This was arguably fight of the year. It matched the competitiveness and excitement level of Frampton-Santa Cruz but exceeded it in terms of skill level owing to Santa Cruz’s decision to brawl. This was boxer-puncher versus boxer-puncher. Williams proved on the night that he was always quicker to the punch and accurate, but the very live Charlo had exquisite timing and was a live counter-puncher, with power, to compensate for his comparative lack of speed.
Charlo announced the presence of his right hand early, missing by inches, but it appeared deadly nonetheless. Thirty seconds in, the quicker Williams landed a right hand but was quickly returned with a left hook from Charlo. Williams seemed to be covering ground to land on Charlo and Charlo, using his size, would land the last punch during an exchange as Williams pulled back out.
In the most profound statement of Charlo’s power and size advantage, Williams got knocked down as both men traded jabs at about the 1:50 mark. It seemed as the two men were in different weight classes. Williams’ most noteworthy work was a counter left hand landed with fifty seconds left, followed by a right hand moments later that rocked Charlo enough that he froze into a semi-squat position.
Williams opened the round relying on his speed to land straight punches, jabs and right hands. In another demonstration of the power of Charlo, at one point in the round he threw a left hook that was completely blocked by Williams but had enough power to back up Williams several steps nonetheless. In any case, this was a solid round for Williams.
In the first minute, the trunk movement of Williams caused Charlo to miss with multiple right and left hooks in succession. This was another good round for Williams on clean punching. His speed caused him to land first on Charlo, while Charlo was late with straight right hands that went past the target.
Williams landed a very clean one-two combination at fifty seconds in. With approximately 1:10 left in the round, Williams threw a jab followed by a right hand. Williams had really leaned in to land the right hand and appeared to pause momentarily in that position before initiating a left hook to finish the combination. Still extended and transitioning into a hook, Charlo countered Williams with a right uppercut, as a rolling counter to Williams’ right hand, which dropped Williams face down to the canvas. Williams was able to get up on shaky legs. Charlo finished him off with a flurry while Williams attempted to use a high guard to shield himself. Williams was still hurt and went down again from a left hand from Charlo that was actually blocked. The referee waved off the fight at that point without attempting to count at 2:06 into the round.
Williams was going to have to walk a tightrope to win the decision. He was going to land punches because of his greater speed. People criticized Floyd Mayweather for throwing one punch at a time, but here Williams was knocked out precisely because throwing two to three punches gave the slightly slower Charlo enough time to counter. Had Williams only thrown the jab or the right hand – but not both - before moving away, Charlo would have been late and missed his counter. Charlo countered the right hand of Williams because he telegraphed it by preceding it with a jab.