Boxing


Williams Punishes Wright, Now Has Plenty Of Options

Paul Williams12.04.09 - by James Slater - In dominating and almost shutting out the returning Winky Wright at middleweight last night, Paul "The Punisher" Williams proved two things: number-one, he is definitely a fighter who belongs in today's pound-for-pound top-ten, and number-two, he can fight at the highest level anywhere from 147 to 160 pounds.

In punishing the gifted Wright the way he did over 12 rounds - throwing over a thousand punches while doing so - the 27-year-old southpaw who stands an amazing (for a welterweight) 6'1" scored what is arguably his best win yet. Though he was coming off a layoff, Wright figured to at the very least be competitive last night. He wasn't. No man has ever dominated Winky the way Williams just has, not even the much heavier Bernard Hopkins. Many people wondered if the former WBO welterweight and the former WBO interim light-middleweight champ could box truly effectively up at 160 pounds. Last night he proved he can.

The thing is, what does Williams, a man with a load of options, do now? In the past, Paul has spoken of going up as far as 168 and trying to win a world title there. Once, such talk was laughed at, but not any more. Williams has targeted fighters like Kelly Pavlik, Shane Mosley, Miguel Cotto and others. Right now, he would have to be given a great chance of beating either fighter.

After last night's fine win, Dan Goossen, Williams' promoter, said his man may go up to 168, he may opt to pick up another belt at 154, he may stick around at 160, or he may even drop back down to 147. This, as you can see, is a man with almost too many options.

Welterweight is where the biggest fights and the most money is at, but will Williams be able to make 147 again after not having boxed there since June of 2008? Going up and down in weight has been something that has felled many a fighter in the past, but Williams says that going back down would be his preferred choice.

Whatever choice he finally makes, "The Punisher" has surely won over whatever critics he had left. He has shown, time and again, that he is no cherry picker. Willing to take on literally anyone from 147 to 160 and maybe even beyond, the potential all-time great from Georgia is a genuine throwback. Due to his willingness - or maybe due to his desperation to get someone, anyone, to fight him - Williams has so many huge and mouth-watering fights that could be made for him. There are no number of super-fights he could engage in at welterweight, the light-middleweight division, while not as talent-rich, also has some good names for him to meet, and the thought of Williams against Pavlik at middleweight boggles the mind.

But will the top names from these three weight classes want to get it on with Williams? Has he been shamelessly avoided - with only fellow member of the 'Who needs him club,' Wright being man enough to face him? As long as Williams continues proving his amazing talent and is able to defeat those guys who WILL risk meeting him, the fans will eventually demand that the names he has called out step up and accept "The Punisher's" challenge.

Still to reach his very peak, he says, the 27-year-old could well be the man who carries boxing's mid-weight divisions into the next decade. And to think, some said William's win over Antonio Margarito was nothing but a fluke!

Article posted on 12.04.2009



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