Williams-Margarito, Gatti-Gomez And Hopkins-Wright - Two Great Nights In July

30.06.07 - By James Slater: Sometime we Brits have it good when it comes to boxing. Sometimes even better than you guys in the States. Two such nights are coming up in July. Not only will Sky T.V (the premiere channel in the U.K when it comes to the big fights) be showing the hugely exciting Paul “The Punisher” Williams Vs. Antonio Margarito showdown, the Arturo Gatti Vs. Alfonso Gomez clash AND the Bernard Hopkins Vs. Winky Wright fight a week later - they are also showing them FREE.

Okay, we will have to stay up until the early hours of the morning to watch these fights - whereas you guys in America will be tuning in at peak time - and to have Sky T.V one has to pay an annual subscription. But overall that’s a lot better than having to shell out upwards of $50 bucks each and every big time fight night. Yes indeed, we have it good here in the U.K at times. But what kind of fights will the above mentioned trio of bouts give us?

First up, we have the Gatti-Gomez fight on July 14th. Gomez, for my money one of the most colourful and talented of the entire Contender T.V series, is really up for this fight. While Gatti, though he too can always be relied on to give his all, is a fighter most think should have retired by now. How much can “The Human Highlight Reel” possibly have left? At age thirty-five,
and after a quite astonishing number of brutal wars, “Thunder” is a guy who could very well wind up discovering the well is bone dry in any given fight. Will this happen against the twenty-six year old from Mexico?

I believe Arturo will once again grit his teeth and battle his way through to a tough points win. Gomez is not a huge puncher by any means and unless Gatti has absolutely lost his punch resistance, his conditioning, which is always as good as can be, will see him through to the finish line against the near-decade younger man. How much this will leave him with for his next scheduled bout - with the offspring of the legendary Julio Cesar Chavez, however, is something else entirely. Gatti W10 Gomez for me.

After this fight is done Sky will transfer their coverage from Atlantic City to California for the Williams-Margarito battle. This one should be a classic. Both men can whack, particularly Williams, and both men will definitely come to fight. Paul has reportedly wanted this fight for quite a long while. Other fighters may have avoided the strong Mexican in Antonio, but “The Punisher” is not one of them. Referred to as some as the new Thomas Hearns, is Williams about to duplicate what Tommy did in his first shot at a world title?

On that occasion “The Hitman” made shockingly short work of another Mexican tough guy in Pipino Cuevas. Two rounds was all it took the twenty-one year old from Detroit to crush his vastly experienced rival. I think we can expect to see something not altogether dissimilar from Williams-Margarito. Though not as quickly - there will be around six more rounds for my money -
the unbeaten twenty-five year old from Georgia will stun the four years older Margarito with his lethal power. I take the next big thing at welterweight (quite literally, as Williams, like Hearns, stands at an astonishing six foot, one) to KO the defending WBO champion in round eight.

And now to the final fight in this previewed trilogy - the exceedingly tough-to-pick Hopkins-Wright showdown on July 21st. Though some fans are not looking especially forward to this one, I myself am. Why? Firstly, B-Hop Vs. Winky is, as I’ve said, a very hard fight in which to predict the outcome. A more closely matched pairing you will be hard pressed to find this, or any
other year, in recent times. Call it a toss-up, call it pick-’em, call it 50’50 - you cannot call out a winner. Ask yourself, would you put your house on either guy definitely winning? So, what we have is a fight between two modern greats, in a fight that no-one knows who will win. If that’s not a good fight then what is? Sure, the fight may become a chess match, with more
than a boatload of defensive moves as opposed to thrillingly offensive ones, but the two boxers are great technicians and they can be a joy to watch. I do not think the action will be boring, certainly not to those among us who appreciate the sweet science side of the sport. But who will win?

A draw has to be given a great chance of occurring. It just may be, that after twelve cagey and skilfully subtle rounds, the three judges will be unable to see a winner. Let’s hope not. We all want to see a victor in a big fight, and hopefully we’ll get one in Las Vegas on July 21st. Though I’d never put any money on it, I go with the thirty-five year old Winky to triumph via an agonisingly close split decision verdict. “The Executioner” will no doubt be furious, but, at age forty-two, the loss will signal his likely retirement. After which he can look forward to his enshrinement at Canastota. One day Ronald “Winky” Wright will probably be joining him.

Above all, however, despite my predictions, I just look forward to seeing these potentially great fights on T.V. And not pay-T.V at that!

(Watch out for an upcoming interview Paul Williams gave to this writer late last week, soon to appear on East Side Boxing)

Article posted on 01.07.2007

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