Boxing Commentary: Will Paul Williams defeat Antonio Margarito? And More!

antonio margarito26.06.07 - By Christopher Roche: Boxing Questions (and answers)

1) Will Boxing continue its momentum and match up Ricky “The Hitman Hatton” and Paulie “The Magic Man” Malignaggi?

By many accounts, professional boxing is having a great year. De La Hoya vs. Mayweather brought the sport tons of attention, and it definitely brought lost fans back into the fold. While the fight was not a thriller, it was by no means a disaster, and boxing basked in the glow of the global spotlight.

The De La Hoya vs. Mayweather bout was followed up with a brutal war put on by Kelly Pavlik and Edison Miranda. While the main event on that card failed to deliver much of anything, the Pavlik vs. Miranda match provided enough fireworks to more than make up for the slow headliner.

Boxing jumped right back in the saddle in June, with three very compelling title fights. Cotto vs. Judah was almost like a mini De La Hoya vs. Mayweather in terms of box office hype, and the fight delivered much more compelling action. Malignaggi vs. Lovemore N’Dou provided an emotional, hard fought victory for Malignaggi, and it vaulted him to the top echelon of his division. Then, over this past weekend, Hatton dispatched highly regarded Jose Luis Castillo in an intense, brutal manner, with a fourth round KO.

While boxing has done well this year, July will continue to turn up the heat as HBO hosts a bi-coastal triple-header featuring Arturo Gatti vs. Alphonso Gomez and Kermit Cintron vs. Walter Matthysse from Atlantic City, NJ. After those bouts, the network will take advantage of the time zone difference and broadcast the highly anticipated Antonio Margarito vs. Paul Williams bout from Carson, CA. Boxing has momentum, and I believe the best way to close out the year would be a Hatton vs. Malignaggi bout.

After their recent victories, Hatton and Malignaggi seem to be on a collision course. Malignaggi specifically said he wants to fight Hatton next, and Hatton mentioned Malignaggi with a few other potential opponents. The fight makes perfect sense, because both men are champions; they are the same weight, and they are in their primes. Further, they have contrasting styles that will make the fight highly compelling. Hatton will press the action, and Malignaggi will stand in the pocket and box; he will not run.

The contrast in styles is not confined to their fighting styles. Hatton is a blue-collar guy who enjoys a Guinness at the local pub, and Malignaggi sports a flashy image complete with multi-colored spiked hair and flashy ring skirts. Hatton’s legendary fan base will make the fight a marquis sellout anywhere in the world, and Malignaggi will benefit by gaining international exposure.

Hatton and Malignaggi are direct opposites in many ways, but they can both fight like hell. For the sake of the fans, let’s hope that opposites attract and this fight gets made.

2) Will Paul Williams defeat Antonio Margarito?

Williams has predicted a knockout against Margarito, but most boxing writers and fans that I speak with do not give Williams as much of a chance as I would expect. In my eyes, Williams presents so many difficult challenges to his fellow welterweights, that I have a hard time picking against him. Williams has height, speed, power and incredible reach. Williams packages all of those attributes into a southpaw stance: thus adding an enigmatic element to his impressive array of gifts.

The main dangers I see for Williams against Margarito lie in the fact that Margarito has been in with better competition, and Williams is susceptible to being hit with a lot more clean shots than necessary. Despite Williams’ physical advantages, he likes to mix it up, and he is not afraid to take shots in order to deliver his own. Margarito is a better puncher than Williams’ past opponents, and if he is given the right openings, Margarito could hurt Williams. The straight right hand is generally the most effective weapon against a southpaw, and if Williams is not careful, Margarito could certainly catch him. In his perfect 32-bout career, Williams’s chin has not been tested by a fighter the caliber of Margarito, and it will be interesting to see how he reacts to Margarito’s stingers.

I am looking forward to the entire triple-header on July 14, but the Margarito vs. Williams bout has been circled on my calendar above the others. There is nothing better than two prime fighters with knockout power squaring off, and I do not expect a dance recital to break out. Margarito and Williams will both come to fight, and while I favor Williams because of his overwhelming physical attributes, the bout could obviously go either way.

3) How do you know when you are addicted to Boxing?

Two Friday’s ago, I was scrolling through the channels waiting for ESPN’s “Friday Night Fights” to come on. I scrolled past Telefutura, which is a Spanish language network here in the USA, and I noticed that Luis Ramon “Yori Boy” Campas and Billy Lyell were in the second round from Youngstown, Ohio. For some reason I thought that bout was on ESPN, but I was mistaken, as the ESPN crew was back in Canada for yet another sold out card.

As luck would have it, I coincidentally had some Tecate in my refrigerator, and I was delighted to see the ring mats were adorned with the Mexican Brewer’s label. The fight was of course broadcast in Spanish, and I settled in and watched the final nine rounds of the bout without understanding much of what the announcers were saying.

I thoroughly enjoy watching Campas fight, and I was not disappointed with his performance. Campas took the fight to Lyell, who was the hometown favorite, and he achieved what should have been wide decision. However, Campas was not comfortable that he won the fight until after the last card was read.

Campas is now a sort of “super opponent” these days, as he usually brawls in the other guy’s backyard. Nonetheless, Campas comes to fight, and he uses pressure and pesky combinations to force the action. He proved he is still a warrior with skills when he fought “Ireland’s” John Duddy last year, and it was nice to see Campas get back on the winning track last Friday.

Fight I Would like to See and Why

David Tua vs. Sultan Ibragimov. I saw Tua fight back in February, and he looked like he was heading on the right track in his comeback. Ibragimov is not a huge puncher, and I think Tua would walk through him with pressure and make a decent fight of it. The heavyweight division is dead, and a Tua upset could inject some life into that morbid bracket.

