When Paul Williams came to ring blasting McFadden
and Whiteheads Aint No Stoppin Us Now on February 9, 2008, he was all
smiles. He was the reigning WBO Champion, and being given a showcase fight live
Experts had been touting Williams as the man to
possibly dethrone Floyd Mayweather since Pauls gutsy decision win against
In fact, minutes before the bout HBO commentator
Max Kellerman went as far to say Williams likely presents the greatest threat
Indeed, hindsight is 20/20. With surprising
efficiency, Carlos Quintana outboxed and outmuscled the 61 Williams to a clear
unanimous decision win. The shock in this bout was the sheer ease in which
Quintana outclassed Williams. The difference in hand speed was glaring, as
Quintana easily countered and outpunched Williams on the outside and
occasionally in the trenches.
Pauls weakness has always been that he never
fights tall, since he consistently compromises his height by leaning in when
he throws. This proved disastrous as Williams smothered most of his inside
work, and was not once able to hurt Quintana.
Fast forward three months, and Paul Williams now
returns to the ring in the role of challenger and underdog. This rematch has
serious ramifications for Williams, who now has lost much of the hype and
luster that surrounded his career before the first fight. In a time with
limited TV dates, back to back losses would make The Punisher an afterthought
in a division full of stars and solid fighters. A good win allows Williams to
justify the Quintana loss as an anomaly, and possibly put him in contention to face
big name fighters like Shane Mosley later this year.
Carlos Quintana has had an interesting last two
years. After ending the hype around promising prospect Joel Julio in June 2006,
Quintana was summarily executed in five brutal rounds by Miguel Cotto in
December of that year. Many dismissed Quintana as a viable contender after that
bout, and his one quiet comeback bout in September 2007 did little to convince
pundits that he had much of a chance against the previously undefeated Paul
Williams. Now only two fights after the crushing Cotto defeat, Quintana is a
For Paul Williams to reverse Februarys decision,
hell have to punch with authority to gain Quintanas respect early on. In the
middle rounds of the first fight, Williams found success when he threw hard
jabs from the outside. These shots kept Quintana off balance and prevented the
overhand left hook counters that rained down on Williams in the earlier rounds.
Knowing when to mix in hard shots with light volume punching will make Quintana
think twice of rushing in to bully and counterpunch.
Also, Williams must do what he has rarely done in
over 30 fights, and thats fight tall. Leaning forward when he throws will
only lead to more jarring counterpunches from his opponent. By using his
height, itll make Quintanas job much more difficult and force the champion to
take more risks and give Williams his own desired openings.
For Quintana, the new champ should continue the
game plan from the last fight. Quintanas best weapons in the first bout were
his use of feints and lateral movement. Williams normally high punch output
was destroyed since he could not get set to throw against such an elusive
target. Quintanas feints allowed him to set up embarrassing lead right and
left hook counters on the befuddled Williams. One minor adjustment for Quintana is that he
should remember to keep his hands moving on the inside.
On my card, Williams was able to take rounds 5-8
of the first fight due to outworking Quintana on the inside. If Quintana
remembers to not allow the larger Williams to lean on him and keeps his shots
compact, he can have the edge on the inside this time around.
While Paul Williams will undoubtedly fight much
better, this fight is Carlos Quintanas to lose. The Puerto Rican slickster
holds the stylistic advantage of having faster hands, better movement/defense,
and a stronger punch. These skills should still decrease much of Williamss
volume punching, and give Quintana a clear edge in clean punching. My
prediction is Carlos Quintana by a hard-fought split decision with Paul
Williams a very live underdog.
Mora Steps into The Vipers Nest
After years of career idleness, Contender alum
Sergio Mora steps up to the big leagues this Saturday against WBC 154lb
champion Vernon The Viper Forrest.
The bout marks Moras first high profile bout since
defeating rival Peter Manfredo, Jr. in 2005. Mora is well known for
inexplicably turning down two fights against Jermain Taylor and Kassim Ouma in
2007. In his last two bouts against trial horses Elvin Ayala and Rito
Ruvalcabab, the Latin Snake has been sloppy and lacked timing due to his
infrequent time spent in the ring.
Vernon Forrest is coming off dominant wins in 2007
against Carlos Baldomir and Michele Piccirillo. The former welterweight champ
has been in a foul mood at press conferences, likely feeling at this stage in
his career he should have more lucrative bouts. Hes vowed to take his aggression
out on Mora and leave him on a stretcher.
Obviously, this is a huge jump in class for Mora.
