Williams was mobbed immediately after the knockout.
WBC Middleweight Title Retained Following Knockout of the Year
Not only did WBC Middleweight Champion Sergio Martinez (46-2-2, 25 KOs) successfully defend his title tonight against Paul Williams (39-2, 27 KOs) at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, he did so by delivering one of the most devastating knockouts that the weight division, and perhaps the sport of boxing, has ever seen. The action in this highly anticipated rematch was in overdrive from the opening bell, but the bout came to a screeching halt in the second round when Martinez unloaded a crushing left hand that dropped Williams face first on the canvas.
"We prepared for this," Martinez said after the win. "We worked really hard. I started to attack and when I did, we knew he was going to make a mistake because he always makes mistakes. He left me a lot of room to come in and hit him."
These two fighters last met up less than a year ago in one of the top fights of 2009, with Williams taking a controversial majority decision. After much deliberation throughout 2010 finally got the two middleweights back into the ring for a second session, Martinez made sure that the judges’ input would be of little relevance.
The action itself picked up right where its precursor left off last December, with immediate exchanges as soon as the bell rang to start the first frame. Both fighters looked to be completely dialed into one another, and neither one was backing off at all. The two men were never more than a step beyond each other, and a crowd of 5,502 spectators roared in approval of the tempo.
The second round continued at the same pace, but the lights quickly went out for Williams at 1:10 of the frame. It was then that he led in with his head and attempted to throw a left hand, resulting in his chin being left wide open. Martinez quickly saw his opportunity and unloaded a brutal left hook that directly connected on the button of his opposition. The left hand Williams threw never found its mark, and he was out cold before he ever hit the canvas.
Immediately after the punch landed, Martinez threw up his right hand, knowing he had thrown his last strike of the evening. Referee Earl Morton started to count out Williams, but the tally was obviously unnecessary as Williams lay motionless with his eyes wide open. Everyone in the arena already knew they had unquestionably seen the 2010 Knockout of the Year.
After Martinez had been officially proclaimed the winner, he had an immediate embrace with promoter Lou DiBella, and he even gave DiBella the robe that he wore to the ring after the two returned backstage.
The dominating victory by Martinez places him into a certain conversation as being one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world, likely right up there with the likes of Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather. As for what the 35-year-old veteran feels should be next for him, he said that the end may be approaching but would not rule out anything in the near future.
"My plan is to have two or three more fights before I retire and would like to have one of them against Pacquiao or Mayweather," he confirmed. "I want to listen to all offers and see what comes my way."
He most certainly has earned the opportunity for a bout with either of those two fighters, but a catch weight would be a definite hurdle that would need to be jumped in order for either one to happen. Needless to say, those are conversations that DiBella and Martinez adviser Sampson Lewkowicz have likely already put into motion. But for tonight, fight fans all over the world were treated to one of the greatest punches ever landed in the sport’s history.
It was all pretty much summed up in the first word that HBO commentator Max Kellerman used to begin his post-fight interview with Martinez.