Knockout Nation: Williams Dominates Winky, Arreola TKO’s McCline, Frazier-Ali Beef Continues

Williams Overwhelms Wright in Lopsided Decision In my recent interview with former undisputed 154 pound champ Winky Wright, part of me wanted to believe his declarations of being able to pick up where he left off back in 2006 and 2007. At 37 years old and nearly 20 years as a boxer, the firmness of […]

Williams Overwhelms Wright in Lopsided Decision

In my recent interview with former undisputed 154 pound champ Winky Wright, part of me wanted to believe his declarations of being able to pick up where he left off back in 2006 and 2007. At 37 years old and nearly 20 years as a boxer, the firmness of his convictions could almost make you feel he had a serious shot of beating the prime, towering, volume-punching nightmare that is Paul “The Punisher” Williams. But alas, reality struck Winky over 1000 times last Saturday (April 11), as Williams rained down 1096 punches in route to a dominating unanimous decision win.

Williams stormed out during each of the opening rounds, throwing a fusillade of hooks, straights, and uppercuts from all angles on Wright’s trademark high guard. While Winky was able to block most of the shots from landing cleanly, the sheer volume caused the blows to readily break Wright’s guard to the face and most notably the body. Unfortunately for the former undisputed champion, his eye-catching counter hooks were immediately returned back by six and seven punch combinations. Williams’ 82 inch reach proved Wright was not even safe in clinches, as the former welterweight titlist looped uppercuts over his other outstretched arm, and into Winky’s swelling face.

By the middle rounds, the usual high-stamina Wright was visibly laboring and holding from Williams’ relentless assault. Even more disheartening, Williams was grinning widely at Wright as he continued tirelessly working and alternating between slapping and hard combinations. Wright hopelessly tried to catch Williams with counters between the never-ending combinations, but Winky’s rustiness prevented him from timing the Punisher.

Into the championship rounds, Wright struggled to finish as his left eye swelled shut. In the 12th, Williams was unmerciful in throwing 106 punches. Despite the intense effort to close the show, Wright hung tough and finished the bout on his feet.

The final scorecard read 120-108 and 119-109 twice for Paul Williams, who improved to 37-1, 17 KOs. With the loss, Wright’s record lowers to 51-5-1, 25 KOs.

During the post-fight interview, Williams called out retired, undefeated champion Joe Calzaghe, and showed his willingness to face middleweight titleholders Kelly Pavlik and Arthur Abraham.

For his part, Wright declared this was not his last fight, and will enter the ring again soon.

This was a dominant win from the Punisher, and the biggest question is what weight he will campaign at next. At welterweight, there is the possibility of a title match with Shane Mosley. At junior middleweight, there’s Vernon Forrest and Daniel Santos. And of course at middleweight, there’s Pavlik, Abraham, and Felix Sturm. Wherever he lands, Williams represents a literal and figuratively tall challenge for any opponent.

On the undercard, a flabby Chris Arreola (27-0, 24 KOs) easily walked down aging contender Jameel McCline (39-10-3, 23 KOs) for a 3rd round TKO. The end came courtesy of a rattling left uppercut followed by a right cross. Although McCline could’ve beaten the count, he appeared to think better of it and allowed referee Tony Weeks to administer the 10 count.

Over 30 Years Later Ali-Frazier Shows No Signs of Ending

In a way, Joe’s right. I said a lot of things in the heat of the moment that I shouldn’t have said. Called him names I shouldn’t have called him. I apologize for that. I’m sorry. It was all meant to promote the fight.

-Muhammad Ali, April 2001

Hey man, just come on and give me a hug and let’s get on with our lives. I accept that. I’ll accept it, shake his hand and hug him when I see him. This has been going on too long…. Life’s too short.

-Joe Frazier, April 2001

8 years later, it appears the above words no longer have any meaning for “Smokin’” Joe Frazier.

 Last Saturday saw the debut of HBO’s Thrilla in Manila. Over the course of their short but explosive 4 year professional rivalry, Ali cruelly degraded Frazier on hypocritical racial terms. In addition, Ali deviously turned Frazier’s own people against him by branding the proud champion an Uncle Tom and tool of conservative white America.

