Another thriller on tap?

Another thriller on tap?

Published Nov. 19, 2010 12:00 a.m. ET

Paul Williams (39-1, 27 KOs) has trouble finding new opponents. So Saturday, Williams will tangle with a familiar foe.

Fighting a rematch of their 2009 majority decision, Williams will once again try to defeat Sergio Martinez, this time for Martinez's WBC middleweight title.

Williams’ awkwardness has been droned upon ad nauseum. He’s lanky, he’s long, and he’s a lefty. With a high-volume punch output, Williams is a fighter few want to face.

Now 29 years old, Williams did not look good in his last fight against Kermit Cintron. The fight ended early when Cintron fell from the ring and could not continue. By his own admission, Williams was slow to start because of the gameplan. Whatever the case, Williams had better be sharp after a six-month layoff because his opponent this weekend has seen it all before.


Martinez (45-2-2, 24 KOs) is one man who is not afraid to mix it up with Williams. He now puts his middleweight title on the line in order to get Williams back into the ring (the fight will be contested at a 158-pound catchweight). Martinez won the middleweight title in his last fight, a unanimous decision over Kelly Pavlik. Martinez started and closed the fight well, proving to be a tough target to catch by the end of the night.

The 35-year-old from Argentina will need that endurance and elusiveness against Williams. A frustrated Williams could lead to a headhunting Williams, and that would play right into the hands of Martinez.

Staff predictions

Paul Magno: The first time out, Paul Williams fought a terrible tactical fight and played almost directly into Sergio Martinez’s strengths as a fighter. However, even while fighting the worst possible fight, he still managed to win a close, close decision.

Martinez is at the top of his game now, but I can’t see him fighting Williams any better this time than he did last time. So, this leads me to believe that a better-prepared, more-focused Williams should be able to take this rematch. But, whenever you get two evenly-matched, prime, elite fighters going at it, anything can happen.

If forced to choose, I’d say Williams via close split decision, but I would not be surprised to see Martinez take the decision either.

Trent Pusey: My head tells me Williams. But my gut is saying Sergio. Maybe it’s just the chili dogs from earlier, but I’m going with my gut here. Despite being fairly certain I’ve used that terrible joke some time before, sometimes you need to go with your gut.

Paul makes a good point above. But I don’t think the rusty Williams we saw in May was completely due to the gameplan. Martinez is running out of time and has revenge on his mind. It could be that I’m envisioning the best possible Sergio showing up against the worst possible Williams, but give this one to Sergio, 115-113.

Corey Willinger: Without question, this is the most difficult big fight to call of the year. Williams seems to only know one way to fight, but it was enough to best the more versatile Martinez the first time around, if just barely. The sequel may simply boil down to who’s hotter right now. And with Williams struggling with Kermit Cintron this spring while Sergio impressively out-fought Kelly Pavlik for the middleweight crown, it’s clear Martinez is the one riding the bigger wave of momentum into the rematch.

Look for Sergio to cut Williams en route to notching a close decision, 116-112. That way we can all look forward to a rubber match in 2011.