Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Monday Martinez mailbag

WHAT'S NEXT?

Wow,
First: I pray for Paul Williams. That was just a nasty knock out that can change a career reminiscent of Tarver-Jones 2, Hatton-Pacquiao, and Pavlik-Taylor. None of those guys were the same again. I really hope that’s not that case — I really like Paul Williams.

That being said: Sergio Martinez has been too legit for too long to not be a superstar. He KO’d Kermit Cintron (we all saw it). I thought he beat Williams in the first fight (but won’t argue with anyone who says draw or split loss), and he iced P-will here.

So what’s next? You know what I’d LOVE to see: Martinez vs. Andre Ward. It won’t happen and I know it, but a man can hope. Ward has to beat Bika, Abraham/Froch, and then crossover to superstardom by fighting Bute. But Martinez-Ward….lefty vs. lefty, both lightning, would be a tremendous fight.

Keep up the good work compadre, appreciate all you do! — Tony Knopp, Los Angeles

As soon as I got over the shock of Martinez’s chilling one-punch knockout of Williams, I started thinking about viable opponents for the middleweight champ. There aren’t many. I’m not even going to engage in the mental masturbation of proposing either Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather Jr. as potential fights for Martinez. That’s a complete waste of everybody’s time.

Longtime titleholder Felix Sturm and new beltholder Dmitry Pirog were two middleweights I wanted to see challenge Martinez before the champ’s rematch with Williams. However, after the spectacular manner in which Martinez dispatched Williams, I’m not sure Sturm would take that fight if the champ agreed to fight him in Germany and was willing to take short money. Pirog seems like the ballsy type who would relish the challenge but the Russian is still a relative new comer and wouldn’t make for the kind of big fight (and big money) that Martinez is looking for in the twilight of his career.

So, my mind wandered to the super middleweight division, where a showdown with Ward (and a potential revenge win for promoter Dan Goossen) exists. However, you’re correct that Ward’s dance card appears full for 2011, which is OK, because the undefeated titleholder is only looking at quality opponents.

Too bad Martinez’s division isn’t as deep as the 168-pound weight class. Who knows? Maybe Kelly Pavlik will get his professional and personal life together, stay healthy and not get too heavy over the holidays, and maybe we can get Martinez-Pavlik II sometime next spring.

Maybe Williams can rebound with an interim fight and the sport can welcome a rubber match in late 2011. I know that’s a long shot. The manner in which Williams was neurologically shorted out also reminded me of Roy Jones Jr.’s shocking second-round KO to Antonio Tarver. The finality of the knockout was reminiscent of Hatton's decapitation against Pacquiao and Taylor’s implosion against Pavlik in their first bout, but fans could see the violent end coming in both of those fights. Martinez’s KO of Williams — which is hands down the knockout of the year in my opinion — came out of nowhere. It was almost as shocking as Tarver’s KO of Jones.

I hope Williams can do what Jones could not, which is regain his form and confidence, because I really like P-Will, too.

TIMBEEEEEEEER!

Doug, that left hit Williams so hard Kermit Cintron took a dive off his couch. — Chris, Madison, NJ

You’re mean, Chris, but you made me laugh.

MARTINEZ COMPARABLE TO MONZON?

What’s up Doug. All I can say is DDDDDAAAAANNNNNGGGGG!!! Paul Williams sure didn't see that punch coming… and neither did anybody else.

I won't go so far as to place Martinez in Carlos Monzon's stature, but he's doing all the right things to get there one day. I would love to see him unify the belts at middleweight and then move up to super middleweight and take on Lucien Bute and/or Andre Ward. If he did that and won, plus a lil celebrity face time on TMZ or Dancing with the Stars and I think he could make a case to surpass Monzon's legacy.

One thing I have to comment on, though, is the third man in the ring. In a time when we often malign refs for not allowing fighters a full 10 count to get back to their feet and compose themselves, P-Will was clearly and undeniably out cold… yet the ref did NOT waive the fight off and still counted to ten… allowing crucial seconds to elapse before medical attention was given to him.

