Last night on HBO we had what appeared to be three very exciting fights lined up. The main event was a great welterweight matchup that lived up to the hype but we sadly saw another beating of a fan favorite.
The first bout of the evening was a short one. Promising young Kermit Cintron, now 28-1 with 26 KOs, made quick work of Walter Matthysse. Cintron won via 2nd round knockout. His only loss was to main event fighter Antonio Margarito and he will be looking for revenge soon. The victory was impressive seeing that Matthysse had only one loss himself coming in, and that was to Paul Williams.
Up next on the night was one of boxing's favorite sons, Arturo "Thunder" Gatti. He was stepping in with Contender alum Alfonso Gomez. Once the opening bell sounded it was clear Gatti's career is finished. The wars have taken a toll on him and it's just time to hang up the gloves once and for all. Gomez just pounded on him and made him look like a fighter out of a toughman competition. The fight finally came to a stop in the 7th round. It probably should have been stopped in the 5th by Gatti's corner as he clearly has nothing to offer and was outclassed by a guy with a record of 16-3-2 and only seven knockouts coming in.
Gatti has given fight fans a lot of excitment in the past, most notably his trilogy with now trainer Micky Ward. We are now seeing too many fighters climb back into the ring when they have no business doing so. The performance by Arturo Gatti was sad to see last night.
The main event of the evening had Antonio Margarito going toe to toe with Paul Williams. It turned out to be a very exciting fight and both guys lived up to the hype.
Paul Williams got a unanimous decision and became the new WBO champ by out working Margarito in the early rounds and then holding on in the later stages. He really did a little too much holding on. Throughout the title contest, the ref kept warning Williams not to hold or he would take points away. Williams kept holding with nothing happening. That was the only negative I saw in Williams.
The match was a very even one but Paul Williams was the much busier fighter and threw a lot more punches. Margarito's defense was outstanding and he was able to block most of the punches coming at him. He just waited too long to get his offense going and it cost him the fight and his belt. Both champions had great hands and solid chins. Margarito landed the heavier shots and looked to have Williams stunned a few times late in the fight. He was unable to take advantage in the long run however.
Both young fighters looked world class and will be in title contention for a long time to come. The winner of the match was expected to be in line to take on Miguel Cotto who recently defeated Zab Judah. But it looks like the promoters once again will prevent a megafight.
Paul Williams said he will fight Cotto and wants that right away. The bad news is that Cotto is promoted by Bob Arum who just happens to be Margarito's promoter also.
Arum said after the fight that he didn't think Williams won the fight and that he will not get a shot at Cotto. Instead, he will look to set up a bout between his two fighters and leave Williams out in the cold.
Will the promoters once again prevent a fight that makes all the sense in the world? A showdown between Miguel Cotto and Paul Williams would be a blockbuster. It's just a damn shame we might not get to see it.