So Much For The Official Explanation About Why Williams-Margarito II Isn’t Happening

Antonio Margarito’s promoter, Bob Arum, explained two months ago to ESPN‘s Dan Rafael why there would be no rematch between Margarito and the only other man who can make a legitimate claim to supremacy in one of boxing’s best divisions, welterweight (147 lbs). The problem, he said, was not Paul Williams’ promoter Dan Goosen but his manager Al Haymon, whom Arum had complained had screwed him over when Arum was trying to match Williams up with another fighter under his Top Rank promotional banner, Kelly Pavlik (160 lbs.):

“We at Top Rank are not doing business with those people with the way they f—ed me around on the Pavlik fight,” Arum told me this week. “To string me along for two weeks and make a schmuck out of me, I have no desire to do business with them. They can paint it any way they want. And just so you know, I’m not talking about the puppet [Goossen]. I’m talking about the puppeteer [Haymon]. If you don’t want to do a fight, just say it. You don’t string a guy along to f— him up and f— up his fighter. I almost lost a date for Pavlik because of those people. It has nothing to do with the fact that [Williams] beat Margarito. Frankly, I think Dan was as taken aback by the conduct as I was.”

So there’s no possible way that Williams would be considered for a fight with another Top Rank welterweight, Joshua Clottey, right? I turn to‘s David Avila in a piece this week for the answer to that:

Arum said that plans are underway to negotiate a match between IBF titleholder Clottey and another feared boxer, WBO titleholder Paul Williams, in a unification contest.

Huh. Isn’t that interesting. So let’s say Top Rank has suddenly buried the hatchet with Williams’ management crew. Is there some other reason Margarito-Williams II isn’t happening? Maybe it’s a money thing? Again, I turn to Dan Rafael, from September:

Margarito can’t complain that Williams, who beat Margarito in a close and entertaining fight in the summer of ’07, doesn’t bring a lot of money to the table either since last time I checked, Williams’ promoter, Dan Goossen, offered Margarito and promoter Bob Arum a $4 million guarantee against a 50 percent share of the revenue. That would be, by far, Margarito’s career-best payday. He didn’t make near $4 million to fight Miguel Cotto in July, even with what he might have earned on his pay-per-view upside.

Maybe Margarito-Cotto II makes more money than that next summer. I don’t know. Maybe there’s another motive we don’t know about, like a realization by Arum that Williams is the toughest fight out there for Margarito. But as gladly as I would watch Williams-Clottey and Margarito-Cotto II, neither makes my list of one of the five most important fights in boxing that isn’t happening. I guess we file this one under Arum’s most famous quote: “Yesterday I was lying, today I’m telling the truth.”

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board ( He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.