Hed been telling all who would listen the last few months that hed render Long Tall Paul Williams horizontal in their rematch. Most of the time, one need not take such a promise seriously. Its often bluster, a salvo of psychological warfare. But damned if Sergio Martinez didnt deliver on Saturday night, in his Atlantic City rematch with Williams. An overhand left, delivered as Williams was tossing his own left hand, sent Williams to the floor, his marbles scattered on the mat.
The ref counted, but it was clear that Williams, who went splat on the canvas, face first, would need at least 30 seconds, or more, to stand up.
The KO, which will get the TSS vote for knockout of the year, takes Martinez, or should take Martinez, to the head of the line in the Manny Pacquiao sweepstakes.
The Argentine, who many thought deserved the nod in the first tussle a year ago, goes to 46-2, with 25 KOs. He exulted, as the ringside docs took a hard look at Williams, who happily stood up, with clear eyes after a short spell.
The end came at 1:10 of the second. Martinez retains the WBC middleweight title, though the record will show that the fight was fought at a catchweight of 158 pounds. Williams drops to 39-2, and this is the first time he has been stopped.
Max Kellerman asked what comes next. He said Martinez is No. 3 pound for pound. The fighter said he wants to hear offers, and will see what comes his way. He stated that he wants to rest, and then hugged Williams. How about Mayweather or Pacquiao, at a catchweight? We have to hear offers. 156 would be fine, but I have to hear offers, he said.
Williams said, I just got caught with a punch. He said this one really worked, because he didnt see it coming.
Come back for George Kimballs ringside report.