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Knockout of the Year: Sergio Martinez KO 2 Paul Williams
The crowd of 5,502 fans at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City was just settling in for an HBO televised rematch of a December 2009, non-title, middleweight (160 pounds) clash of southpaws during which both fighters were floored in the first round of an eventual, disputed majority decision victory by Paul Williams over Sergio Martinez
Their return bout on Nov. 20 was considered to be an evenly matched affair.
But the shocking and sensational ending came swiftly and suddenly, when Sergio Martinez retained his WBC middleweight crown with a single, crushing, head-swiveling left hook. The blow knocked Williams cold at 1:10 of the second round, this in the first defense of Martinez's title.
Referee Earl Morton, seeing Williams face-first on the canvas, knelt down and reached the count of seven before waving the fight off, signaling the end to a performance that has earned FanHouse's Knockout of the Year for 2010.
"I knew in my heart that Martinez was going to win, but that was one of the greatest knockout punches of another great fighter that I've ever seen. That goes back to like Thomas Hearns, Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler and Roberto Duran. It was a knockout like some of those knockouts," said Martinez's promoter, Lou DiBella, of an finish that conjured memories of Hearns' sensational second-round stoppage of Duran.
"Williams is a brilliant fighter, and you saw that in the first round. That was a great round, and a hard round to score," said DiBella. "But Martinez's speed and angles and that punch? That punch would have knocked anyone on earth out."
The first round was evenly contested, with maybe a slight edge for Martinez. Williams landed a right hand just after the opening bell, moved in behind his right jab and landed a second right hook. Martinez circled and took a left to the body, but answered with one of his own followed by two right hands to the body and one to Williams' head.
Martinez then successfully fired four consecutive lefts to the head of Williams along the ropes, all of which were potent. The fighters traded right hands at the round-ending bell.
A confident Williams was standing completely erect as he moved forward to start the second round, seemingly leaving himself open for punishment. Martinez clinched and clubbed to the body as Williams landed a hard left and then two right hands.
But when Williams feinted a jab and began to throw a left hand, Martinez did the same. Martinez's, however, traveled the shorter distance, getting there first, and, knocking Williams stiff as he fell slightly to his left, face-forward, and smacked the canvas.
"I got caught with a punch," said Williams, who may have lost to the 2010 Fighter of the Year. "I knew that it was going to be a tough fight."
Nicknamed, "The Punisher," the 29-year-old Williams brought in a six-bout winning streak along with a record of 39-1 that included 27 knockouts. In his lone defeat, the nearly 6-foot-3 Williams had been dethroned as WBO welterweight (147 pounds) king by southpaw Carlos Quintana in February of 2008 only to regain that crown by vicious, first-round stoppage four months later in June.
Nicknamed, "Maravilla," or, "Marvelous," the 35-year-old Martinez rose to 46-2-2 with 26 knockouts. Martinez was coming off of April's unanimous decision win in which he dethroned then-WBC and WBO middleweight king Kelly Pavlik (36-2, 32 KOs).
"We prepared for this. We worked really hard. In the second round, I started to attack. And when I did, we knew that he was going to make a mistake. He always makes mistakes," said Martinez. "He left me a lot of room to come in and hit him. I was waiting for a mistake, and I was surprised that it happened so soon. I didn't want the judges to rob me this time."
Martinez erased the memory of their first non-title middleweight meeting, after which his inflicted damage had Williams leaving the ring with severe cuts around his eyes that required hospitalization, stitches and forced him to miss the post-fight news conference.
"I want to listen to all of the offers and see what comes my way. I plan to have two or three more fights before I retire," said Martinez after the fight. "And I would like one of those fights to be against Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather."
But DiBella doubts that Pacquiao or Mayweather wants any part of Martinez.
"If you're Manny Pacquiao, do you go near him [Martinez]? Do you think that Floyd Mayweather will go near him?" asked DiBella. "I think that Sergio is going to have problems making fights because that's how f**cking good he is. I want to go wherever we can to make a fight. I know what I've got. I've got the best fighter in the world."
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I love the brutality of that punch and watching Williams fall after talking all that garbage and overselling himself was just poetic justice.
I have that fight Tivo'd and when I get bored I replay that punch again and again.
Earl Morton didn't stop counting at 7 though, he counted to 10 then said "Thats it".
People who say it was a lucky punch fail to explain why Martinez landed that exact punch 3 or 4 times before the KO.
Last Of The Mo-Ricans!
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