Scorecard: Williams takes Margarito's title in welterweight upset

Paul Williams punished Antonio Margarito by taking the welterweight title in a highly anticipated matchup, while Arturo Gatti was unable to make a comeback against Alfonso Gomez, writes Dan Rafael.

Updated: July 16, 2007, 5:09 PM ET
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com


A roundup of last week's notable boxing results from around the world:

Saturday at Carson, Calif.
Welterweight
Paul Williams W12 Antonio Margarito
Wins a welterweight title.
Scores: 116-112, 115-113 (twice)
Records: Williams, 33-0, 24 KOs; Margarito, 34-5, 24 KOs
Rafael's remark: For years, Margarito carried the label of "the most avoided fighter in boxing." Williams, who called him out for the past year and finally got a crack at him as a mandatory challenger, probably will now take over that mantle. Who's going to want to fight a 6-foot-2, lanky southpaw with skills, speed, stamina, nonstop punching ability and solid power? He's going to be a nightmare for any welterweight in the world because he's damn good and it showed in his first fight against a top opponent.

While Williams, known as "The Punisher," delivered an outstanding performance in his coming-of-age fight, so did Margarito, who was making his eighth defense. It was a fight that showcased what is right about boxing: It was a quality match, exciting, competitive and fought on a high level in front of an enthusiastic crowd of more than 8,000 at the picturesque outdoor Home Depot Center. If we could bottle this kind of fight, boxing would be very healthy.

Williams, badly cut over his left eye late in the fight, won because he was simply more aggressive. He averaged more than 100 punches per round. Margarito, who averaged barely half of that, did block many of the punches and worked the body very well, but he gave away several early rounds before roaring back late, especially in the fantastic 10th round, when he had Williams in trouble.

While Williams, 25, will struggle to find a top opponent to fight him -- and there are so many great matches to be made in the welterweight division -- Margarito, 29, could still wind up with a marquee fight. He had a deal in place to fight titlist Miguel Cotto in the fall if he won. Despite the loss, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, who handles Cotto and Margarito, might still make the fight, which figures to be an exciting bout despite Margarito's defeat.

Super middleweight
Andre Ward TKO3 Francisco Diaz

Records: Ward, 13-0, 8 KOs; Diaz, 16-2, 8 KOs
Rafael's remark: After injuries limited him to just three fights last year -- not nearly enough for the 23-year-old 2004 U.S. Olympic gold medalist -- Ward finally is healthy and seems to be settling into a groove. He's already fought three times this year, including this win against Diaz, who entered the fight riding an 11-fight winning streak and was easily the best opponent of Ward's career. Ward knocked him down in the third with a right hand and the fight was called off when Diaz rose but was too unsteady to continue.

Heavyweight
Cristobal Arreola TKO1 Derek Berry

Records: Arreola, 21-0, 19 KOs; Berry, 12-9-1, 5 KOs
Rafael's remark: Arreola, one of the few American heavyweight prospects, needed a mere 57 seconds to dust the flabby Berry, who lost his fifth in a row, including four by knockout inside five rounds. Arreola is getting a lot of hype in some quarters, but he's yet to fight the sort of serious opponent he needs to in order to justify it. That said, Arreola is at least an exciting heavyweight who likes to mix it up. We'd like to see more of him against a better cut of opponent.

Saturday at Atlantic City, N.J.
Welterweight
Alfonso Gomez KO7 Arturo Gatti
Records: Gomez, 17-3-2, 8 KOs; Gatti, 40-9, 31 KOs
Rafael's remark: It was only fitting that Gatti, the ultimate blood and guts warrior, went down doing everything in his power to stay on his feet and mount one of the miracle comebacks that were a hallmark of his unforgettable career. But alas, it was not meant to be. At 35 and with numerous bloody battles in the rearview mirror, Gatti just had nothing left to keep the hungry 26-year-old former "Contender" star off of him. Gatti absorbed tremendous punishment in the one-sided fight, especially in the seventh round, when Gomez battered the former two-time titleholder around the ring until knocking him out with a brutal right hand to the face, thankfully the last punch Gatti will ever eat.

He was trained by one-time rival and now close friend Micky Ward for the first time, but it didn't make any difference. After the fight, Gatti's 21st appearance on HBO and the last one on his contract, the action legend and probable Hall of Famer thankfully announced his retirement on the heels of his third knockout loss in his last four fights. The legion of fans, who fell in love with him for his penchant for rock 'em, sock 'em brawls, don't want to see their hero beaten up anymore.

