California based Sergio “King” Martinez, 46-2-2 (25), proved Saturday night in Atlantic City he has earned the right to be considered right behind Manny Pacquiao as the second best pound for pound fighter in the world! Martinez crushed the much taller Paul “Punisher” Williams, 39-2 (28), of Augusta, GA, with and overhand left to the jaw at 1:10 of the second round.
It was like slow motion watching Wiliams “deflate” to the canvas. Martinez successfully defended his WBC Middleweight crown over the last man to defeat him in one of the best fights seen a year ago in the same Atlantic City by the narrowest of points. This writer had Williams ahead by 1 point.
The crowd at Boardwalk Hall must have been stunned just before the fight when ring announcer Michael Buffer either flubbed it or the promotion of Goosen-Tutor advised him to introduce the champion first. Anyway you look at it the disrespect for Martinez started after the pro-Williams crowd let out with the booing as he entered the arena.
Martinez has been a breath of fresh air since coming to Atlantic City losing to Williams by the narrowest of margins only to come back and completely bewilder then WBC champion Kelly Pavlik which was a major blunder on Top Rank’s part allowing Martinez in the same building let alone ring with Pavlik. Not only is Martinez a better boxer than Bernard Hopkins but he is a harder puncher which was proved in the Pavlik fight.
Referee Earl Morton lost control early with Williams and Martinez either breaking them too early or too late. The first round was a holding and punching battle. The much taller Williams would hold Martinez behind the head in order to be able to make contact with the magnificent defense boxer Martinez is. Martinez took the first round by out maneuvering and out landing Williams. In the second round Williams was bending down more to be able in his mind to hit the there he is and now he isn’t Martinez.
Both boxers are southpaws and Williams has a tendency of leaving his lead hand down. Thomas Hearns he isn’t. Out of nowhere like a shot in the night Martinez came over the top with a devastating left that silenced the crowd for about two seconds until Williams hit the canvas. It looked like referee Morton was starting to count while the medical team was already getting a stretcher ready for Williams.
At ringside Roy Foreman (brother of George) said “why was Williams coming down to Martinez in height instead of utilizing his reach?” That said it all. If he saw it from a distance than Martinez saw it up close. With the crowd either stunned or buzzing the Martinez handlers lifted their hero up on their shoulders with a “crown” on his head that was very befitting.
The king of the middleweight division should seek out unification unlike what promoters couldn’t produce for Pavlik though he asked for years for unification bouts not Hopkins and Martinez.
An upper level was filled with flag waving Spaniards supporting their Argentine born hero who turned pro in 1997 and moved to Spain in 2002 going unbeaten there in a dozen matches. He would win the IBO light middleweight title in the United Kingdom in 2004 and defend it twice once in the UK and in Northern Ireland.
The only previous loss Martinez suffered before the first Williams bout was when he was stopped by Antonio Margarito in 2000 in making his US debut. He would return to the US in 2007 defeating one of the undercard boxers on Saturday’s card in Saul Roman in a WBC light middleweight title eliminator. It took 18 months for Martinez to get an interim WBC light middleweight title shot in October of 2008. In his only defense he fought to a draw with Kermit Cintron.
The Williams people made a statement their fighter would return to the light middleweight division. They insisted on a 157 weight limit though they were the challenger. Williams had one fight in between the first meeting with Martinez winning by technical decision over Cintron. Martinez of course defeated Pavlik in his one fight since the first meeting with Williams.
Promoter Lou DiBella who co-promoted the HBO shown show has the world before him with Martinez while Goosen-Tutor’s came collapsing down with the defeat of Williams. There doesn’t seem to be a call for a “rubber match” for Williams.
The undercard left a lot to be desired. This writer has no idea if HBO showed another match but they had little to choose from. Zsolt “Firebird” Erdei’s, 32-0 (17), of Hungary, whose previous appearances in the US in 2001 and 2002 over two opponents with losing records wasn’t improved on much with an 8 round decision over Samson Onyango, 20-7 (13), of Kenya, from a country where more are known for their distance runners than boxers. Onyango looked like a smaller Manute Bole as his jab kept Erdei at bay through most of the latter part of the fight. Erdei pitched a shut out but was very frustrated in trying for the knockout.
Erdei is a good technician but at 36 will find it difficult finding another place in a championship environment for this two division world champion. He has come down from the cruiser division back to the light heavyweight division but doesn’t seem to have the power to do well there.
Onyango had previously lost 3 of his past 5 fights being stopped in 2 of them. The opponents only had 8 and 14 fights. It was obvious he was brought in to make Erdei look good which never happened though his many Hungarian fans did a great job in cheering him on.
The lone 10 round bout on the card featured 39 year old heavyweight Tony “The Tiger” Thompson, 35-2 (23), of DC, against fellow southpaw, 43 year old Paul Marinaccio, 24-6-3 (11), of Buffalo. Let’s say they fought like their age. Marinaccio a facial look-alike for Sly Stallone didn’t have a chance from the time he signed the contract. Marinaccio had lost his two previous bouts, most recently to an 8-6 opponent. Referee David Fields “finally” realized enough was enough at 2:02 of the 4th round.
Southpaw Fernando Guerrero, 20-0 (16), a Dominican out of Salisbury, MD, the NABF, middleweight champion, in a non-title bout easily stopped Saul Duran, 36-18-3 (29), of Mexico, at 1:06 of the 4th round. Duran suffered two knockdowns and stayed on one knee after the second one until the count reached 10. Duran had previously lost 4 out of 5 being stopped 3 times. It will be interesting to see Guerrero who showed good skills though only in his third fight of the year more active.
In a decision that did not meet with the approval of the fan’s, Philly southpaw Steve Upsher Chambers, 23-1-1 (6), came back after losing most of the earlier rounds to take a split decision over the more aggressive Bayan Jargal, 15-1-3, a Mongolian now out of Arlington, VA, in a welterweight 8.
The 3rd and especially the 7th rounds were well received by the fans when Upsher decided to stay off the ropes in his version of the “rope-a-dope” giving away earlier rounds to Jargal. There was too much slapping and too little punching by both fighters. Joe Pasquale saw it 77-75 for Jargal while John McKaie had it 77-75 for Upsher with Ron McNair giving the decision to Upsher by a surprising 78-74.
In a rematch Puerto Rican Luis Del Valle, 11-0 (9), of Newburgh, NY, stopped Noe Lopez, Jr., 6-7, (4), of Mexico in 3 rounds instead of 2 in their previous meeting. Del Valle scored 2 knockdowns before the stoppage by referee Ricardo Vera. This was a featherweight 8 rounder.
In the opening bout Willie Nelson, 16-0-1, (10), had little opposition in stopping Quinton Whtaker, 7-9 (5), of San Antonio, in 2:22 of the 1st round with Fields stopping the bout.
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