(P.S. I wouldn't mind seeing him deck Cintron with that shot also… just to eliminate any lingering thoughts that he didn't knock him out in the first fight.) Keep up the good work bud. — Danny, Los Angeles

Thanks Danny. Man, fans are almost as tough on poor Cintron as they are referees in high-profile bouts. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t should the be the mantra of any ref who works an HBO- or Showtime-televised main event fight.

The manner in which Williams fell from Martinez’s overhand left probably merited the bout being waved off before the towering fighter crashed face first to the canvas. However, you gotta remember that things happen INCREDIBLY fast in the ring and that fight-ending punch struck like lightening. You said yourself that nobody saw it coming, and that includes the referee. Earl Morton was walking behind Williams when the KO punch landed. I don’t think he saw the way William froze on impact or how the rangy warrior fell as if paralyzed. After he instructed Martinez to head to a neutral corner and made his way to the fallen fighter he may not have been able to see P-Will’s glazed-over eyes from where he was positioned. (I’m not sure a referee is allowed to touch and turn a face-down fighter over during a 10-count to see his eyes. If he has to do that I imagine the fight’s over.) Still, you’re right, the fight should have been waved off without a count. Usually, when a fighter falls face first, he’s out COLD. However, fighters have, on very rare occasions, gotten up from those kinds of knockdowns (sometimes the impact of hitting the canvas literally shocks them back to consciousness). And since Saturday’s rematch was not some four-round prelim bout, my guess is that Morton wanted to give Williams, a world-class veteran, a chance to recover. That wasn’t the right thing to do in this situation but I’m not going bury the ref with criticism. No more than 11.5 seconds transpired from the moment Williams hit the canvas to when Morton reached the end of his 10 count (seriously, time it with a stopwatch yourself), and other officials and the ringside physician were already in the ring and by the fighter’s side before the count had ended.

I had to chuckle a little bit after reading your statement about Martinez being in position to possibly surpass Monzon’s legacy. I guess today’s fans REALLY want to say they’ve witnessed all-time great fighters. LOL.

I suppose Martinez is, as you stated, “doing all the right things” to get to “Monzon’s stature” IF he plans to go unbeaten in his next 50 bouts AND he can find three future hall of famers who are willing to fight him and he beats those dudes. Quick reminder: Monzon, who was never knocked out, engaged in 100 pro bouts (Martinez just fought his 50th). He was unbeaten from October 9, 1964 to July 30, 1977 (the date of his last bout), winning 71 bouts with nine draws during that incredible span. He fit 14 title defenses into his middleweight title reign, which lasted seven years. Monzon (87-3-9, 59 KOs), beat hall of famers Nino Benvenuti, Emile Griffith and Jose Naploes, and avenged his three defeats; just as Martinez avenged (boy, did he ever) his loss to Williams.

I have no doubt that Martinez could avenge the other notable blemishes on his record — the TKO loss to Margarito and the controversial draw to Cintron — but that won’t come close equaling Monzon’s accomplishments. Neither will unifying the middleweight belts. Stepping up to 168 pounds and beating Ward or Bute or both would absolutely clinch his place in the Hall of Fame, as well as make him an international boxing star, but it won’t put him in Monzon’s league or surpass the late, great middleweight champ’s legacy in the sport.

POUND FOR POUND

Um… Sergio Martinez is talked about as a number-three pound for pound… how about one or two, considering Martinez and Pacquiao fight opponents who a certain someone continually ducks.

What a performance by Sergio Martinez! Regards. — Patrick

What a punch by Sergio Martinez. He didn’t really get the chance to perform, did he? All credit must go to the middleweight champ. He said he was going to knockout Williams and boxed aggressively from the opening bell. Martinez got what he was looking for, maybe even a little more — a true highlight reel KO — and I hope it translates into respect, fame and money for him.

