Fight Preview: Paul Williams v. Sergio Martinez

Paul Williams and Sergio Martinez have had quite an actionless few months. But they've managed to stay in the press.

  • Paul Williams was supposed to be fighting Kelly Pavlik for the middleweight championship.
  • Sergio Martinez called out Joshua Clottey. Then insulted him in the press.
  • Sergio Martinez got into a verbal war with Vanes Martirosyan that amounted to zilch.
  • Sergio Martinez ripped Sergio Mora in the press.
  • Sergio Martinez pretty much ripped everyone.

Now, with Williams and Martinez both claiming that nobody will fight them, they're stuck with each other at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, tonight on HBO at 9:30pm ET.

You can't say these guys won't back themselves up.

So what happens in this one? You've got two lefties, both with long reaches. Martinez (44-1-2, 22 KO) is, as Harold Lederman said in February, "a cutie if I ever sawr one." Martinez loves to stay at distance, almost taunting opponents with his hands at his sides, looking for just the right time to move in, then back out.

He's a fantastic disruptor of rhythm. But can Williams (37-1, 27 KO) have his rhythm disrupted? Winky Wright tried to do that this summer, but Williams found a way to keep throwing no matter what, even if he had to throw a punch under his own held arm.

This is a fight that begs for one of them to be a victim of a "bad matchup." Early thought might tell you to beware Martinez as a spoiler tonight, and that came into my mind too. Lefty, long reach, very smart in the ring.

But the bad matchup is going to be Sergio's. Paul Williams is too active, too long, too tall and too good for Martinez, who wasn't exactly looking like a world-beater against Kermit Cintron, though he definitely should have won that fight instead of being handed that ludicrous draw.

HBO seems to really like Martinez, and with good reason. He's a very, very good fighter. But I think Williams is simply a class above him. There are a lot of terrific fighters that Martinez could give fits. I just don't think Williams is one of them. The matchup is all wrong for Sergio. Williams by decision.

On the undercard, Cristobal Arreola comes in at his heaviest weight ever, tipping the scales at 263 pounds, to face veteran Brian Minto. Minto's not as good as his 34-2 record, and I expect Arreola to bust him out of there pretty quickly, within the first four rounds. But Minto will come to fight, and it'll be a decent show.

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