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Williams edges Martinez; Arreola stops Minto!

Paul Williams W12 Sergio Martinez...In what can be perceived as a last minute candidate for Fight of the Year honors, Paul Williams won  a hard-fought majority decision over WBC super welterweight champion Sergio Martinez on Saturday night at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ.  Both fighters scored knockdowns of each other in the opening stanza.  Williams' knockdown of Martinez was a grazing left hand to the back of the head that knocked Martinez off balance.  Martinez, on the other hand, hurt Williams with the right hook that produced his knockdown at the end of the round.

Martinez controlled the first three rounds and opened a cut over Williams' left eye, largely based on his right jab, right hook, and straight left hands.  Williams hurt Martinez at the end of the fourth round, at which point Williams momentarily seized control. In the fifth round, both fighters stood toe to toe and exchanged blows, landing clean hard shots on each other. A right left combo really caught Williams pretty cleanly, but Williams came back with a crisp combination of his own. Winning rounds five through seven, Williams began to target Martinez, who seemed to be tiring, with his long right jab.  In the eighth round Martinez appeared to be getting his second wind, as he found success with straight left hands to the body that created openings upstairs.  Martinez continued to box well behind his right jab and straight left hand. 

Williams stepped up the pressure in the closing rounds, but from my view it was Martinez who landed the bigger and cleaner shots throughout the contest.  After twelve completed rounds, the three official ringside judges scored the contest 114-114, 115-113, and an incredibly ridiculous 119-110 in favor of Williams.  HBO's unofficial ringside judge Harold Lederman scored the fight 115-113 for Williams, whereas had the fight scored the same way  for Martinez. 

While this commentator thought Martinez won the fight on the basis of clean punching. I am not going to argue the decision. There were some very close rounds that were difficult to judge. Heated exchanges. The first round with the two knockdowns could have gone a number of ways as well.  Round one could  very well have been scored even, but I never score even rounds unless a point is deducted from a fighter who won a given round [eg.: 9-9].

Martinez proved his worth as a world class player  in the junior middleweight and middleweight ranks, showing the viewers that he belongs on stage with an elite level top 10 pound for pound entrant. Great fight with tremendous exchanges between both of these warriors.  Williams still beats Kelly Pavlik in my estimation. Last night he was in the ring with a guy in Martinez whose style was a nightmare for him, yet he still dug down deep and managed to pulled out the victory. Pavlik probably hits harder than Martinez, and would have the proverbial puncher's chance, but his hands are not nearly as fast and his defense is nowhere near the level of Martinez.

Chris Arreola TKO4 Brian Minto...Chris Arreola successfully returned to the ring, following his TKO loss to WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko 71 days ago, to stop Brian Minto.  For the first three rounds, both guys were nailing each other with some serious leather.  By the end of the 2nd round, an ugly mouse was forming under Minto's left eye.  In the fourth round, Arreola sent Minto to his knees with a right hand.  Minto rose from the knockdown, only to engage in another fierce exchange with Arreola, but the iron-chinned heavyweight underdog was bombarded with a series of rights and lefts, which called the referee to stop the fight.  Incredible heart displayed on the part of Brian Minto.

television: HBO World Championship Boxing