When Sergio Martinez did the impossible and sent Paul “Iron Chin” Williams to the canvas many believed he had officially sealed the deal for fighter of the year and knockout of the year in 2010. However the knockout occurred in the second round leading many boxing journalists to completely write off the possibility of calling the match “fight of the year.'
I initially found that hypocritical considering I had heard of a match in 1985 titled “The War,” between Marvin Hagler and Tommy Hearns that ended in the third round and still won Ring Magazine fight of the year.
This made me wonder what was so special about that fight to make it a winner and why it was different from the Martinez-Williams fight.
Martinez-Williams ended earlier than people expected. The two warriors had previously beat each other down over the course of 12 action-packed rounds. Williams won a unanimous decision that was disputed by many who saw Martinez land the cleaner harder shots all night.
Their initial fight was a contender for fight of the year.
Their second fight didn't feel like a sure thing for fight of the year material, but should be given strong consideration, especially if a three round fight had previously won such accolades. Paul Williams started this fight off strong, Sergio Martinez countered and got in there with Williams, choosing to engage him rather than box in and out of his range like he had done previously. This brought the match to a quick end in the second round, but the action was still jam packed in my opinion...until I saw the Hagler-Hearns fight. I had heard of this fight, but had never seen it until checking it out on YouTube.
My jaw dropped and stayed open enough for a whole beehive to fly in. Both Hagler and Hearns fought fiercely from the opening bell. Exciting the crowd and bloodying each other up in almost an instant with lightning bolt action and thunder clapping punches. Hagler was wobbled, yet he wouldn't go down. Instead he kept throwing and pursuing Hearns. The first round was incredible. The second round was almost the pace of the first round of the Martinez-Williams fight. The third and final round was roughly the same pace, but ended in a string of punches that eventually led to Hearn's fall and vaulted Hagler to epic levels of greatness.
So naturally, I watched Martinez-Williams again on YouTube to compare it to Hagler-Hearns. The fight was quickly paced. Williams came out much more aggressively than his previous fight against Kermit Cintron. The hard hitting started quickly. The referee broke them up whenever they fought on the inside. This was very similar to what I saw the referee do in the Hagler-Hearns fight. The pace in the Hagler-Hearns fight was better, but the Martinez's knockout in round two,was so unpredictable and amazing that it completely blew Hearns' fall out of the water. Hearns stumbled and danced around in a daze for a while before being finished. That's a nice finish, but Williams was a taller fighter who was hit and just leaned forward, going dramatically limp.
Between the two fights, a lot of action transpired. Sergio provided the better knockout, but Hearns and Hagler provided the more intense fight. Hagler actually experienced great adversity, being wobbled in the beginning of the fight only to turn that around quickly in the second and then finish Hearns in the third.
I used to not understand why a second round fight couldn't be nominated for fight of the year if a three round fight won previously, but now I understand. It was the lack of adversity that killed Martinez's chance of having a fight of the year contender in 2010. He didn't look as if he were in trouble. The KO came from nowhere and was mighty impressive, but there wasn't any adversity. Martinez dominated the fight.
Ring Magazine tends to reward fights that have a constant change in the potential victor. Anytime someone completely dominates a fight, Ring magazine congratulates the victor, but doesn't reward his fight with fight of the year. Sergio Martinez has a bright future but fight of the year 2010 is not a part of it. Thanks to the aptly titled “War” between Marvin Hagler-Tommy Hearns, I completely understand why.