There was a moment on Saturday night, right after Paul Williams crumpled to the mat, when even Sergio Martinez had yet to fully register what had taken place.
It reminded me of watching PiazzaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s post-9/11 homer floating past me in the upper deck at Shea. Watching the formerly feared Williams sprawl face-first on the mat, time slowed to a crawl as our minds furiously processed what we had seen. And as MartinezÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s jubilation took hold, everyone erupted, regardless of rooting interest.
A moment like that is a reminder that through all of the issues and nonsense boxing fans are privy to, it finds a way in the end to give us something to hold on to.
The fact that Manny PacquiaoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s whitewash of Antonio Margarito last Saturday drew anywhere between 1.25-1.4 million pay-per-view buys, depending on who you ask, is a testament to two things: the popularity of Pacquiao, and the effectiveness of the HBO 24/7 program.
TonightÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Paul Williams-Sergio Martinez rematch in Atlantic City, which I will be attending, has neither of those aspects in its favor. But while last weekÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s spectacle was valuable in that it showed that boxing could still be a major mainstream draw, the vibe for tonightÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s fight from fans and writers actually possesses more excitement.
Last weekÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s fight was for everyone. This oneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s for us.
With the fight game consumed by Pacquiao-Mayweather, Paul Williams and Sergio Martinez had a gem of a fight last week, showing that when the right two guys get in the ring, magic can happen.