Dannie Willaims: ďBy next year Iíll be ready to contend with any one of the world championsĒ
by Geoffrey Ciani (Exclusive Interview by Jenna J & Geoffrey Ciani) - This weekís 137th edition of On the Ropes Boxing Radio (brought to you by CWH Promotions) featured an exclusive interview with lightweight prospect ďDangerousĒ Dannie Williams (18-1, 14 KOs) who is scheduled to face Antonio Cervantes (16-5-5, 11 KOs) tonight on ESPN2ís Friday Night Fights. Williams spoke about his upcoming fight and his future and also shared some opinions regarding the current boxing landscape. Here are some questions and answers from that interview:
JENNA J: Well you have a fight coming up on this weekís Friday Night Fights against Antonio Cervantes. Can you tell us a little bit about your opponent?
DANNIE WILLIAMS: I donít know much about him. I just know he has 26 fights, heís tough, and heís coming to fight. This is another step-up fight for me to see where Iím at.
JENNA: Okay now you said itís a step-up fight to see where youíre at. Where do you expect yourself to be by the end of the year?
WILLIAMS: By the end of the year I expect myself to at least be contending for a world title or in line for a world title, fighting for a USBA title by the end of the year, and just working hard and steadily climbing the latter. I should be about 22-1 by the end of the year and contending for a world title.
JENNA: Well you actually work with a world class trainer in Jack Loew. Can you tell us a little bit about what that working relationship has been like?
WILLIAMS: We got a good relationship. Iíve been working with him since 2008. Weíve got a good bond together. Heís like a father figure. He does his work, he loves his work, and he loves his job. He makes sure youíre getting paid for it and heís doing a lot for you, and I love being around him and Kelly so itís a great thing.
JENNA: Now you mentioned Kelly. Kelly Pavlikís been in the news a lot of late and obviously not for the most positive reasons. Can you tell us what your thoughts were on this whole situation thatís happened?
WILLIAMS: I donít know much about it. My thoughts are that he just needs to come back and do what he does best. You know he let his fans down a little bit, but he needs to come back and be world champion. I look up to him and itís my time to shine on Friday Night Fights. When he sees me on Friday Night Fights it will bring him back.
JENNA: Youíve been obviously working in the gym and youíve been around him these last few weeks, but did you see anything in the gym that would say that maybe he wasnít prepared like people were saying?
WILLIAMS: No, he was prepared. He was ready. He was ready and prepared. Like I said I donít know much about it. Iím just training hard and ready to go on Friday night.
JENNA: Alright well speaking of Friday night, what do you think itís going to be like to get this type of exposure and this type of opportunity in front of the audience that Friday Night Fights provides?
WILLIAMS: Iíve been actually waiting to get on TV, so now itís time and Iíve got to be ready. Itís going to be national live and plus the big thing is itís in my hometown. Iím going to have a big crowd and a big fan base at home and Iím just ready to perform in front everybody on TV. So HBO and Showtime will be watching me and theyíll want to bring me on their network.
GEOFFREY CIANI: One thing that often defines a fighter is how they rebound from a loss. Itís been nearly two years since you suffered your first loss to Eloy Perez and Iím just wondering, what have you learned from that experience and what do you think you took out of that fight to make you stronger going forward?
WILLIAMS: I learned a lot from that fight. I learned not to just go on anybodyís show and just fight on anybodyís show because basically I had to get a knockout to win. The judges had the scorecard, they had me losing 98-91 and I dropped him three times in the fight in a ten-rounder. I had to lose twelve pounds to get down to 130. I had to lose pounds in like a day or two and it kind of killed me, but I still fought a good fight. I fought it out. I dropped him three times. I just didnít get the decision. I learned a lot, but I came back to the drawing board and fought four months later. I fought another undefeated kid and stopped him in the first round. So I just had to get the hunger back and Iím just ready to be world champ.
CIANI: Now letís go back to your amateur career for a moment here. You had a very decorated amateur background where you won a lot of national titles and whatnot. What was your amateur experience like and how was it for you when you first made the transition from the amateurs into the professional ranks?
WILLIAMS: My amateur experience was great. At the time I was training with Kevin Cunningham. He trained us and molded us to just stay busy and move, stay busy and box, box, box. Back then I was around Cory Spinks and Devon Alexander, and then I made the transition to the pros and I actually started sitting down. I had a little power, so then it transferred when I started training with Jack. I started sitting down on my punches and it was a big transition and thatís when I got a lot of knockdowns. I could box and sit down. I had to mix it up together and itís working out really great for me.
CIANI: What do you think is the one thing you do best right now where you could really showcase your talents come Friday night?
WILLIAMS: The most important thing is that I could punch. Iíve been working on good defense and movement, a straight jab, but most of all just being patient and setting up the big shot, because itís only going to take one shot for me.
CIANI: What are of your game do you feel right now that you could use the most improvement on?
WILLIAMS: Basically just staying focused, when I get hit donít get riled up. Just staying focused, because if I get hit I want to hit right back. Thatís not the good thing. You just stay calm and set it up, and use a lot of head movement, and Iíll be alright. Patience though is the most important thing.
JENNA: Seeing that youíre competing in the lightweight division, this particular weight class doesnít really have a big star anymore. Juan Manuel Marquez is moving up to face Manny Pacquiao at a catch weight. So now itís really wide open. Where do you see yourself in the division and do you think this is where you can really make your mark as a champion?
WILLIAMS: I know Iím top ten right now. You know Iím just learning and just gradually working my way up. I donít want to rush anything. I just want to take my time and just be consistent with my fights so I can learn, because every fight you learn something. I just want to be consistent in fighting so I can learn so by next year Iíll be ready to contend with any one of the world champions.
JENNA: The champion of lightweight is facing Manny Pacquiao in November. Do you think he has got any chance in the third fight with him?
WILLIAMS: I like Marquez. Heís consistent with his punches. I like him a lot but I donít think heís going to catch up with Manny Pacquiao. I think Manny Pacquiao is too much for Marquez and a little younger than him. I think Mannyís too much for him right now.
CIANI: Maybe you could tell the fans out there a little bit about some of the fighters you most admired when you first started getting into the sport?
WILLIAMS: Most of the good fighters I admired when I first got it, Sugar Shane Mosley, Roy Jones at the time when he was at the top of his game. I admired him a lot. He was a good boxer and slick. Also Floyd Mayweather, but most of all I admired the people that were around me in St. Louis like Cory Spinks and Devon Alexander. So those were guys I admired a lot.
CIANI: You mentioned Devon Alexander a couple of times and I know you worked in the same gym as him. Heís making the jump up to welterweight. Do you think he will have more success up at 147 than he did at 140?
WILLIAMS: I donít know. I just think whatever weight he thinks is best for him, go for. I think he should change his game up just a little bit because heís got the same style from the amateurs in the pros. I think everybody is catching on to it. I think he needs to just change up a little bit and heíll do great.
JENNA: Since youíre known for your power, do you expect that to be the one thing that impresses fans the most when they see you this upcoming Friday?
WILLIAMS: Yes, thatís what Iím looking for. Everybody wants the big knockout on TV, so if the first time up I can get a knockout would be great. But I want the fans to know me as an overall fighter with slickness and speed, and just know how to settle down and show patience, but the big knockoutóthatís what Iím looking for!
JENNA: Alright well once you get through this fight here, how many more times do you see yourself fighting before the end of the year?
WILLIAMS: After this fight I want to see myself fight at least two more times.
For those interested in listening to the Dannie Williams interview in its entirety, it begins approximately forty-one minutes into the program.
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Article posted on 12.08.2011
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