Sergio Martinez and Paul Williams Make For a True Boxing Fan's Type of Fight
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At the risk of having this piece be completely drowned out by Mannymania, I've decided to take a look forward to this Saturday instead of back to last weekend.
If you were looking for a fight of the year candidate from the sport's top dogs in 2010, you ended up disappointed: Floyd Mayweather was brilliant against one of the world's top welterweights, but the fight became predictable as Shane Mosley faded out in the later rounds.
Manny Pacquiao was his normal storm of beautiful violence against Josh Clottey and Antonio Margarito, but his opponents at times looked like sparring partners and at other times simply like heavy bags.
On November 20th, however, we really have something to get excited about—two of the best boxers in the world are having a rematch of one of the best match ups of 2009.
Problem is, nobody outside of the hardcore boxing fans are likely to notice.
Paul Williams (39-1-0, 27 KOs) has been considered a top pound-for-pound fighter for years now, but is barely a blip on the mainstream sports radar screen. Everyone seems to have a theory on this, with poor promotion being one of the most common. He's an east coast fighter that seems to fight out in California far too often, where he draws next to nothing in terms of crowds.
He also isn't the most interesting interview. While he seems like a decent enough guy, he doesn't exactly entertain you with trash talk a la Mayweather or charm you like Pacquiao.
Despite his shortcomings as a money maker, Williams is an entertaining fighter. He throws a huge amount of punches, he's constantly moving forward and he has good enough power to cause some damage.
Add to his ability the fact that he is massive for the weight classes he fights in (6'1" with an 82 inch reach) and he is a formidable opponent for anybody from 147 to 160 pounds.
His opponent Saturday, Sergio Martinez (45-2-2, 24 KOs) is a different style of fighter, but probably no less dangerous. A former professional cyclist and soccer player, Martinez is easily one of the best all around athletes in the sport.
This athletic ability makes up for a somewhat unpolished boxer. Martinez, who didn't enter in to the sweet science until age 20, was knocked down in both of his last two fights, and both times it seemed to be more the work of poor balance and footwork than his opponent's punch.
One of those knockdowns happened in the first round of his fight with Williams, last year. Those who were watching certainly haven't forgotten that round, where both fighters hit the deck and the stage was set for an epic brawl.
By the end of the night, some fans were scratching their heads over the scores of Williams' majority decision win. 115-113 for Williams and 114-114 even seemed pretty reasonable, but the third score, 119-110 for Williams did not tell the story; this was a very close fight.
Since their last meeting, Williams had his bizarre showdown with Kermit Cintron, where Cintron injured himself falling out of the ring, abruptly ending the fight in the fourth round.
Martinez, on the other hand, had the performance of a lifetime, winning the legit middleweight championship from Kelly Pavlik.
It's that middleweight title that will be on the line Saturday night, though not at the 160 pound limit, as Williams' camp demanded a catch weight, something that has become far too common in world title fights in this era.
Boxing politics aside, we have a great match to look forward to this weekend. I invite everybody to calmly set down their computers, stop arguing about Pacquiao-Mayweather on message boards, and watch a great, competitive fight that is actually happening.
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