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November Boxing: After Manny Pacquiao Vs Antonio Margarito Settles Down

By Stuart Gracey

November 20th: Sergio Martinez vs. Paul Williams II

On November 20th, a rematch will take place between Paul “The Punisher” Williams and Sergio Martinez at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.

This is probably the fight that hardcore boxing fans are salivating over more than any other this month, as middleweight champion Martinez looks to avenge a loss last December to Williams.

That fight was a shock “Fight of the Year” candidate. It came about because Kelly Pavlik dropped out of a set date with Williams for a second time, and HBO decided to get Martinez as a fill-in. The two were expected to engage in a tactical, southpaw-southpaw battle, but instead lit up Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City with a knockdown, drag-out brawl that left Williams the woozy winner after 12 gruelling rounds.

This was a controversial decision as Williams landed more shots in the fight, but Martinez landed the cleaner punches throughout. Both fighters will be eager to clear up the debate over who is the better fighter between them.

Williams, 39-1, 27 KO’s, will have to look a lot better than he did in his last fight, that’s for sure. He appeared to struggle a little and also got caught a few times, in his disappointing 4-round TD win over Kermit Cintron in May.

Williams looked a little sloppy, with his timing not all it could be. Then, of course, we had Cintron’s “dive” from the ring, ending the fight just as it was warming up. Both men claim they would have gone on to get a KO win, but we will never know. Williams had better be in tip-top shape so as to be able to go 12 hard rounds in November.

Argentina’s Sergio Martinez became a two-weight world champion after stepping up to middleweight to take Kelly Pavlik’s WBO and WBC titles by unanimous decision in Atlantic City earlier this year.

The southpaw stepped up to 160 pounds at the Boardwalk Hall and survived a seventh-round knockdown to hand a badly cut Pavlik his first defeat at middleweight.
Martinez, 35, commanded the ring over the early rounds only for 28-year-old American to dominate the middle of the contest, sending his off-balance challenger to the canvas in round seven. But Martinez came back, throwing more punches against a slowing Pavlik and cutting the champion around both eyes to score heavily in the closing rounds.

Martinez, 45-2-2, 24 KO’s, got the verdict with scores of 115‑112, 115‑111 and 116‑111 as Pavlik was sent to just the second defeat of his career, having lost at light heavyweight in October of 2008 to Bernard Hopkins.

It is quite lucky in a way that we are being treated to this rematch as Martinez had been hoping that either Floyd Mayweather, JR., or Manny Pacquiao would step up to the plate and agree to fight him. However, neither of them has shown any interest in taking on skillful Martinez. As such, Martinez will have to settle for fighting Williams again.

Williams had been talking about moving down in weight to the welterweight division in hopes of getting a big money fight against guys like Mayweather, Pacquiao, Andre Berto or Miguel Cotto.

However, it’s highly unlikely that any of those fighters will willingly agree to fight the tall 6’1” Williams unless they absolutely have to as he is not seen as a big PPV attraction.

This fight against Martinez will draw a lot of attention and may be the perfect platform for both fighters to try and elevate themselves onto the big stage and get those big money fights they have been searching for.

November 27th: Carl Froch vs. Arthur Abraham

On November 27th Carl “The Cobra” Froch will take on “King” Arthur Abraham in the Hartwall Areena in Helsinki, which seats 14,000 people and is known for its passionate Finnish sports fans for the WBC Super Middleweight Title.

The fight had to be postponed prior to this date as Froch was forced to pull out with a back injury would force him to sit out training for four weeks.

This fight will be all or nothing for both fighters, who both need a victory to guarantee their spot in the Super Six semi-finals. Abraham started the tournament with a wonderful KO victory over Jermain Taylor before a controversial disqualification loss to Andre Dirrell in Detroit.

Dirrell slipped in the 11th round as he took a glancing blow to the chin from Abraham who then struck his opponent while he was kneeling on the canvas. The foul resulted in Abraham’s first loss in 31 professional bouts, although Dirrell was winning on points before the incident anyway.

Dirrell’s quick hands saw him gain a lead early on, and he floored Abraham in the fourth with a good right hand. Abraham rose to take a standing eight count, and he was in trouble again three rounds later when Dirrell opened a cut by his right eye.

Abraham appeared to knock down Dirrell with a straight right in the 10th, but referee Laurence Cole ruled it was a slip. When Abraham was disqualified in the 11th, Dirrell was ahead with all three judges – 97-92, 98-91, and 97-92.

The Cobra had defended his WBC Super-Middleweight title against Dirrell in the tournament’s first fight but then suffered the first loss of his career in April 2010 when Danish hero Mikkel Kessler clinched a point’s victory in Denmark. This is a fight which Froch still claims he won.

The 32-year-old made a bright start to the fight and appeared to floor Kessler in the fifth but it was ruled a slip by the referee. From then on the Dane came back into the fight and rocked Froch in the eighth round before a thrilling climax which saw both fighters stand and trade punches toe to toe. All three judges gave Kessler the decision, scoring the fight 117-111, 115-113, 116-112.

Neither of these fighters come roaring out the gates, but Abraham is the slower starter of the two. That doesn’t bode well for King Arthur because if he loses the first half of this fight, he’ll be in a tricky position to turn the fight around against someone who finishes as strong as he does. Jermain Taylor, and to a certain extent Andre Dirrell, got tired and sloppy towards the end of their fights, something that ‘The Cobra’ wont do.

To give himself a solid chance though, Abraham will have to at least do damage in the early going, even if he’s dropping rounds in the process. He will have to take chances by opeing up and trying to hurt Froch in the early going.

Needless to say Arthur has several highlight reel knockouts in his resume, so we know he is capable and we also seen that Froch was hurt by Taylor and Dirrell so it may not be impossible for King Arthur to impose himself early on in this bout. To his credit though, Froch recovered quickly in both instances. So what happens when Abe catches him with his head up and hands down will be very interesting indeed.

Catching The Cobra may be more difficult than previously thought though. While Pascal and Taylor landed several flush punches, Kessler had trouble connecting with damaging blows. This shows to me that Froch has been working on his footwork, movement, and overall defence as of late.

This fight will make for an intriguing battle and I see Carl “The Cobra” Froch coming out on top in this one.

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