Big Stakes for Two Fighters

By Nat Gottlieb

Of the two, Williams’ fall from grace was far more dramatic. One second he was the aggressor and building up points, the next he was out cold on his back, the victim of a Sergio Martinez left hook to the head that he never saw coming.

Lara, a Cuban defector and 2005 amateur world champion, was steamrolling his way to the top, having beaten all 15 of his opponents, including the last four by first round knockouts. Then he took on rugged Mexican fighter, John Molina, whom he was supposed to beat, but narrowly escaped with a draw. What was most surprising was the lackluster effort by the normally aggressive Cuban, who seemed content for long stretches to let his opponent dictate the pace. When both fighters’ arms were raised at the end, suddenly Lara didn’t look like the sure bet to be world champion so many predicted he’d be.

Read the rest of the Paul Williams vs. Erislandy Lara Fight Overview on HBO.com.