The fight with Gomez should have been stopped well before that last blow, but referee Randy Neumann was clueless. It's not the first time he has done a poor job. His work in last fall's Arthur Abraham-Edison Miranda fight, for example, was a travesty. This was another one. After Gomez landed at least 30 unanswered blows, don't you think the fight should have been stopped? Even after Gatti was on the floor from the right hand, Neumann had the audacity to count instead of calling it off immediately. Ultimately, Neumann was showed up by his own boss, New Jersey boxing commissioner Larry Hazzard, who jumped into the ring and stopped it on his own because Neumann was so oblivious of Gatti's condition. Ward didn't cover himself with glory, either. He should have thrown in the towel in the middle of the seventh-round bludgeoning.

The victory was the biggest of Gomez's career. He fights like Gatti used to, makes entertaining fights and is a humble, likable person. Hopefully, he can parlay the win into another big opportunity. HBO ought to get on the phone with his handlers and try to get him back on the network as soon as possible against the likes of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. or Paulie Malignaggi.

Welterweight
Kermit Cintron KO2 Walter Matthysse
Retains a welterweight title.
Records: Cintron, 28-1, 26 KOs; Matthysse, 26-2, 25 KOs
Rafael's remark: Cintron, who scored three knockdowns, was simply sensational in the first defense of the vacant belt he won last fall. His second-round destruction of Argentina's Matthysse -- who lasted into the 10th round and was competitive with Paul Williams last year -- is a knockout of the year candidate. You won't see a sweeter four-punch combination than the one that ended the fight and knocked Matthysse, 28, into another dimension. It was a flawless performance from Cintron, who was poised, calm, clinical and accurate with his punches, especially his destructive overhand right. Trainer Emanuel Steward has made a huge difference to Cintron, a tremendous puncher who appears more mature and better equipped to handle the spotlight than he was two years ago (before he was with Steward) when he was knocked out by Antonio Margarito. Cintron, 27, fits beautifully into the loaded welterweight division and there are going to be big fights in his future. He'd like to fight Shane Mosley, and if Mosley doesn't land a fight with Floyd Mayweather or Miguel Cotto, why not? Cintron and Mosley were supposed to fight in February, but Cintron withdrew because of serious issues with his former promoter. Now, Cintron is back with Main Events and ready for anyone.

Middleweight
Giovanni Lorenzo KO3 Sherwin Davis
Records: Lorenzo, 25-0, 17 KOs; Davis, 18-5, 12 KOs
Rafael's remark: We've ragged on Lorenzo for quite awhile about the pathetic nature of his opponents, and Davis was just another in a long line of foes with virtually no chance to win. Lorenzo had his way, scoring two knockdowns in the second round and another in the third. Davis getting knocked out was no surprise. It was his fourth straight KO loss and fifth KO loss in his last six bouts. Lorenzo, 26, is a talented prospect, but we don't know anything more about his ability today than we did a year ago because his opponents have been extremely weak. We're begging his management and promoter Main Events to put him in a competitive fight. After six years as a professional, it's time.

Bantamweight
Raul Martinez TKO5 Evaristo Primero

Records: Martinez, 19-0, 13 KOs; Primero, 14-11-1, 7 KOs
Rafael's remark: Martinez did an excellent job of breaking Primero down with body shots and won going away. He thrashed Primero in the fifth round by attacking him to the head and body, and when the round ended, Primero retired in the corner rather than returning to take more punishment. Martinez, a former U.S. national amateur champion, turned pro in 2004 and is coming along nicely. But he's 25, which is old for a bantamweight, and it's probably time for him and promoter Main Events to make a serious move.

Saturday at Biloxi, Miss.
Light heavyweight
Roy Jones Jr. W12 Anthony Hanshaw
Scores: 118-109, 117-110, 114-113
Records: Jones, 51-4, 38 KOs; Hanshaw, 21-1-1, 14 KOs
Rafael's remark: Jones, the former pound-for-pound king, had been off for a year, but looked good in winning his second fight in a row following three consecutive losses (two by scary knockout). At 38, Jones isn't what he was when he was an untouchable force, but he still has quick hands, ring smarts and the experience of being a former champion in four divisions. He dropped Hanshaw with quick combination in the 11th round.