The documentary is the first to detail this time through the eyes of Frazier. He recounts how he was previously friends with Ali, and worked to get the exiled champ’s license reinstated, and even loaned him money.

After Ali’s conversion to orthodox Islam in the late 1970’s and his subsequent decline from Parkinson ’s disease, Ali has made several attempts to publicly apologize to Frazier for his past antics. As pointed out by Ali biographer Thomas Hauser, Frazier put on a false face of peace and forgiveness at functions that involved economic compensation. However, the Philly sports legend would then turn around and ridicule the condition of his former foe (most notably the 1996 comment of wanting to push Ali into the Olympic flames).

In a way, one can sympathize with Frazier’s plight and bitterness. His entire career is overshadowed by the icon that is Muhammad Ali. Even though Frazier holds arguably the most important win of trilogy (when both fighters were closest to prime), the fight today is never shown on TV. And when it is mentioned in documentaries, it is always framed in a way to showcase how great Ali was in rising from the hellacious 15th round knockdown.  Also, the flaws the make up Ali’s character are very much glossed over in favor of mythology, which must burn Frazier to see The Greatest depicted as a marketable, jovial saint.

But now in 2009, Joe Frazier must again seriously look at forgiving Ali. The gesture has little to do with Ali, and mostly to do with Frazier taking his life back from the bitterness and anger that has defined him for over 30 years. He is in the position now to prove his claim that he was/is a “better” man than Ali. Instead, he’s fallen into the same behavior that caused his hate for Ali over 30 years ago.

In the twilight of both their lives, Ali and Frazier are men who have accepted responsibility for their decisions. Ali realized too late that he was not a god, and there was a physical price for having the most impressive heavyweight resume of all time in the likes of Sonny Liston (2X), Floyd Patterson (2X), Joe Frazier (3X), Ken Norton (3X), George Foreman, Larry Holmes, and countless Top 10 contenders. And through several business setbacks, Frazier currently lives a meager existence atop his Philadelphia gym despite making millions in the ring.

Before one of them passes, we can only hope this feud finally ends.

Throwback Fighter of the Week: “The Lone Star Cobra” Donald Curry

An immense talent with unfulfilled potential, Donald Curry was expected to be the next great welterweight after the retirement of Sugar Ray Leonard.

Curry began his career in 1980, and stormed the division with 15 wins in his first 2 years.  After defeating future champ Marlon Starling in 1982 by split decision, Curry captured the vacant WBA title the following year with a unanimous decision over then undefeated Jun-Suk Hwang.

By 1983, he added the IBF title to his crown and made 4 defenses. This streak included a rematch win over Marlon Starling.

In 1985 he easily vanquished then-undefeated champ Milton McCrory in two rounds to become the undisputed welterweight champion, holding the WBA, WBC, and IBF titles.

Curry was now recognized by many as the best pound for pound fighter in the world, and shared Fighter of the Year honors in 1985 with middleweight champ Marvin Hagler.

After an easy defense against Eduardo Rodriguez, Curry was set to face unknown Briton Lloyd Honeyghan. It what was supposed to be another showcase bout and possible setup for a superfight with Hagler or Tommy Hearns.

Calling himself the “Ragamuffin Man” after a prefight slight from Curry, Honeyghan dominated the contest with remarkable speed, pressure, and precision accuracy with his right hand.

After suffering a bad cut above his left eye, Curry quit before the 7th and gave Honeyghan a shocking TKO upset.

Claiming that he was weakened by draining down to make welterweight, Curry moved up to 154 and won 2 strange headbutt disqualification bouts before being KO’d in the 5th round by lethal body puncher Mike McCallum in 1987.

Curry’s final career highlight came in 1988, when he stopped Gianfranco Rosi to pick up the WBC light-middleweight title.

The following year, he lost the belt by unanimous decision to Rene Jacquot in the RING Magazine Upset of the Year.

Donald Curry would go 3-3 over the next 8 years, with all three losses coming by knockout to Michael Nunn, Terry Norris, and finally Emmett Linton in 1997.

Today, Curry trains up and coming fighters in his native Fort Worth, Texas.

His final record stands at 34-6, 25 KOs.

Curry vs. McCrory

Career Highlights