Regarding his pound-for-pound placement, I had Martinez at No. 7 (behind Pacquiao, Mayweather, Marquez, the Klitschko brothers and Williams) in the last pound-for-pound list that I submitted to the Yahoo! Sports poll (on Oct. 19). No, I’m sorry, I’m not among the boxing media who had Williams ranked No. 3 P4P and Martinez right behind him. P-Will might bounce around three weight classes but his most significant victories was a close UD over Margarito and an even closer MD over Martinez. Martinez has done very well since the disappointing (and unfair) draw with Cintron, but the 24 rounds he went with Williams and Pavlik were not enough to displace JMM or the K-bros in my opinion. P-Will’s accomplishments didn’t merit it, either.

I think the result of Saturday’s rematch merits a significant leap forward in the mythical ratings for Martinez, but I still don‘t think he‘s done enough to knock off pound-for-pound stalwarts Pacquiao, Mayweather and Marquez. I’m probably going to have Martinez leap-frog the K-bros (to the No. 4 spot) because Williams and Pavlik are way more formidable than the heavyweights the Ukrainian giants have been smacking around lately.

If Michael Katsidis refuses to be denied against Marquez this Saturday (or the lightweight champ finally gets “old” in the ring), Martinez will be right behind Nos. 1 and 2 on my list.

If you or anyone else wants to rate Martinez No. 1 on principle, be my guest. I will not argue with you. Martinez is a superb talent, a complete boxer-warrior, a great story, a class act, and THE middleweight champ. If fans want to call him “the best” I say go for it. Plus, I don’t take the pound-for-pound ratings that seriously.

HOLY S__T!

What a friggin KO. I haven’t seen something like that in a longtime. I'm thinking Hearns-Duran.

You kinda got the feeling Martinez was looking for trouble right from the opening bell, he was firing some bombs early on and they were landing!!

I don’t know what to say about Williams. He got nailed and never saw it coming. Is his chin seriously dented now? I don’t think enough happened in this fight to really analyze.

As much as this raised Martinez' profile, I’d still rather see Pacquiao against Berto, Alexander or Bradley. Enough with the going up in weight for more belts, quality before quantity, because that scam he was involved in last week didn’t do anything for me.

Next week, Marquez-Katsidis. I cant wait. I see it resembling the first Marquez-Diaz fight. Either way it’s a cant miss. And I have my tickets to Pascal-Hopkins. I'm so happy. — Steve, Montreal

Enjoy the light heavyweight championship, Steve. I’ll be watching it on Showtime. I don’t have very high expectations for that fight, but maybe Pascal can make things interesting.

I’ll be ringside for Marquez-Katsidis and you better believe I have expectations for that one. I also think it will resemble Marquez-Diaz I. The only difference is that Katsidis is stronger and a harder puncher than Diaz and Marquez is almost two years older. I think the champ deserves to be the overwhelming favorite that he is in this bout but I also believe the challenger will test his 36-year-old legs like no other foe in recent years.

I agree with your take on a Pacquiao-Martinez showdown. The middleweight champ is just too damn big and talented for the little pound-for-pound king, and I’m tired of freakin’ catchweights. If Pacquiao isn’t fighting Mayweather or the Bradley-Alexander winner next year I won’t be interested in his fights. Berto just doesn’t do it for me. Guys who go life and death with Luis Collazo (I’m talking about you, Ricky Hatton) generally don’t fare well against the cream of the boxing crop.

Only time will tell if the chin (or psyche) of Williams was “dented” by that Hammer of Thor-esque left that Martinez threw at him. We’ll just have to see how he does the next time he steps into the ring with a world-class opponent.

You said Martinez’s KO of Williams reminded you of Duran’s chilling knockout at the lightening bolt hands of Hearns. Personally, I don’t think you have to go back that far for a shocking, elite-level KO. Tarver-Jones II was just as significant, if not more so, but I’m glad you brought up Hearns-Duran because those two came back from devastating, ice-cold, out-of-nowhere knockouts.

Duran took a year and a half off (mid-1985 to January of ’86) after Hearns blitzed him and then went 7-1 (the loss was a split decision to contender Robbie Simms) before upsetting Iran Barkley for a middleweight title in 1989.