Hanshaw, 29, showed heart to survive and made Jones work for the win in a fight that seemed more competitive than two of the scores indicated. Hanshaw, who moved up in weight for the opportunity, gained immeasurable experience and would be a tough out for most super middleweights and light heavyweights.

Next up for Jones could be a showdown with unretiring Felix Trinidad. It wouldn't be a championship fight, but would nonetheless be a popular matchup between superstars with big fan bases. What the heck? We'd like to see it, even though Jones, despite his declining form, probably would take the slower, smaller Trinidad (who would have to come up to at least super middleweight) to school.

Welterweight
Oscar Diaz No Contest 1 Juan Buendia

Records:Diaz, 25-2, 12 KOs; Buendia, 14-1-1, 8 KOs
Rafael's remark: The fight had barely begun when Diaz and Buendia collided heads and Diaz wound up with a terrible cut the length of his eyebrow. The fight was stopped and ruled a no contest because four rounds had not yet been completed. It's too bad. On paper, this looked like a decent little fight.

Junior lightweight
Derrick "Smoke" Gainer W10 Carlos Navarro
Scores: 96-92, 96-94 Gainer, 98-94 Navarro
Records:Gainer, 41-7-1, 24 KOs; Navarro, 27-6-1, 22 KOs
Rafael's remark: As the old saying goes, "Where there's 'Smoke,' there's Roy." It was like old times as Gainer, a 34-year-old former featherweight titlist, fought on a Roy Jones undercard. What a waste of time, though. Having Gainer on a card is like begging people not to buy the pay-per-view. He got the split decision against Navarro in a ho hum fight, but Navarro, 30, deserved the victory. Instead, he was saddled with his third loss in four fights. It was Gainer's first fight in 11 months and just his third since November 2003. The rust showed. Thankfully, we're done discussing this one -- forever.

Saturday at London
Featherweight
Steven Luevano KO11 Nicky Cook
Wins a vacant featherweight title.
Records: Luevano, 33-1, 15 KOs; Cook, 27-1, 15 KOs
Rafael's remark: This was a big win for Luevano, a 26-year-old southpaw from La Puente, Calif., who went to Cook's turf and won in emphatic fashion in his first title bout. He dropped the former European champion five times, the last time with a shot to the ribs, to win the belt vacated by Juan Manuel Marquez when he moved up to junior lightweight. Luevano, who turned pro in 2000, also scored a knockdown in the second round, two in the ninth and another in the 10th. Featherweight is not a deep division right now, but Luevano comes home with a title and an obvious potential unification match against the winner of the Sept. 15 fight between titlist Robert Guerrero and Rocky Juarez.

Lightweight
Amir Khan TKO8 Willie Limond
Wins Commonwealth lightweight title.
Records: Khan, 13-0, 10 KOs; Limond, 28-2, 8 KOs
Rafael's remark: Khan, the mega-prospect and 2004 British Olympic silver medalist, got his first serious test against his best opponent and survived a near knockout loss after suffering a hard knockdown from a three-punch combination in the sixth round. Khan was hurt, but rallied to score a knockdown in the seventh and take command of the exciting fight, which ended when Limond, who suffered a jaw injury, didn't come out for the ninth round.

Heavyweight
Matt Skelton W12 Michael Sprott
Retains Commonwealth heavyweight title.
Scores: 117-113, 115-114, 114-114
Records: Skelton, 21-1, 18 KOs; Sprott, 30-11, 15 KOs
Rafael's remark: The first time they met, Skelton, 40, knocked Sprott, 32, out in the 12th round in April 2004. Since then, Sprott has had his ups and downs, but he was coming off the biggest win of his career, a massive third-round knockout of 2000 British Olympic super heavyweight gold medalist Audley Harrison in February. It was a good enough victory to set up a rematch with Skelton, who was coming off a big win against Danny Williams in their rematch last summer. But after the way the fight went, maybe Skelton-Sprott II wasn't such a good idea. They are being skewered in the British media for putting on their imitation of a John Ruiz fight. They waltzed through a slow-paced match filled with excessive holding and grabbing instead of any real fighting. Promoter Frank Warren had promised the winner a world title shot before the end of the year (a reach, to be sure), but after their display, at least he'll have an excuse for not delivering: Fans and TV networks aren't interested in seeing either of them in a title bout after this agonizing display.

Saturday at Orillia, Ontario
Junior featherweight
Steve Molitor TKO9 Takalani Ndlovu
Retains a junior featherweight title.