If anyone has any better suggestions in the heavyweight division, drop me an e-mail, because I do not see anything that gets me too excited.

Quote of the Week

“What round was it, round four? I think you saw more action in these four rounds than you’ve been shown for value for your money in Floyd’s whole career. I will just leave it at that.”-Ricky Hatton in his post fight interview with Max Kellerman of HBO, when Kellerman asked what Hatton thought of the fact that he beat Castillo more decisively and in a more fan friendly manner than Mayweather did.

Quote of the Week II

“If he doesn’t make it as a pro, maybe Dirrell can go back to the Olympics as a 5,000 meter runner.”-Larry Merchant of HBO during the Andre Dirrell vs. Curtis Stevens bout, which took place on the Malignaggi vs. N’Dou undercard.

Quote of the Week III

“Paulie Malignaggi, in his post fight interview, was correct in pointing out that Castillo has nothing left and N’Dou was the tougher opponent. Hatton will wear down and defeat Castillo. Hatton’s victory will set up a bout against Malignaggi in the fall. Hatton KO 9.”-Those words are part of my prediction, which appeared on the staff picks for, BEFORE the Hatton vs. Castillo bout. I realize that is shameless self-promotion, but it is the closest I will ever come to picking a fight correctly. Without Malignaggi’s analysis, I would not have been close to correct.

Injustice of the Week

The SAP button on my remote does not translate Spanish language channels into English. I found this out during the aforementioned Campas vs. Lyell bout. Using subtitles and captions does not work either.

Non Boxing Thoughts

The business of boxing promotions is extremely difficult, and I plan to speak with local promoters about some of the major successes they have as well as some pitfalls they face. There are some unbelievable stories that promoters and matchmakers can tell, and I think boxing fans will have a new appreciation for how difficult it is to put on a boxing show.

I attended the KEA Boxing show this past Saturday, here in New Jersey, and the undertaking for a 1,200 seat, six-bout show is enormous. I cannot imagine how difficult it is to coordinate a two-coast triple-header, like the one HBO is undertaking in July, or a massive show like Cotto vs. Judah.

Non Boxing Thoughts II

R.I.P. to former major league baseball all-star Rod Beck. Beck was found dead in his home at the age of 38. As a relief pitcher, Beck was a “Goose” Gossage throwback, and he even hung out with the fans and enjoyed a beer and a cigarette after the games.

My thoughts and prayers are with the Beck family.

Reader Submissions

Robert J. from Edinburg, TX wrote in with a very thoughtful and thought-provoking submission. He knows a lot more about the UFC than I do, and his Mayweather vs. Taylor proposal is very intriguing, and it is something that I had not heard before.

FYI-Robert sent this in after the last column, on June 14, so it was before the UFC 72 card took place.

Robert says:

Hey Christopher, what’s happening? Good ‘fight’ article on ESB! I’m a fight trainer originally a fighter from Chicago living in Edinburg Texas, one of my amateurs just turned pro bout failed the pre-fight physicals, and the pro debut will be delayed! I’m a huge fight fan, I like MMA, have been watching the UFC for many years and it seems to me the fights are starting to get FLAT. The Liddell/Jackson but had more hype than fight and when I watched the replays of Mayweather/DeLaHoya it was a very exciting fight but not up to the hype, but better than Jackson/Liddell. I knew Jackson had Liddell’s number because I rewatched the 1st fight and Jackson overwhelmed Chuck something most of Chuck’s other opponents are unable to do! Also Jackson can take a good punch and when Liddell can’t get you out’ve there with his shots, he’s shot!

The UFC 72 card isn’t that interesting, other than being in Northern Ireland, the cast of characters on the card aren’t ELITE, and this show will bomb. MMA is its own worst enemy, they’re like the girlfriend trying to get married, she’ll do everything and anything to get a proposal but after she’s married all of that will end, once the MMA is accepted by the mainstream they’ll put on high priced mismatches and fleece the paying public out’ve their hard earned cash just like boxing does. But for now the MMA is serving a useful purpose, a wakeup call to boxing to clean up their act and it COULD happen.

Mayweather beats Cotto 9.9 times out of 10, plus Cotto makes Floyd have to knock him out, Mayweather will put a Gatti style beatdown on Cotto! Floyd beats Shane Mosley 9.5 times out’ve 10 he takes the Sugar out’ve Shane by the 5th or 6th round and Jack Mosley can’t do anything to get a rise out’ve Shane in the corner between rounds! I’ve been hearing a lot of talk and rumor about Floyd Mayweather fighting Jermain Taylor for the middleweight championship of the world in November if the Taylor/Pavlik fight doesn’t come to fruition, with some step aside money paid to Kelly with him getting the winner next! I hope this happens and Floyd wins because I would like to see Floyd in a fight with a guy (Pavlik) that nobody thinks that Floyd can beat!

I will be taking reader submissions and answering them in this space. Please e-mail me at with questions and commentary, and we will include as many as we can. Please include your first name and hometown for publication and type the word “Column” in the subject line; otherwise, we will not publish it. Also, please no attachments or pictures, as we will have to delete them.

*The title of this column alludes to the premier novel of the twentieth century, and it is written by Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway often spoke highly of the sport of boxing, and he participated as both a fighter and a referee. Every other week this column will humbly pay homage to the man who helped glorify the fight game back in its early stages. With a little hard work, the Sun Will Rise Again for Boxing, as together we can restore the sport to the top, one fan at a time. Thank You for reading our column.

Article posted on 26.06.2007

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