Is Paul Williams Boxing’s “Most Feared” Fighter?
By Geoffrey Ciani: Antonio Margarito once had a reputation for being the “most feared” fighter in all of boxing. Whether or not this was ever actually true is a matter of debate, but one thing was certain—Margarito was a top welterweight who posed a great risk to anyone in the weight class. As a result, many observers in the boxing community were stunned when Margarito found himself on the losing end of a unanimous decision last summer, which paved the way for the emergence of a new fighter to whom many are now applying the “most feared” label—Paul Williams.
Article posted on 06.02.2008
The 26 year old Williams stands over six feet, which is freakishly tall for a welterweight. He has decent power, fast hands, and an almost obscene work output, throwing punches in bunches from start to finish. He also happens to be a southpaw, which many view as an additional advantage for the rising young pugilist. This unique combination of skills and physical attributes means that Williams presents a difficult challenge to anyone south of the middleweight division. That he happens to reside in the welterweight division makes him all the more dangerous and much more intriguing.
To be sure, there is no shortage of talent in the 147-pount weight class. With names like Floyd Mayweather, Shane Mosley, Miguel Cotto, Kermit Cintron, and Margarito currently highlighting its list of top fighters, there is already an abundance of top-notch fights to be made. So even if Williams was not part of the conversation, boxing fans already have plenty to be excited about when pondering such prospects. But since Williams is part of the equation, and given that his physical gifts might well give him an advantage against any of the aforementioned, he now has an opportunity to make some big waves.
But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, Williams first needs to get past Carlos Quintana, whom he is slated to square off against this weekend. Many of you may remember Quintana as Miguel Cotto’s first challenge when he ventured up from junior welterweight where the two did battle for the vacant WBA strap. Going into the bout, many observers were giving Quintana a good chance in this one, but Cotto’s relentless style proved too much him for him. As a result of some pretty vicious left hooks, Quintana was dropped two times in the fifth, and when the bell rang to begin the sixth, Quintana did not answer.
There is little doubt that Williams’s future will largely depend on how he fares against Quintana. More specifically, there will be inevitable comparisons between his and Cotto’s respective performances against this common foe. If Williams manages to stop Quintana earlier than Cotto did or looks more impressive in doing so, he will find himself on the fast track to a big bout against the division’s marquee names. If, however, he struggles against Quintana or wins in less than stellar fashion, he may have a tougher time landing the more desirable match-ups. After all, when you arguably become the sport’s “most feared” name, potential opponents have a way of avoiding you, especially if you pose a high risk/low reward proposition.
Williams needs to win, and win big. He needs the type of victory that continues to generate buzz, so that fans demand he get an opportunity for big fights sometime in the near future. Quintana is a crafty southpaw with good skills and is by no means a walk-over. He provides an adequate challenge and may have a chance to test Williams for some chinks in his armor. This bout should make for a good measuring stick because many observers (myself included) were most impressed by the way Williams handled himself against a perceived force like Margarito. But is he as good as he looked in that fight? We should have a better idea about that this weekend.
In the end, I suspect Williams will rise to the occasion and win in impressive fashion, and I expect him to stop Quintana inside the distance. If he performs as well as I expect him to, he may soon find himself on the road to the riches.
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