Vernon Forrest if a former undisputed welterweight champion who holds wins over
Shane Mosley (2X) and Ike Quartey (albeit controversial). Hes a 16-year
veteran whos seen every possible style in the ring, and was avoided by many
welters in the early 2000s because of his stiff jab and powerful right hand. And
in the last year Forrest has regained his form and power that appeared lost
following multiple shoulder surgeries since 2003.
While Mora will be motivated to erase the
Contender tag on his career, Forrest has way too much skill for the Latin Snake
to overcome. Forrest has not shown his age in his last fights, and Mora likely
wont have the strength and stamina to pressure Forrest at 154lbs since he
normally competes at middleweight. Unless Vernon Forrest gets old overnight,
expect the Viper to deal Sergio Mora a TKO loss by the 9th round.
Pavlik Returns in HBO Showcase Bout
Undefeated middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik
returns to the ring this Saturday against the UKs Gary Lockett.
An unknown in the States, Lockett is being seen as
a warm-up for Pavlik to prepare for a possible showdown against current
light-heavyweight champion Joe Calzaghe. That fight began to build steam after
Calzaghes first option, Roy Jones, fell through due to Joness high purse
demands. Also Pavliks first option, John Duddy, was nixed after the popular
Irishman delivered a subpar performance in his last bout against Walid Smichet
Locket is an aggressive come forward fighter who
is prone to getting hook happy at times. This should be an excellent style for
Pavlik, wholl connect first due to his straighter punches. Look for Pavlik to
end this bout by the middle rounds with little trouble from the gutsy but
Punchers Daniel Ponce de Leon and Juan Manuel Lopez Battle
In the sleeper fight for this weekend, WBO
champion Daniel Ponce de Leon faces Juan Manuel Lopez. Both fighters hit very
hard, and have a combined 49 KOs in the 56 fights between them.
Lopezs best strategy would be to use his superior
technique to outbox the naturally stronger Ponce de Leon, wholl seek to walk
the younger fighter down and brawl. The keys to victory can be seen in Ponce de
Leons lone loss to Celestino Caballero, who out boxed the Mexican slugger
behind straight punches in between Daniels looping shots. However, it remains
to be seen if Lopez will do this and not rely solely on his power, which has
carried him well against lesser opposition.
This is essentially a pick em fight with a slight
edge going to Ponce de Leon due to his experience. Even so, Im picking Juan
Manuel Lopez to use his boxing skills and pull off the upset win.
II Confirmed for July 16
Former top heavyweight contenders James Toney and
Hasim Rahman have come to terms for a rematch on July 16. Currently promoters
for both men are working to secure a TV date.
James Toneys heavyweight career has collapsed in
recent years due to weight and steroid issues. After receiving a gift draw
against Rahman in March 2006, Toney went on to lose two punishing contests
against heavy puncher Samuel Peter. The second contest was dominated by Peter
and saw Toney get hit more with clean punches than at any point in his career,
even being dropped by a jab early in the fight. Since then, Toney was suspended
for a second time due to steroids after a lackluster bout against Dan
Batchelder in May 2007. The Rahman bout will be Toneys first fight in well
over a year.
Since the draw with Toney, Hasim Rahman has faired
a little better. After being knocked out for a second time by Oleg Maskaev in
August 2006, Rahman lowered his competition and quietly defeated such
journeyman as Taurus Sykes and Zuri Lawrence in 2007.
Because of their names, this fight will generate
attention for the fractured division.
Both men are well past their primes and this may make for an exciting
fight. With 80 professional fights since 1989, James Toney at 39 has a lot more
mileage on him from the strain of competing at weight classes from middleweight
to heavyweight. Its hard to imagine
Toney getting stopped, but at this stage of his career and his body well broken
down I can see a possible referee stoppage.
Fighter of the Week: Bob Foster
When great light-heavyweight fighters like Archie
Moore and Ezzard Charles are mentioned, the name Bob Foster has to be listed
right with them.
At 63″, the lithe Foster was able to generate
immense, whipping power in his punches, particularly the left hook. Foster was
undefeated in title fights at light-heavyweight, having among his knockout
victims legend Dick Tiger, Vicente Rondon, Mike Quarry and Chris Finnegan
(1972 Fight of the Year).
Foster was only vulnerable when he made trips to
heavyweight, where he was knocked out against Ernie Terrell, Joe Frazier and
His final record stands at 56(46 KOs)-8-1.
Brutal KO against Mike Quarry