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|If Sergio Martinez could get this excited about dropping pounds, he'd be closer to his target weight.|
When middleweight champ Sergio Martinez and Paul Williams stepped on the scale recently for the 30-day weight check in advance of their much-anticipated rematch Nov. 20 (HBO) at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J., some people may have done a double take.
With a month to go, Williams was almost on weight. The man who says he would prefer to fight at welterweight was 162 pounds at his training camp in Washington, D.C. Making the contract weight of 158 should be no problem. Despite some confusion and initial comments from the promoters that the maximum weight was 157 pounds, it is 158, promoters Lou DiBella and Dan Goossen said.
Martinez (45-2-2, 24 KOs) lost a debatable majority decision to Williams (39-1, 27 KOs) in December in a nontitle fight that was one of the most thrilling bouts of the year. He went on to win the 160-pound world championship against Kelly Pavlik in April in the same ring in which he will face Williams, whose handlers insisted on the 158-pound limit.
Martinez said "No problem" and accepted the catch weight.
"I never made a big deal out of this weight," Martinez said this week. "They're the ones who brought up the 158. The fight should be at 160. To me, 157, 158, 159, 160 -- I'll make the weight. I just wanted to fight him again."
But he surprised many when he weighed 176 pounds during his prefight weight check late last week at his training camp in Oxnard, Calif.
That's 18 pounds to go before the Nov. 19 weigh-in.
"Dropping weight has never been an issue for me. It hasn't been hard," said Martinez, adding that as of Wednesday he was down to 169. "It's more difficult to get in the ring and battle against Paul Williams or Kelly Pavlik. Cutting weight, that's easy.
"My weight loss won't slow me down. On the contrary, I gain speed. The speed will bring more of the element of surprise. With more surprise brings more potential and ability. I'll be stronger than my last fight against Williams and Kelly Pavlik."
Nobody in Martinez's camp seemed concerned either.
Adviser Sampson Lewkowicz said Martinez did the weight check after eating lunch and while wearing clothes, figuring that added at least three or four pounds.
"There is nothing abnormal and nothing to worry about," Lewkowicz said. "We signed a contract based on the request of Williams to be 158 at the most and we will not be an ounce over."
Said DiBella: "He used to weigh that much before the fight when he was at a junior middleweight, so no issue. He's going to be the bigger stronger man in that ring. He's a pro. He has a system and it doesn't involve losing 10 pounds in a week and doing it in a stupid way. He'll lose approximately four pounds a week, which is what he needs to do."
Williams said he was not concerned about Martinez's weight either.
"I don't see Sergio's weight making a difference," Williams said. "He's been doing this his entire career and he has been prevailing and performing. If he weighed in at 176 then he must have started the camp weighing 200 pounds. Ultimately what matters is that he comes in at  at the official weigh-in."
• So what happens if there is a draw or a no-contest in the semifinals of Showtime's four-man bantamweight tournament, which begins Dec. 18 in Leon, Mexico, with Vic Darchinyan facing Abner Mares and Yonnhy Perez defending his title in a rematch against Joseph Agbeko? According to Showtime spokesman Chris DeBlasio, the fighter to advance would be up to the network. "Each man gets two fights regardless," DeBlasio said. "Showtime would work with all parties in the tournament, and ultimately pick the fighter who would face the winner of the other bout." The semifinal winners are due to meet in 2011 with the semifinal losers also due to meet in a third-place bout.
• Golden Boy has added several prospects to its Nov. 27 card at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. HBO will carry the top three fights -- lightweight champ Juan Manuel Marquez against Michael Katsidis, welterweight titlist Andre Berto against Freddy Hernandez and Celestino Caballero moving up to junior lightweight to face Jason Litzau -- but several of the company's top prospects are also on the card (all against opponents to be determined): junior middleweight Erislandy Lara (13-0, 8 KOs), junior middleweight Keith Thurman (14-0, 13 KOs), middleweight Bastie Samir (5-0, 5 KOs) and junior welterweight Michael Finney (5-0, 5 KOs).
• Junior middleweight contender Vanes Martirosyan is back on Top Rank's Dec. 4 pay-per-view card in Anaheim, Calif., but not slated to be part of the broadcast headlined by middleweight Julio Cesar Chavez against Alfonso Gomez. One of the fights under consideration for the pay-per-view was Martirosyan against Pawel Wolak but it did not make the cut for the pay-per-view. So Top Rank was planning on having Martirosyan headline a "Top Rank Live" card on Fox Deportes on Dec. 18, but Fernando Beltran, Top Rank's Mexican partner on the series, is going to do the show that night from Mexico. So Martirosyan (28-0, 17 KOs) has been moved to the Dec. 4 undercard in an eight-rounder against an opponent to be determined.
