are going very well, which reflects the interest of the fans, and how good the fight is for Atlantic City.
He also mentioned that the final press conference will be at Caesar's Atlantic City on Wednesday, November 17 at 12:30 pm. Finally, he reinforced that this matchup will be a good fight, and that even though Sergio is a good fighter, Paul is one of the best fighters in the world pound for pound, and could be launched to the top of the Pound-for-Pound rankings after this fight.
Comments from Sergio Martinez, trainer Gabriel Sarmiento, and translator Cecilio Flores
Robert Morales of LA Daily News asked Martinez about a recent conversation Morales had with Goossen. Goossen had said that because Paul has a full training camp for this fight, he could knock out Martinez in six or seven rounds.
When asked (through interpreter Cecilio Flores) his thoughts on this, Sergio Martinez said that Williams' camp is afraid and fearful, which is why they are making excuses.
Regarding why they are fighting at a 158-pound catchweight, rather than the 160-lb weight most middleweight fights happen at, Martinez said that it was a concession he had to make in order for Williams to sign the contract.
Martinez said that he has never had a weight problem in his career, and that after the morning's training, he weighed 169, down seven pounds from the previously-released press report.
Lem Satterfield said that Martinez had noted from ringside that Williams looked like a different fighter in his most recent fight against Kermit Cintron. Martinez said that he did indeed notice that, but said he didn't want to claim that it was because of Williams' tough fight against Martinez. He also stated that he and Kermit Cintron (who share a promoter) did not share notes on Williams prior to Cintron's fight against Paul Williams.
When asked about how this fight will be different from the last, Martinez said (as interpreted by Flores) "[Martinez is] going to hurt him worse than he did in the first fight." They then dismissed further weight questions, saying it was Williams' camp who kept bringing up that issue.
Martinez's camp confirmed there is no clause limiting the amount of rehydration that can be done between weigh-in and the fight. They remarked that maybe Paul Williams might want to go back and renegotiate that if he's still looking for ways out of the contract.
When asked if they were preparing for what Williams did in his rematch with Carlos Quintana, where he came out early looking for a KO, Martinez's camp said they weren't worried about what strategy Williams comes out with.
According to Martinez, Williams is a great fighter, but he is also a great talker, and is making excuses.
Martinez is working on several different game plans, but most important is that he doesn't let the decision go to the scorecards.
Martinez admitted that he was short one big punch in their first matchup, but is coming in to prove "I'm the better fighter, I'm the smart fighter and the more improved fighter" and to show the world he will stay champion.
Final Comments from Dan Goossen
Regarding the possibility of a trilogy, Goossen said it had been discussed, but made no mention of anything being formalized yet. He did say, however, that he expected a great second fight, and if the need arose for a rubber match, that it may happen if it was a fight the fans wanted to see.
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