Body Blows: Margarito/Williams, Roy Jones Jr/Hanshaw

Last Saturday night was a great showcase for welterweights that deserved exposure. In a division headlined by pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr, it was refreshing to see guys in that weight class that were willing to go out there and fight. The biggest name fighting over the weekend, however, was not a part of the welterweight tripleheader. Former pound-for-pound king Roy Jones Jr was also in action on what had to be a sparsely watched pay-per-view.

Antonio Margarito vs. Paul Williams

This was a terrific matchup that even included an interesting back story. Williams used to spar with Margarito. Williams claims to have gotten the better of Margarito during those sessions but Margarito’s camp obviously disagrees. Margarito would go on to become the most ducked fighter in boxing, not getting any big names to agree to fight him despite holding a world title for five years. Paul Williams, on the other hand, was quite vocal in his desire to fight Margarito yet the champ seemed to brush Williams’ requests aside. The fight came into place when Williams won a #1 contender fight last year with the winner getting a shot at Antonio Margarito and his WBO Welterweight Title. No more excuses could get in the way of this fight happening now.

Paul Williams showed that the ring walk isn’t always about focus and intimidation as he just seemed genuinely happy, almost giddy, to be Paul Williams. Antonio Margarito always has a height and reach advantage in his fights. Unless the 6’1″ Williams is on the other side of the ring with his 82″ reach. That reach advantage was on display as Williams used his jab to put the early rounds in the bank. Margarito rushed to the center of the ring but Williams was just more active as he circled Margarito and peppered him with jabs that Larry Merchant astutely observed as backhands.

Margarito is a slow starter, which is just a nice way of saying he has no gameplan. It’s like saying a fat kid is “big boned.” Williams would keep connecting on jabs and Margarito even started to talk trash back, perhaps as a means to get himself into the fight. It must have worked because round 7 produced the first back-and-forth exchanges of the fight, shifting the momentum towards Margarito. The pace of the fight has really picked up now that Margarito has decided to join in. Williams has been throwing a lot of punches but at 25-years-old, he is not showing any signs of fatigue.

A nice combination from Margarito hurts Williams near the end of the 10th round. Crazy action ensues in the 11th round as Margarito seems to be fighting with more urgency. The crowd is pro-Margarito and has been all night. Their energy sets up a great stage for a pivotal final round, as do the pro-Williams guys I was watching the fight with:

Guy 1: “He’s (Margarito) got too much fire. I’m worried.”

Margarito fought the final round as if he needed a knockout. Williams got caught with some good punches but wouldn’t go away as he still threw punches in bunches in the 12th. Margarito seemed more gassed than the younger Williams and Paul took advantage of it. The fight went to the scorecards where a unanimous decision was awarded to the new champion, Paul Williams. The scores were 116-112, 115-113, and another 115-113.

It was a night of great action, yet I managed to get pissed off by the end of it thanks to none other than Larry Merchant. I hate Larry Merchant. Perhaps I love to hate him but I won’t know that for sure until his crazy old ass goes away. Instead of celebrating a great main event or lauding the future of the welterweight division based on the likes of Cintron, Margarito, and Williams, Merchant decides to ramble on about Oscar De La Hoya. I probably hate Oscar De La Hoya more than Larry Merchant. Oscar is apparently coming back to welterweight to fight any of the handful of guys at the top that he can beat. That narrows things down to Ricky Hatton, who isn’t even a real welterweight. De La Hoya reeks of Sugar Ray Leonard and I hate him too. It was a night to showcase the up-and-coming talent in the division but the fight summary turns out to be “Oscar is coming! Oscar is coming!” Paul Williams will be a star. He has ten years of boxing ahead of him if he so chooses. Build him up before you milk your last cash cow dry.

Roy Jones Jr vs. Anthony Hanshaw

It seemed like a bad night for any boxer to be fighting on pay-per-view but Roy Jones Jr isn’t just any boxer, at least that’s what he still thinks. Junior took on Anthony Hanshaw in front of 9,000 fans in Biloxi, Mississippi. Hanshaw moved up to light heavyweight after fighting to a draw against Jean Paul Mendy in the finals of a super middleweight tournament that was being held on Showtime.

Hanshaw implemented the “Rush at Roy” strategy after the opening bell made popular by Glen Johnson and half-heartedly duplicated by Prince Badi Ajamu. Jones weathered the storm, as he did in the other attempts, and began picking Hanshaw apart in the second round. Hanshaw attempted to bully Jones throughout the fight. Jones tried to fight like the Roy of old but instead fought like an older Roy. But that was enough to deal with Anthony Hanshaw. Jones hurt Hanshaw in the 11th and scored a knockdown. Junior claims he could have put the kid away but opted not to because he needed the rounds. There was only one round left, Roy. We go to the cards again and Junior wins a unanimous decision with scores of 118-109, 117-110, and 114-113.

Roy Jones Jr is still relevant in boxing because of his name and past accomplishments. There are no big fights left for him outside of Bernard Hopkins and that ship may have already sailed. The future for Roy Jones Jr is unclear but chances are that no one will see it anyway.

Other Fight Results From the Week

Gatti’s demise and Cintron’s rise.

Joel Julio scored a TKO over K-9; Allan Green a quick winner.

– Cristian Mijares retained his WBC Super Flyweight with a 10th round TKO of Teppei Kikui.

– Heavyweight Alexander Dimitrenko remained undefeated with a 5th round TKO of Malcolm Tann.

– John Duddy fought in Ireland for the first time in his career and pleased the fans with a 10th round TKO of Alessio Furlan. Duddy needs a step up in competition now.

– British lightweight and Olympic silver medalist Amir Khan forced a stoppage of Willie Limond after eight rounds.

– Chris Arreola was victorious in his heavyweight bout as was Andre Ward in his fight at super middleweight.

– Former world champion Derrick “Smoke” Gainer got a split decision win over Carlos Navarro.

– Vassiliy Jirov was a 2nd round TKO winner over Kenny Craven.