Hearns didn’t know what hit him when Iran Barkley dropped that right-hand bomb on his chin in the third round of their 1988 middleweight title fight. However, the Hitman got right back into the ring and went 4-0-1 (the draw was his controversial rematch with Ray Leonard) before he upset Virgil Hill for a light heavyweight title in 1991.

The fact that these two warriors could regain their form (or alter their styles enough) to compete with the best in their respective divisions following devastating KO losses at late stages of their careers is part of what makes them “great.”

Can Williams, at age 29 and with 40 pro bouts under his belt, do the same? If he can, he’s truly special.

JUSTIFIABLE PUNISHMENT

Dougie, wow! I have nothing against P-Will as a fighter, but think his dramatic KO loss was absolute ring justice. From the silly catch-weight, purse split and even the announcement order of each fighter (since when is the official champ announced first??). Hell, even the ref dapped P-Will up as they were meeting at the center of the ring for pre-fight instructions. I was afraid of good 'ole Haymon soup ala mode from HBO's home cookin' menu. What happens to the Punisher from here? And Maravilla? — JP

I interviewed Williams the week of the fight and it was clear that he believed that he was ready to be a “star” that only fought fellow “stars” in his future fights. He said the he probably wouldn’t stay at 160 pounds after the Martinez fight (who he intended to beat for the title, of course), so I brought up some names at 154 pounds, including Alfredo Angulo, and he told me guys like that “hadn’t paid enough dues” and “didn’t make for big enough money” for him to consider.

Well, after getting bombed out and “zombie-fied” in two rounds against the middleweight champ, I think Williams will has no choice but to consider re-establishing his credentials against an attractive aggressive opponent such as Angulo (if the Mexican can get his immigration issues in order) and James Kirkland (if he can keep his ass out of jail) or a technical nightmare like Sergei Dzinziruk.

Who knows, maybe Williams’ chin is such a question mark that a fight with Cornelius Bundrage for K9’s junior middleweight strap would be received with interest.

Oh how the mighty have fallen. And oh how the forgotten man has risen. Whether you pay attention to titles or not, everyone has to recognize Martinez as the man in the middleweight division. Sadly, there aren’t many lucrative options for the 160-pound king in his own division. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. is the No. 1 contender for the WBC title Martinez holds (along with THE RING championship belt), but if Junior beats Alfonso Gomez on Dec. 4 the Bob Arum/Fernando Beltran plan is to get the son of the Mexican legend down to 154 pounds to challenge Top Rank stablemate Miguel Cotto for the Puerto Rican’s junior middleweight belt. Even if Chavez can’t make 154 pounds and actually says he wants to challenge Martinez, I don’t see Arum, Beltran, Freddie Roach or the kid’s father allowing him to carry out that suicide mission. Do you?

If DiBella (with HBO’s license-fee blessing) can entice Sturm (who was training at the Wild Card gym and talking about fighting in the U.S. for a minute) to come to America to challenge the champ that’s a 160-pound fight I’d be interested in watching. I think “the Sturminator” has been around long enough to be viewed as a credible opponent for Martinez.

Beyond Sturm, there isn’t much to choose from at 160 pounds unless Pavlik can get it together. Personally, I’d love to see Martinez take on a couple Eastern European/Central Asian standouts — Dmitry Pirog and Gennady Golovkin — but neither badass has enough name to get HBO or Showtime to open up their checkbooks. Pirog’s claim to fame is giving Daniel Jacobs a reality check (with the KO of the year before Martinez’s handiwork on Saturday). Golovkin — an amateur world champion and Olympian from Kazakhstan who beat the likes of Lucian Bute, Andre Dirrell, Matt Korobov, Yordanis Despaigne, and Andy Lee in major competitions — is still under the radar. (But I’m happy to let you know that insiders who have watched Golovkin train in Southern California tell me he’s a monster. I’ve been told that he beat the dogs__t out of “El Perro” in sparring sessions in Big Bear, Calif., prior to Angulo’s last fight. That’s saying something — if it's true — because Angulo is a beast in the gym.)

