Last time Paul Williams and Sergio Martinez crossed paths, they staged one of the best fights of the year. One year later they will do it again on November 20 in Atlantic City, for Maravilla’s WBC Middleweight title. Last time Williams won the close and controversial decision, this time Martinez appears ultra confident that he will turn the tables on his pal Paul.
On Thursday afternoon, the two gentleman warriros showed nothing but friendly benevolence and enormous respect to each other, at a press conference at The Palm on 50th Street in midtown Manhattan, even playfully joking with each other during the photographer’s staredowns, at times self-telling each other they had to forcefully remove the smiles and feelings of mutual respect in order to show a serious, Let’s get it on-tough-guy image for the media.
A few things stood out. The Martinez camp seems inspired and comforted by the fact that they confidently perceive Team Williams absolutely did not want this fight and were supposedly forced into it by HBO. During the press conference, the Williams side didn’t directly refute the notion, however they did several separate times try to dilute that belief. But it looked like they were trying to plug a leak. No matter what was said and how many times it was said by Team Williams, it seems pretty clear in my mind that HBO and Martinez really wanted this fight but Williams, Goossen and Haymon would have rather preferred to explor other options. And the winner of this power struggle was obviously the most powerful entity in American boxing today – HBO.
Another miscellaneous observation was the size of the sweat stains on Paul’s blue shirt before he was told by Goossen to put his pinstriped suit jacket on. Paul did not seem or sound nervous or uncomfortable but apparently by the moisture on his shirt, he was. Or he forgot to put on his anti-perspirant. Does this mean anything about what will happen on November 20? Most likely not. But still, I feel it’s worthy of mention because in all my 18 years of covering these events, I have never seen a boxer with such a sweated shirt at a press conference.
Here are the words of the particulars of the event (which have been inaccurately reported at another boxing site)…
George Peterson: “I looked at Paul’s record…39-1, 27 knockouts. I looked at the one that he lost (to Quintana). Paul wasn’t satisified. But of course you saw the rematch, what he did. That rematch he came back and he avenged that loss in a minute 37 of the first round. To make my point, the fight on December 5th last year was a fight you felt the same about. This is also a rematch. We’re looking to be victorious to the same point where it’s gonna make a statement as far as the middleweight division goes. We’re looking for Paul to get his proper due that night. We’re looking for a very good fight as long as it lasts. We don’t expect it to go very long. There are somethings he didn’t do in the first fight and he acknowledged that. I’m having a little trouble in the training camp with the anxiety that he has. I need him to maintain that, we’re ready to go right now.”
Gabriel Sarmiento: “Thank you for HBO to force this fight.”
Sergio Martinez: “No one wants to fight Paul Williams and no one wants to fight Maravilla Martinez, so we fight each other. And everyone that doesn’t want to fight us has a very good reason not to want to. This time I have a lot of reason again to fight Paul Williams…it is a fight that everybody wins, every one of us…We try to redo it what we did before and win it again…”
“I don’t want to forget the problems that we have every day in our society…Don’t forget that we have problems and violence outside of the ring. I will never stop to continue working to stop the violence outside the ring. I love my mother and I want to respect every women and I want everyone to respect the women. I will fight inside and outside the ring to stop the violence with women. And every time I have a camera and microphone (in front of me), I will say, Stop the violence…”
“Without HBO and the fans, we are nothing, we don’t exist. My inspiration is to get to the top, to the heart of HBO, and every one of the fans, Anglos, Latinos, all boxing fans. Thank you.”
Paul Williams: “He’s got something I want – he’s got those belts on the table. I want those belts on the table. It’s my job to go out there and get them. You are going to see a whole lot of explosions this time…I know he is going to bring it and I am going to bring it. For the whole 12 rounds, or four, or five or one…however long it goes. There is going to be a lot of action and I can’t wait to get in the ring to do it again…
This is the biggest fight out there, except for Mayweather & Pacquiao but they’re not fighting. So who else do they want to see? Williams and Martinez. I am going to be in the best shape of my life like I always am. And I’m gonna win. I know there is a lot of stuff out there that he may have won and it was a close fight, so I know it’s my job to make sure everything is all right…Come November 20 I know he is definitely going to be ready, and we’re gonna get it on once again. You going to get your money’s worth…you can take that to the bank…and it won’t bounce [smiles].”
Stay tuned for a Biofile with Sergio Martinez and one on one with his trainer Gabriel Sarmiento…