Almost a year has passed since Sergio Martinez, 45-2-2 (24), fought Paul Williams, 39-1 (27), in a classic battle that Williams walked away the victor from, through a majority decision.
A very much disputed decision I might add, with 114-114, 113-115 and then, randomly…110-119, which is ridiculous!
Tonight comes the rematch, and if it is anything like their first encounter, we should be in for a treat.
Since the Williams fight, Martinez faced Kelly Pavlik, 36-1 (32), with Pavlik’s WBC and WBO middleweight titles on the line.
Although the early rounds were tentative, the action picked up towards the middle frames with both fighters landing. Martinez was knocked down in round seven, but it was more that he was off balance, rather than being caught with a flush shot.
When action resumed, Martinez went straight to work. He was stepping in and out of range beautifully, and everytime he came inside, he would land on the champion.
He had Pavlik cut in the ninth, and in the last few rounds just boxed off the back foot, playing the role of ‘matador’. He couldn’t miss Pavlik, and it seemed almost toyed with him until the final bell rang and Martinez was announced the new champion with a unanimous decision.
Around a similar time, Williams was to fight Kermit Cintron 32-2-1 (28), which on paper looked to be a good match up between two skilled opponents with big punches. It wasn’t. Both fighters looked like they wanted to test the other's power, hesitant of what would be coming their way, and thus there was no action.
The corners must have had stern words with their fighters after the third as, from no-where, Williams started unloading and so forced Cintron to fire back.
We were treated to Williams being wobbled, but forcing Cintron on the back foot as hard shots landed from both fighters, and then there was a tussle, Williams turned Cintron around and, somehow, Cintron went flying…headfirst through the ropes and landed on some commentators nearby.
Cintron was deemed not fit enough to continue, end of fight. Viewers got about 15 seconds of fighting and then that was it, over.
Although when Martinez fought Cintron, just before he fought Williams for the first time, there was controversy as well.
Martinez caught Cintron on the top of the head with a good shot, Cintron goes down obviously dazed, doesn’t beat the count, and complains it was a headbutt. Even after the ref had waved the fight off, Cintron's complaining got the referee to get everyone out of the ring to resume the fight as he deemed it a headbutt.
Clearly it was just a good shot, and that was a shambles of a decision. When the fight was over the scores came in as a draw; Martinez was robbed.
In Martinez and Williams though we have a couple of fighters who love to do just that…fight. That’s why the first fight was so good, it was back and forth action.
Both fighters are southpaws, Williams is a rangy guy who likes to keep opponents at the end of his jab and throws long straight left, while Martinez is very good at stepping in and out, although in the first encounter Williams showed he could quite happily fight inside and Martinez met that challenge by staying on the inside as well.
Both were knocked down in the first, although Martinez, again, was caught off balance, which still counts, but he wasn’t hurt. He got straight up and landed a right hook straight to the jaw of Williams, which did hurt him, sending Williams reeling into the ropes and down.
Though that was the only knockdown, they continued to trade punches the entire fight. It was great to see, but as mentioned the scores were close, apart from the one set, and to be fair it could of gone either way.
With Williams, the gaps are not hard to find. It’s the volume of punches he throws and the pressure he puts on that enables the more resilient or sharper fighters to catch him on the counter.
Martinez doesn’t get hit quite as much, as he's quite a crafty southpaw but as he tries to come in at awkward angles, he can be caught off balance, and ends up a bit square on.
Sometimes, rematches let us down, for instance Martinez might want to change his game plan, as he lost last time around, and decide not to trade and slug it out, choosing instead to box and move the entire fight.
Williams will bring the fight though, he nearly always does, even if that means sometimes he might run out of steam towards the end of the fight. Besides, Martinez should want redemption.
Could be a bit of a slow starter, but sooner or later a war should break out between these two. It probably goes the distance and don’t be surprised if you see a knockdown or two, but this time Martinez takes the decision.
Which, on a side note, would be ideal to set up a third fight.