Paul Williams Defeats Sergio
But The Boxing Fans Are The Real Winners
By Tim Donaldson
Photos: "Sugar" Ray Bailey
There may have been a
lot of disappointment when Kelly Pavlik announced that
he could not fight Paul Williams. I imagine Paul
Williams was disappointed, as well as his promoter
Goossen Tutor and not least of all HBO. The fight went
from the main arena in Boardwalk Hall to the
significantly smaller ballroom, and it was no longer a
title fight. However, after witnessing the fight between
Williams and Martinez, none of us really have any reason
to be disappointed. Williams and Martinez gave us
something that we boxing fans will be talking about for
a long time to come.
Before the first bell and the fighters came out
swinging, you could feel the excitement running through
the crowd. Although most of the crowd was there to
support Williams, Martinez had his supporters too. Both
sides were extremely vocal. My ears are still ringing as
I write this. In the small ballroom, the sounds of their
chants had nowhere to go but up to the ceiling and back
down again. Maybe that gave Williams and Martinez their
energy, or maybe they gave their energy to the crowd.
Either way it was contagious.
The fight was all action from the first round. Martinez
went down first. It looked like it was going to be
Williamsí round. No matter who you thought was winning
up until that point, at that point, it would have been a
10-8 round. However, Martinez was not about to concede
that round to Williams, and he dropped Williams. No more
10-8 round. At this point, the already loud crowd became
deafening. Both fighters came out in the second, seeming
anxious to prove their dominance over the other.
Williams took a lot of punishment this round from
Martinez, who at times was throwing some wild looking
The third round looked to be Martinezís round too.
Williams forgot that he had a height and reach advantage
over Martinez. At first, I thought Martinez was tired or
lazy for fighting with his arms down. And maybe he was.
Or maybe he was trying to bait Williams. Because every
time Williams would move in, Martinez would turn up the
pressure and land several good shots, most to the body.
But Martinez did not keep up that pressure in the fourth
round. Williams began to take control of the fight. It
was simple really. Williams just needed to step back
from Martinez and use his height and reach. Even though
Williams was taking some shots to the head, he was able
to land a hard shot that rocked Martinez back. Martinez
seemed to be holding on just to stay up.
Williams came out in the
beginning of the fifth trying to finish what he started
in the fourth. He was looking for the knockout. He
chased Martinez into the corner and was knocking him
around. Martinez didnít put up much of a fight at first.
In fact, it looked like Williams might be able to finish
him off. But Martinez, when it looked like it could be
over, battled back. It was obvious that the fight was
far from over.
In round six, Williams again took control of the round.
He was outworking Martinez. Martinez was fighting back,
but he seemed to lack power and his punches just werenít
connecting like Williamsí. The seventh was much the
same. Martinez kept turning, but Williams still was able
to land his punches.
I would have said that the boxing fans had got their
moneyís worth even if it had ended here or even if
Martinez faded away and Williams dominated the next five
rounds. But that was not to be. From the beginning, it
was obvious that Martinez was working the body whenever
Williams came in close. By the eighth round, that was
beginning to pay off. Martinez taking shots at the body
of Williams every chance he got. Then, Martinez landed a
right to the head of Williams. Williams might not have
gone down, but he looked shaky.
In the beginning of the ninth, Martinez came charging
out. Maybe he saw his opportunity to end the fight.
Maybe the chants of his fans were spurring him on. But
Williams was not informed that the fight was over, and
he quickly changed the dynamic of the fight. Martinez
spent most of the round moving backward, away from
Williams. Then in the tenth, Martinez took control of
the round, landing a hard shot to the head of Williams.
You could see the blood fly from several rows back.
Williams was taking a beating, and he was showing it.
Martinez actually looked energized coming out in the
eleventh round. It too was to be his round. Then came
the twelfth and final round. The crowd was on its feet.
Both fighters came charging out. It was looking like the
ring could no longer contain their fight, as they
clashed against the ropes and almost went tumbling over
them. This happened more than once.
When the final bell
sounded, the noise of the crowd again reached an almost
deafening level. It quieted down for the scores. No one
was too surprised with Julie Ledermanís score of
114-114. Lynne Carterís score of 115-113 for Williams
seemed reasonable too. But the crowd once again erupted
when they heard Pierre Benoistís score of 119-110 for
Williams. They let Max Kellerman of HBO know their
disapproval of it too.
No matter whom you thought won it was still a great
fight. There was no lull in the action. Paul Williams
threw 978 punches, landing 299. 631 of the punches
thrown were power punches, and he landed 206 of those.
Martinez threw 638 punches, landing 254. 446 of these
were power punches, and he landed 183. So the stats
support Williams as the winner, but fights are always
more than just stats.
The question still lingers: what would have happened if
Pavlik had fought Williams? Would it have been as
exciting? I have a feeling we will never know the answer
to that question, and I, for one, wonít lose any sleep