Paul Williams vs. Sergio Gabriel Martinez (1st meeting)
Paul Williams 157 lbs beat Sergio Martinez 159 lbs by MD in round 12 of 12
- Date: 2009-12-05
- Location: Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA
- Referee: Randy Neumann
- Judge: Julie Lederman 114-114
- Judge: Lynne Carter 115-113
- Judge: Pierre Benoist 119-110
- Entering the fight, Martinez had not suffered a defeat in more than nine years.
- At the official weigh-in, Williams was 157 pounds and Martinez was 159. They were both 166 on the night of the fight.
- HBO judge Harold Lederman scored the fight 115-113 for Williams.
Most folks who have seen Williams and Martinez figured this would be a pretty darn good fight, but who really expected such a sensational brawl and a clear fight of the year candidate? But it was just that, a fantastic fight between the world's two best junior middleweights, who happened to fight a few pounds above the 154-pound division limit in a nontitle match. What makes the fight more remarkable is that it came out of left field. Only a month ago, Williams was training to challenge right-handed middleweight champ Kelly Pavlik -- until Pavlik pulled out for the second time because of a hand problem. Junior middleweight titlist Martinez, who, like Williams, is a southpaw who has been avoided by many top fighters, jumped at the chance when HBO needed somebody to fill in. What we got was an epic slugfest featuring a high skill level in a fight that could have gone either way by a point or two. Let's not allow judge Pierre Benoist's absurd 119-110 scorecard for Williams to ruin a marvelous fight. That said, Benoist should have his license revoked and be barred from the premises of all future prize fights. A five-year-old dragged out of the crowd would have turned in a more appropriate card. Even Williams admitted he didn't win every round but the second, which is how Benoist scored it. What a joke. What wasn't a joke, however, was the incredible action. From the opening bell, it never ceased. Martinez, 34, and Williams, 28, exchanged knockdowns in the first round (although Williams, who fell just before the end of the round, went down much harder than Martinez). The wild round set the tone for the remainder of the fight, which was filled with hard-hitting exchanges. The drama increased in the fourth round when an accidental head-butt busted open a cut over Williams left eye, which bled for the rest of the exceptional fight. Both sides were open to a rematch, but it won't be until at least a fight or two down the road. Williams, of Augusta, Ga., will be out for several months because of the cuts he suffered. Martinez's promoter, Lou DiBella, said HBO has assured him that Martinez, a native of Argentina living in Spain, will be invited back by the spring, and he's willing to fight anyone. What a fabulous way to close out HBO's season of "World Championship Boxing." This was boxing at its best.