By Michael Marley
New year, new decade and, with Paul “The Punisher” Williams' professional boxing career lying in a ditch after his one punch, two round KO loss to Sergio Martinez, it's time for change in the Pwill camp.
While Al Haymon pulls the strings on the 29 year old, 39-2-1 (27 knockouts) fighter's career in the background, the constant presence in the foreground, almost surgically attached to the southpaw stringbean in public appearances is that of former Washington, DC, policeman George Peterson.
Peterson is an amiable guy and he knows plenty about boxing. But, in the best interests of the preservation of and the acceleration of his charge's career, I say it is time not for the ex-cop to step aside or disappear but to make room for a new and different voice.
What Peterson—and yes I continue in this new decade of being a fountain of widsom and solid advice for others, if not for myself—should do and what Haymon could influence him on is to make a quick, fast and in a hurry phone to respected trainer Naazim Richardson.
The Philadelphia wise man's plate does not seem overly loaded once you get past his chores as the trainer-chief second for oldsters Sugar Shane Mosley and Bernard Hopkins.
(In case you did not know, Richardson is my selection as the 2010 Trainer of the Year while Martinez is my FOTY. Both logical choices as Manny Pacquiao and Coach Freddie Roach did the expected in 2010 while Richardson (prepping Mosley for Floyd Mayweather, for instance) and Martinez (landing the shot heard round the world went above and beyond the call of duty in their respective roles.)
But I digress.
Like many fighters, Williams is probably not lending a full ear to the too familiar voice of Peterson in the same way that a laconic teenager can't fully hear Mom and Dad.
The answer is to bring Richardson in and let him co-train Pwill. Peterson does not seem like an ego tripper who would block such a move. Just the opposite, I think Peterson would say this is the kind of change that both he and his boxer can believe in.
Richardson just seems to be a natural fit for the Williams camp at this critical juncture.
But I'm not done renovationg, rehabbing Chez Williams.
My second suggestion is that the Williams camp stop with this mincing around about getting a third fight against Maravilla.
Williams does not need a “confidence builder.” What he needs and what our sport needs now is for Williams and cohorts to pound the table for Martinez to next fight his archrival rather than wasting time and making less money against the lower-ranked likes of Irish Andy Lee.
I'll tell you what the Martinez-Williams series can be if it becomes a trilogy.
It can be this generation's answer to the three bout series between Floyd Patterson and another foreign fighter who shocked the world with “toonder and lightning,” Swedish hero Ingemar Johansson.
On June 26, 1959, Floyd and Ingo crossed gloves with a devastating result. The soft-chinned Patterson, who was decked every time an opponent gave him a dirty look, was on the canvas seven times while losing on a third round KO.
Because of heavy US taxation, heavyweight champs normally fought once a year or maybe twice in that era.
One year later—on June 12, 1960—Patterson extracted his revenge, knocking the Swede down five times and leaving him unconscious for five minutes.
Less than a full year later, on March 13, 1961, Patterson went down twice and Ingo only once but the American registered a sixth-round KO victory.
No less a boxing authority than the legendary Johnny Bos, who said he is no longer mistaken for Hulk Hogan “because I got too fat,” thinks Martinez and Williams should fight each other next.
“That's the fight I would like to see,” Bos said from his Clearwater, Fl., home Sunday.
“Williams was man enough to give Martinez a second fight and now Martinez should be man enough to grant Paul the third fight.”
Bos is not among those saying Martinez landed “a lucky punch” for the brutal KO in Atlantic City in November.
“You can call it a lucky punch, yeah,” Bos said. “Or you can call it a devastating shot. But who can say that, if the fight had gone a little longer, that it wouldn't have been Williams winning it by KO? He had Sergio down and nearly out in the first round of their first bout.”
After their first bout, Williams tangled with Kermit Cintron and it ended with a messy TD in the fourth round. For his part, Martinez went to the post and surprised Kelly Pavlik with a unanimous decision victory.
Bos sees no need for either to have an interim bout now.
“Martinez's confidence must be sky high and rightly so,” Bos said. “As for Williams, the best confidence builder for him would be to go in there and whip the guy who whipped him, like Paul did when he lost a decision to Carlos Quintana and then bounced back to thrash him.”
I'm no alarmist but Williams' status as the world's third best, P4P fighter was naturally annexed by Martinez.
There's only one way for Williams to get that prestigious position back and that is to mix it up with the Argentinean again.
No one who makes any economic sense is stepping up to fight Martinez. Some are shaking in their boxing booties, others have respectable resumes but are ciphers in the United States.
Williams needs a new voice in his ear and he needs to demand what is rightfully his, a third brawl against Maravilla.