Records: Molitor, 24-0, 10 KOs; Ndlovu, 27-4, 17 KOs
Rafael's remark:Rafael's remark: Molitor's first defense of his alphabet belt was a success as he outboxed South Africa's Ndlovu, 29, before stopping him with three knockdowns in the ninth round in front of a supportive crowd. Molitor, 27, a stylish southpaw from Toronto, is known more for his boxing skills than his power, but this was his fourth consecutive knockout. He was making the first defense of the vacant belt (vacant because the awful IBF stripped it from Israel Vazquez for opting to face fellow champion Oscar Larios in what was supposed to be a high-profile unification fight in December 2005) he won via fifth-round knockout in Michael Hunter's hometown in England in November. Ndlovu had won six in a row, including a ninth-round TKO against Ricardo Castillo (brother of former two-time lightweight champion Jose Luis Castillo) in a December elimination bout.

Saturday at Hamburg, Germany
Heavyweight
Tony Thompson TKO5 Luan Krasniqi
Title eliminator.
Records: Thompson, 30-1, 18 KOs; Krasniqi, 30-3-1, 14 KOs
Rafael's remark: It's been a long road for the underrated Thompson, 35, a 6-foot-5 southpaw with skills and some pop. That makes him a nightmare for anyone, which is why he's never gotten a big opportunity. He will now because the biggest victory of his career, which came in Krasniqi's home country, makes Thompson the mandatory challenger for titlist Sultan Ibragimov. Ibragimov is scheduled for a unification fight with Ruslan Chagaev in October, meaning Thompson could wind up getting a crack at two of the belts on the same night next year. Thompson took over in the fourth and fifth rounds and was hitting Krasniqi with a steady diet of jabs when the fight was suddenly stopped with 21 seconds left in the fifth, although it looked like a quick hook. Although lethargic, Krasniqi was not in any real trouble when referee Mark Nelson stepped in. Krasniqi, 36, had won two fights in a row against Americans David Bostice and Brian Minto since he was stopped in the ninth round by then-titlist Lamon Brewster in an exciting fight in September 2005.

Saturday at Dublin
Middleweight
John Duddy TKO10 Alessio Furlan
Records:Duddy, 21-0, 16 KOs; Furlan, 19-9-5, 8 KOs.
Rafael's remark: Duddy, an exciting prospect, is from Ireland but has fought his entire pro career in the United States, where he has developed a large fan base in New York City. Duddy, 28, however, longed to return home, which he did in this fight dubbed "The Homecoming," which was televised via pay-per-view in the U.S. It was a good performance from Duddy, who knocked Furlan, of Italy, down in the first round but was unable to finish him. Although Duddy was cut over his left eye, he continued to land hard shots throughout the bout, but Furlan displayed an iron will until the 10th round. That's when Duddy scored two more knockdowns and the fight was stopped with just 16 seconds left.

Saturday at New Town, N.D.
Cruiserweight
Vassiliy Jirov TKO2 Ken Craven
Records: Jirov, 37-3-1, 31 KOs; Craven, 28-19, 23 KOs
Rafael's remark: Jirov, 33, a former cruiserweight world champion and 1996 Olympic gold medalist, had no luck as a heavyweight and is now back at the weight where he should have stayed. In knocking out journeyman Craven, Jirov moved to 4-0-1 since being stopped by former heavyweight champ Michael Moorer in the ninth round of a 2004 fight Jirov had dominated. Jirov, fighting for the first time in 15 months, is taking it pretty easy on the comeback trail by facing lesser opponents such as Craven, 36, who lost his third fight in four starts with each loss coming via knockout inside two rounds. Jirov dropped Craven twice with body shots in the second round before the fight was stopped with Craven taking a beating along the ropes. The victory could propel Jirov into a fight with titlist Virgil Hill.

