Exclusive: Ronnie Shields Talks Cintron-Williams - "Kermit Was On His Way To Knocking Out Paul Williams"
by James Slater - Understandably, considering the quite bizarre way the fight came to an end, fans are still talking (and arguing) about this past Saturday's Paul Williams-Kermit Cintron fight. There cannot be any fans out there who are unaware of what happened - with Cintron flying through the ropes and being unable to continue in the 4th-round - but who deserved the go-to-the-scorecards win; Cintron or eventual victor Williams?
Cintron's trainer, Ronnie Shields, has his opinion on this and other factors pertaining to the fight many feel should have been ruled a No-Contest, and he was kind enough to give me the following interview earlier today. Here is what Ronnie had to say about the fight:
James Slater: I really appreciate you talking to me, Ronnie. People are still talking about the quite bizarre way the Kermit Cintron-Paul Williams fight ended on Saturday. First of all, how is Kermit?
Ronnie Shields: Kermit's fine. I saw him when he came out of the hospital and there's nothing wrong with Kermit. He told the doctors there was nothing wrong with him - he told them he was okay as soon as he fell out of the ring. He knew he had five minutes to recover and get back into the ring and he wanted to fight. But the doctors wouldn't let him get up and get back into the ring. They told him he might have a punctured lung. Then they put a brace on his neck.. Kermit said 'what you doing putting a brace on me?' He said 'let me fight!' But they wouldn't let him. At that time, Kermit's personal doctor, Dr. Cook; he asked the other doctors who were taking Kermit away, 'how can you move Kermit when you haven't evaluated him?' You know, if they felt he had a punctured lung or an injured neck and back, what were they doing moving him when they hadn't evaluated him? How could they even say he might have had a punctured lung without having evaluated him or having him take a deep breath? How could that doctor make that call?
J.S: In your opinion, who was winning, and what did you think of the official scorecards?
R.S: In my opinion, Kermit won three rounds. I thought the 3rd was close, maybe even, but Kermit clearly, CLEARLY, won the 1st-round - go and look at the fight and check. Kermit was definitely winning the fight. He took Paul Williams out of his game-plan. Paul Williams is a high-volume puncher, but he said he was boxing and going to come on. Come on, man! Look at all Paul Williams' other fights - when have you seen him fight like he did on Saturday? He fought scared. They said his plan was to box and that he was coming on at the end, but that's bull shit! When he came on, he got caught by that big right hand by Kermit and buckled real bad. That's when he tried to grab and the whole thing [with Cintron falling out of the ring] started. Williams did not want to engage Kermit because he knew he was gonna get knocked out.
J.S: Was that Kermit's plan, to take Williams into the later rounds and get the win?
R.S: Absolutely. After the 2nd-round, I told Kermit, 'in my mind you're winning the fight; but I know they're going to give close rounds to Williams.' So I asked him to put more pressure on, because I didn't trust the judges. And you'd have had to be blind to not see that Kermit was winning. How could anyone give that 4th-round, that they scored, to Paul Williams? It was Kermit who landed that big right hand that started the whole thing!
J.S: What do you say to the talk that some people have had that Kermit dived through the ropes on purpose - to "get out" of the fight?
R.S: Why would he do that, when he was winning? That's retarded. Trust me, that was not the case at all. All I saw was Paul Williams go down, and both men got their feet tangled and hit each other, and then Kermit's momentum took him where he was going, which was out of the ring. But look at how loose the ropes were! That was dangerous and a safety issue right there.
J.S: Well, I did hear that Kermit may look to sue due to how dangerous the ring ropes were.
R.S: I'm pretty sure that is gonna happen. That's exactly what's gonna happen. His lawyers are on it now and I'm pretty sure a lawsuit will be filed against Goossen and The California Commission. I mean, there's no place in boxing for a dangerous ring like that. It could have been Paul Williams who fell out; one of them could have broke their back or something! And the under-card fighters could have been hurt as well. I went backstage before the fight and asked why, when I was told the fight would be fought under California rules and not ABC rules. they told me that if any accident happened, the fight would go to the cards after just three completed rounds, not four. I said right there that it was just ridiculous. We will be suing to get the decision overturned and changed to a No-Contest.
J.S: The number-one thing, though, is to get a rematch?
R.S: I was on the podium after the fight, with Dan Goossen and others, and a reporter asked if there would be a rematch. Goossen said he didn't think the fight deserved a rematch because of the way the first fight got booed and hadn't caught fire. The reporter asked him if he was crazy! The fight was just starting to heat up when it ended. They don't want a rematch because they know Kermit was on his way to knocking out Paul Williams.
J.S: I did read that Kermit said if he doesn't get the result overturned and that if he doesn't get a rematch, he may well quit boxing. Was that just a heat of the moment statement?
R.S: That was just a heat of the moment thing, yes. Kermit was really pissed off - he wanted to win and prove he is one of the best fighters in the world. When he fell out of the ring, he screamed, 'let me fight!' But they wouldn't let him. It was a set up, when Kermit's team tried to help him up, the doctors told them not to touch him. The rematch has to be fought on neutral territory. Why was this fight held in California? - both guys are from the east coast!
J.S: At least Paul Williams had the good grace not to celebrate his win. He even looked a little sheepish as he raised his hand.
R.S: Paul Williams is a class act. We can't fault Paul Williams for what happened. He came up like a man afterwards and said he'd fight Kermit again. But Goossen said the fight wasn't an exciting enough fight - but he made the fight! I mean, was Floyd Mayweather-Shane Mosley an exciting fight? No, but fans want to see the best fight the best. That's why this rematch has to happen. The fans deserve it, and if you're a boxing fan you will want to see a rematch. Both guys think they won; so let's settle it. But it has to be on neutral ground.
J.S: How soon would Kermit want the fight?
R.S: Immediately, if not sooner. He wants to go straight into the rematch. He wanted to continue fighting [on Saturday] anyway.
J.S: We do need a rematch, in the interest of fairness.
R.S: Right. This crazy stuff has to stop. The scoring in some fights has been terrible and it just has to stop - enough! Look at the [Tomasz] Adamek fight against Chris Arreola - one judge had it scored even at 114-114! Everyone knows Adamek won nine rounds. And the scoring in this fight [Cintron-Williams] was just ridiculous.
J.S: Well, thanks so much for talking to me. I really appreciate it, being able to get all the behind-the-scenes info.