• Former super middleweight titlist Jeff Lacy (25-3, 17 KOs), out of action since Roy Jones Jr. stopped him in the 10th round of an August 2009 light heavyweight bout, is scheduled to return to the ring Dec. 11 against journeyman Dhafir Smith (23-19-7, 4 KOs). Lacy, 33, who is moving back down to super middleweight, where he held a belt from 2004 until being routed by Joe Calzaghe in a 2006 unification fight, will fight the scheduled 12-rounder in his hometown of St. Petersburg, Fla. Although Lacy has fought in nearby Tampa, it will be his first pro fight in St. Petersburg. Lacy said he was hampered by a left shoulder injury in the Jones fight and after therapy, it is healthy again.
• Former welterweight champ Carlos Baldomir of Argentina will be rooting for countryman Lucas Matthysse (27-0, 25 KOs) when he faces Zab Judah (39-6, 27 KOs) on Nov. 6 (HBO, 11:15 p.m. ET/PT) in Newark, N.J., in a junior welterweight elimination bout. Baldomir, of course, upset Judah to win the undisputed welterweight championship in 2006 and believes Matthysse can pull another upset. "Lucas is stronger than me and has the power to hurt Zab at any point during the fight," Baldomir said. "I think he will eventually knock him out if he takes control of fight from the first round. He has the power and heart to be victorious on Nov. 6." Matthysse, 27, is training for the fight in Oxnard, Calif., and sparring for the fight against southpaw Judah against one of the best left-handers in the world, middleweight champ Sergio Martinez, who is getting ready for his defense Nov. 20 against Paul Williams in their rematch. "I'm coming to win," Matthysse said. "I'm very motivated for this fight and have worked extremely hard in camp. I want to bring the victory back to my country."
• Junior lightweight contender Argenis Mendez (17-1, 9 KOs), a native of the Dominican Republic based in New York, will meet former junior lightweight titlist Cassius Baloyi (37-5-1, 19 KOs) in a title eliminator in Baloyi's native South Africa, promoter Lou DiBella, who promotes Mendez, told ESPN.com. The fight will take place at a date to be determined in January with the winner becoming the mandatory challenger for titlist Mzonke Fana, who avenged a loss to Baloyi with a decision win to claim the vacant belt Sept. 1. DiBella said he and Baloyi promoter Branco Milenkovic made a deal to avoid a purse bid, but the date is not set because Milenkovic is waiting to get the schedule from the television network he works with in South Africa. "I think it's a good fight for Mendez and even though we'd prefer to have the fight in the United States, it's a fight he can win there," said DiBella, who owns the San Francisco Giants' Double-A farm team, the Richmond Flying Squirrels, and has been a guest of the big team this week at the World Series.
• Former two-time junior flyweight titlist Brian Viloria (27-3, 15 KOs) of Hawaii continues his comeback at flyweight when he fights in the Philippines on Nov. 5 against Thailand's Liempetch Sor Veerapol (19-7-1, 12 KOs). Viloria lost his belt to Carlos Tamara via 12th-round knockout in January and rebounded with a decision win against Omar Soto in July. Viloria is at flyweight to stay, manager Gary Gittelsohn told ESPN.com. "After years of straining to make 108, Brian is now campaigning as a flyweight," he said. "Brian has renewed confidence at this more comfortable weight and he has looked spectacular during this training camp. If Brian performs as well as we expect against Sor Veerapol, we will look to put Brian in a world championship flyweight bout in or around the first quarter of 2011."
• Paul Spadafora (44-0-1, 18 KOs), who held a lightweight belt from 1999 to 20003 before giving it up to move up in weight, has an opponent for his Nov. 20 bout at the Mohegan Sun resort in Uncasville, Conn. Spadafora will face Argentina's Diego Jesus Ponce (19-5-3, 3 KOs), who will be making his American debut. He's 8-1-1 in his last 10 bouts and has won his three bouts of 2010. Featherweight prospect Matt Remillard (22-0, 13 KOs), whose handlers turned down a Nov. 27 HBO fight against Celestino Caballero, is also on the card in a 10-rounder against an opponent to be named.
"I lost a fight, big whoopee. I will say over and over, it is what it is. Great fighters lose fights. It is how you bounce back, and I didn't lose any confidence. I know what happened in the fight and know what I need to do from now on and it is a learning experience." -- former middleweight champ Kelly Pavlik, on losing his title to Sergio Martinez in April and his comeback fight against Brian Vera, scheduled for Nov. 13 (HBO PPV) on the Manny Pacquiao-Antonio Margarito undercard.
"I'm going to send him back to Norway nursing a couple of black eyes, busted ribs and some unhappy memories." -- junior lightweight titlist Ricky Burns, on Andreas Evensen, whom he defends against Dec. 4 in Glasgow, Scotland.