Friday at Tulsa, Okla.
Super middleweight
Allan Green TKO1 Darrell Woods
Records: Green, 24-1, 17 KOs; Woods, 26-11, 18 KOs
Rafael's remark: Big things were expected from Green when he dropped down to middleweight for a major HBO fight against Edison Miranda in March. Green, however, was a big disappointment. Even though he dropped Miranda in the eighth round, Miranda knocked him down twice in the 10th and won a clear decision. What Green didn't disclose was that he had a severe medical problem with his colon going into the fight and almost pulled out a few days before the match. His colon is still giving him problems, but Green returned to the ring anyway in the "Friday Night Fights" main event and was sensational in front of his hometown fans against Woods, who had won four in a row and was coming off an upset win against Samuel Miller in March. Woods, however, was no match for Green, who dropped him in the first 30 seconds and teed off on him for another minute until referee Gerald Ritter had no choice but to stop the massacre. Green wasn't 100 percent against Woods, so imagine what he would look like at full strength. If he can get his medical situation ironed out, he can still be a force at 168 pounds. He's supposed to face Peter Manfredo on an ESPN "Contender" special in October, but we have a funny feeling that the Manfredo people will wriggle out of it after this devastating display.

Friday at Durango, Mexico
Junior bantamweight
Cristian Mijares TKO10 Teppei Kikui
Retains a junior bantamweight title.
Records: Mijares, 32-3-2, 13 KOs; Kikui, 21-6, 4 KOs
Rafael's remark: In the headliner on a Dish Network pay-per-view card, Mijares returned home to defend his title in front of about 10,000 people against Kikui, a hand-picked opponent from Japan. Mijares was returning in short order after his April 14 upset domination of Mexican countryman Jorge Arce on the Manny Pacquiao-Jorge Solis undercard. Mijares dominated Kikui, who had no business being in a title fight after losing his previous bout in Japan in February. Mijares, a southpaw, has quietly emerged as one of Mexico's best fighters in recent years, going 21-0-1 since July 2002.

Strawweight
Lorenzo Trejo KO6 Eric Ramirez
Title eliminator.
Records: Trejo, 30-15, 17 KOs; Ramirez, 20-5-1, 15 KOs
Rafael's remark: Trejo pulled off the minor upset, recovering from a knockdown in the first round to drop Ramirez in the fifth round and finish him with a right hand in the sixth. The victory makes Trejo the mandatory challenger for the 105-pound title held by Eagle Kyowa, a Thailand native based in Japan.

Featherweight
Gamaliel Diaz W10 Elio Rojas
Title eliminator.
Scores: 95-92, 94-93 Diaz, 94-93 Rojas
Records: Diaz, 22-6-2, 9 KOs; Rojas, 19-1, 13 KOs
Rafael's remark: Diaz, 26, is the master of close fights lately. He's won three of his last four and each victory has been a split decision. One came against Robert Guerrero, who went on to win a featherweight belt, and now this one against Rojas, 24, one of promoter Don King's top prospects. The Rojas camp is disputing the decision, but it's always going to be tough for a fighter to win in his opponent's home country. Rojas was penalized two points for hitting behind the head in the ninth round. Diaz also lost a point in the ninth for holding. The victory puts Diaz in line to eventually fight for a title against either beltholder Injin Chi or the winner of the Oscar Larios-Jorge Linares interim title match.

Friday at Chicago
Junior lightweight
Francisco Lorenzo W10 Baudel Cardenas
Scores: 99-91, 97-93 (twice)
Records: Lorenzo, 29-4, 14 KOs; Cardenas, 17-9-2, 6 KOs
Rafael's remark: In an unremarkable Telefutura main event, Lorenzo, 35, pounded out an easy decision against journeyman Cardenas, who is 3-6 in his last nine and little more than an opponent at this point.

Wednesday at Hollywood, Calif.
Junior middleweight
Joel "Love Child" Julio TKO8 Cornelius "K9" Bundrage
Records: Julio, 32-1, 30 KOs; Bundrage, 26-3, 15 KOs
Rafael's remark: Ahhh, the Love Child. ESPN.com's 2005 prospect of the year notched an impressive victory, twice dropping Bundrage, a star of the second season of "The Contender," before the "Wednesday Night Fights" main event was mercifully stopped. Julio, 22, of Colombia, simply had too much firepower for Bundrage, 34. Although Bundrage took the fight on three weeks' notice after Archak TerMeliksetian withdrew, it's like ESPN analyst Teddy Atlas said at ringside: Bundrage could have had three years to prepare for the fight and the outcome would have been the same. Julio came close to a knockout in the third round, badly hurting him with a right hand and dropping him a few seconds later. In the eighth, Julio dropped him with another right and the fight was stopped after he snapped Bundrage's head back with two more blows during the follow-up onslaught. Julio has won five in a row (four by knockout) since losing a decision to Carlos Quintana in July 2006 in an upset. But the Love Child looks like he's recovered and ready for another test.

Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.