ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — One perfect left hand. It’s the kind you recognize when you see it, if you’ve seen anything like it before — the kind of punch from which the man on the other end of it won’t get up, not this time. It’s the kind that middleweight champion Sergio Martinez connected on against Paul Williams in the second round of their rematch of what some saw as the 2009 Fight of the Year.
And with that one godlike blow, Sergio Martinez sealed the almost-certain Knockout of the Year and cemented his place as Fighter of the Year.
Martinez just knocked out a consensus top-5 pound-for-pound fighter spectacularly, and earlier this year, took the middleweight championship from Kelly Pavlik with a thorough beat down. Martinez was hanging around the neighborhood that night; Saturday night in Atlantic City, he arrived.
The 1st round looked to be Williams’. He landed the more plentiful shots, and handled the left hand counters coming back. But in the 2nd round, early, he leaned in and there was no way he’d get up from that counter left. It would take a while before he was revived.
What can you say? If ever there was an “oh sh*t” moment in boxing, this was it. This was an even-money fight where one guy made a statement, and with lots of exclamation points afterward: Martinez looks like the man who could be the pound-for-pound king the moment Manny Pacquiao retires or stumbles.