KNOCKOUT OF THE YEAR VOTING RESULTS
Sergio Martinez KO 2 Paul Williams: 94 percent
Today's poll: Fight of the Year. Vote at Yahoo! Sports by going to this link
The knockout is arguably the most exciting and dramatic event in professional sports. It’s also among the more frightening realities of pro boxing, given the brutal neurological consequences of a KO punch.
The most memorable knockouts are both thrilling and chilling. Fans are immediately ignited into celebration by the spectacle of the violent, head-jarring impact of a perfect punch and the recipient’s instantaneous loss of consciousness.
A split second later there is genuine concern for the fallen fighter, the unfortunate victim of brain trauma that caused all of his neurotransmitters to fire at once. The resulting “electric storm” in his head short circuits his nervous system, leaving him temporarily paralyzed on the canvas.
That was the fate of Paul Williams a split second after middleweight champ Sergio Martinez connected with a flush left hand to the side of his head in the second round and abruptly ended their rematch on Nov. 20 in Atlantic City, N.J.
Their first fight — won by Williams — was a Fight of the Year candidate, as the rematch was expected to be. Instead, thanks to the speed, power, timing and precision of Martinez’s overhand left cross, fans witnessed a breathtaking stoppage that was overwhelmingly voted the 2010 Ring Fan Polls Knockout of the Year.
Martinez, an athletic late-comer to the sport, had proven his world-class talent and mettle in back-to-back 12-round bouts with Kermit Cintron and Williams last year, but the crunching KO power he displayed against Williams in their rematch was a surprise.
Perhaps fans shouldn’t have been caught off guard by Martinez’s punching prowess or the zeal with which he pursued the knockout.
The Argentine southpaw had to settle for a controversial majority draw against Cintron last February, despite controlling most of the rounds and scoring a seventh-round knockdown that should have ended the bout. He traded knockdowns with Williams in the opening round of their first bout in December and landed the harder shots against the towering volume puncher but wound up on the losing end of a furiously fought majority decision.
So it’s understandable if Martinez wanted to bring his own judges to his rematch with Williams given the disappointing decisions of those two bouts. Emboldened by his middleweight title-winning victory over Kelly Pavlik in April, the 35-year-old veteran set out to deliver on his pre-fight promise to knock out Williams the moment the bell sounded to start their rematch.
After an evenly fought opening three minutes, Martinez found what he was looking for 58 seconds into the second round: a clear shot at Williams’ jaw. The punch instantly froze Williams in his tracks and the slight betting favorite heaved forward, eyes glazed and open, landing face-first on the canvas, where referee Earl Morton needlessly tolled a 10 count.
With one punch, Martinez created a result in the ring that was shocking, electrifying, and frightening. In a span of less than 10 seconds he caused fans to stand, shout, cheer and fear for the safety of Williams. He also transformed himself into an elite fighter to watch in 2011.