A battle of the south takes place when South America’s Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez defends the WBC middleweight world title against Georgia’s Paul “The Punisher” Williams.
Martinez (45-2-2, 24 KOs) looks to avenge a razor close majority decision loss of a year ago to Williams (39-1, 27 KOs) on Saturday Nov. 20, at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey. HBO will televise the rematch that’s promoted by DiBella Entertainment and Goossen-Tutor Promotions.
Outside of the prize ring both Williams and Martinez exude politeness and congeniality. Inside the ring they’re wound up tight like Formula One racers and prone to combust in the first round as they’ve done in the past.
Williams blasted Kermit “The Killer” Cintron literally out of the ring when they fought last May in the Home Depot Center in Carson. It was a brutal ending for the long tall Georgia prizefighter who never forgets his southern etiquette.
Both Martinez and Williams have been unable to find challengers so they’ve subsequently made a gentleman’s agreement to fight each other.
“The bottom line is there hasn’t been anyone that Paul (Williams) hasn’t been willing to get in the ring with,” said Dan Goossen, president of Goossen-Tutor Promotions.
Martinez, who moved to Oxnard three years ago after living several years in Madrid, Spain, has the same problem as Williams in convincing elite boxers to fight him. Perhaps one major reason is that both are southpaws with power.
The middleweight champion nods when asked if fighting another left-hander poses problems.
“For anybody, fighting a southpaw is a lot tougher,” says Martinez, 35, who seldom fights other southpaws. “It can be very complicated.”
In their previous encounter that took place on Dec. 2009 the pair of lefties knocked each other down a total of three times in the very first round. First, Williams dropped Martinez with a left cross. Then Martinez floored an over eager Williams twice seconds later with lefts and rights. The explosive first round had the crowd electrified.
“I think I’m going to be superior than in the first fight,” Martinez said confidently. “I’m a better fighter and I’m more solid physically with my weight.”
Though Martinez is nearly four inches shorter than Williams, the Argentine believes he’s figured out how to beat the long-armed Georgia fighter but is politely silent about his plan of action.
“It’s not going to be easy because Paul Williams is a great fighter,” Martinez said. “But I know what he can do and I will adjust.”
The equally polite Williams fervently believes experience from their first encounter enabled him to devise a method of execution to break down Martinez’s defense.
“Basically I wasn’t prepared for him, but now I’m prepared for him even more. I have three months notice,” warns Williams, 29, who fought Martinez without any preparation to fight a left-hander and won by majority decision. “In the first fight you could see my not doing what I normally do. I was just walking into stuff. But this time I got something better in store for him.”
Other prizefighters near the middleweight weight class will be watching closely.
Williams and Martinez have scared off the competition so they must fight each other similar to Sugar Ray Robinson and Jake “The Bronx Bull” LaMotta in the 1940s. That pair fought each other six times because few others found it lucrative or necessary to fight such a dangerous pair.
Does it sound familiar?
Several weeks ago Manny Pacquiao was asked if he would fight Williams.
“No,” Pacquiao quickly answered that drew laughs from the media who were surprised at the ultra quick response.
Martinez deigns to face Floyd Mayweather should he beat Williams.
“I came to this country to prove I’m one of the best fighters in the world,” said Martinez. “You need to beat the best to prove to be the best fighter in the world pound for pound.”
On Saturday both Martinez and Williams will politely enter the ring to violently decide who moves closer to reaching their goals of reaching boxing’s elite status.
Diplomacy be damned.
Fights on television
Fri. Telefutura, 11:30 p.m., Carlos Baldomir (45-13-6) vs. Amilcar Melian (22-9).
Sat. HBO, 7 p.m., Sergio Martinez (45-2-2) vs. Paul Williams (39-1). Replay of Manny Pacquiao vs. Antonio Margarito.
Sat. Fox, 8 p.m., Raul Martinez (27-1) vs. Rodrigo Guerrero (14-2-1).