I’m sure title defenses against Sebastian Sylvester, Daniel Geale, and Matthew Macklin would be well received in the homelands of those contenders (Germany, Australia and the UK) right now, but I doubt Martinez would receive much credit for beating them (which is unfair, in my opinion) or the kind of paydays he’s looking for.

Too bad Martinez isn’t a few years younger. He could bide his time next year and then take on young guns like David Lemieux, Fernando Guerrero, and a rehabbed Jacobs in what could be (depending on how those three are developed and promoted) big fights in 2012.

WOW!

Dougie,
Crazy finish! I did not see that happening. It really sucks cause I’m a Paul Williams fan but Sergio made it happen. Guess he got tired of cutting it close with the judges, huh? — Luis, San Diego, CA

Yeah, I felt bad for “the Punisher,” too, but I was also happy for Martinez. Good point about his recent history with the judges. We can’t blame him for bringing his own judges (and one very effective executioner in the form of his overhand left) into the ring with him.

Don’t count Williams out, yet. He was caught by an extremely talented and experienced boxer who has developed into a good puncher in recent fights. I don’t think anyone can just walk up and take him down like that. If he’s still hungry, I think he can come back and be a major force at 154 pounds.

CRAZY, TWEET-WORTHY KO

What's up Doug,
Martinez's knockout of Williams totally came out of NOWHERE! My jaw literally dropped. Even Dougie had to drop a tweet LOL. I thought it was going to be a rough all out war for 12 rounds with a decision win for Martinez, but man did he shut everyone up. WOW.

Ok, now that Martinez is the Fighter of the Year, with the KO of the Year, where does this put him in the big picture among his lb. for lb. peers, and where can he go from here? Third question, what knockout was more brutal and significant, Martinez's of Williams, or Pacquiao's of Hatton? Despite Hatton taking a longer nap, I'm saying Martinez because Williams chin hasn't been checked like that EVER, whereas Hatton's already was dented by other fighters. Finally, orthodox fighters need to step their game up, because the southpaws are in the houseeee. — Lester

We need to clone prime 147-, 154-, and 160-pound versions Juan Manuel Marquez or Bernard Hopkins to even things out in the elite mix. Those two future hall of famers know how to fight left-handed badasses.

I definitely think Martinez’s cold-blooded KO of Williams was more significant than Pac’s beheading of Hatton, whose chin had already been “dented” (as you correctly point out). Williams was also viewed as a more formidable fighter going into Saturday’s bout than Hatton was going into the Pacquiao fight.

Where does Saturday’s victory put Martinez among his pound-for-pound peers? Nowhere, I’m afraid. The fight the mainstream sports world still wants to see is Pacquiao-Mayweather. Even after Saturday's showing Martinez’s profile is almost non-existent compared to Pacquiao and Mayweather. And you don’t have to be an insider to figure that the Nos. 1 and 2 pound-for-pound players — and their representatives — want no part of the middleweight champ.

Where does he go from here? I’m hoping he defends his title against a worthy challenger on HBO sometime in early 2011 just to raise his profile in America a little more. Sturm, a three-time titleholder who is unbeaten in his last 10 bouts, is certainly worthy as I’ve stated in this mailbag. If Angulo isn’t deported back to Mexico perhaps he’ll re-entertain a shot at Martinez if a little more money is made available for him to take the risk. I would heavily favor Martinez but I know Angulo would make it entertaining. David Lemieux is the No. 3-rated contender for the WBC belt that Martinez holds. I don’t think the popular Canadian puncher is ready for the champ but his impressive record and the huge lively crowd he would attract in Montreal for a middleweight title fight makes him an attractive opponent. I think HBO would be willing to travel to Montreal for that fight if it were made.

Whatever happens next with Martinez, I just hope he can continue the drama and excitement that he helped generate in his last three bouts.

Good point about Saturday’s KO. You know it had to be special for me to Tweet about it. Hey, I wasn’t on press row so I don’t mind admitting that I jumped out of my seat and shouted “Whoa! Wow!” to the top of my lungs before Williams crash landed. Moments like that remind me why I’m a diehard boxing fan.

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