By Francisco Salazar
Middleweight titleholder Sergio Martinez usually allows his fists to do the talking for him. However, the mild-mannered Martinez could not help himself by making a bold prediction about his 12 round fight against Paul Williams. “I’m going to stop him in seven rounds,” said Martinez to Fightnews.com at the Robert Garcia Boxing Academy in Oxnard on Sunday afternoon. He was in attendance to take part in a fundraiser to raise money for travel and lodgings for amateur fighters in the gym.
Martinez and Williams engaged in one of the best fights of 2009 last December. Both fighters each knocked down the other in a wild first round before Williams won a close 12 round majority decision.
Both fighters will square off at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ, the same venue from last year’s fight.
After the Williams fight, Martinez challenged then-Middleweight titleholder Kelly Pavlik in April. Martinez was the more effective fighter and despite a knockdown, won by a 12 round unanimous decision.
Five months after facing Martinez, Williams took on Kermit Cintron that resulted in one of the most awkward endings to a fight. As both fighters went in on the attack in the fourth round, Cintron lost his balance and flew through the ropes and landed onto the hard service of the Home Depot Center tennis court in Carson, CA.
After a delay of about 10 minutes, Cintron was deemed not fit to continue by a California State Athletic Commission physician. Although the fourth round was not completed, the round was scored according to California rules and after the scores were tabulated, Williams won by technical split decision.
Although Martinez did score a knockdown over Williams in the first fight, he plans on using a different game plan from the first fight.
“I’m going to hit harder and be more aggressive for this fight,” said the native Argentinean, who now resides in Oxnard. “I don’t want to leave any doubts in peoples’ minds this time.”
This will be Martinez’s third fight in a row at the same venue. Like Williams, he has fought at the Junior Middleweight and Middleweight limits.
Williams has not lost in almost three years since a 12 round unanimous decision loss to Carlos Quintana, when he fought as a Welterweight. He later redeemed himself by stopping Quintana four months later to reclaim the world title belt he lost.
Both fighters will fight at a catch weight of 157 pounds for this fight.