“Styles make fights,” boxing purists have always said. This Saturday’s matchup between Paul “The Punisher” Williams and Ronald “Winky” Wright will bring that statement its brightest light in some time.
Williams has won his last three fights inside the distance and sports an overall record of 35-1 with 26 KOs. He is a punisher and a freakishly tall man for 154 pounds, with long arms that give him superior leverage in this bout.
Wright has been around for a long time, earning a 51-4-1 record. He is known more for defensive skills rather than his ability to eliminate foes by knockout, although he’s won 25 fights by that route.
Wright will be in this fight more than people will give him credit for later. He will offer targets for the power-punching “Punisher” and take them away before the younger Williams can score. Wright’s game plan will be to get inside and punch to the taller body of Williams. This strategy will smother Williams' punching leverage and will bring down Williams’ hands, thus exposing his noggin.
Williams’ best game plan will be to use angles. As Wright tries to duck under Williams' punches and work the body, Williams must use lateral movement. This will make Wright reset his stance and Williams will be at an angle to unleash his hands that would have otherwise been smothered.
Williams will look busier, but Wright will be doing more in the true essence of boxing. However, in the end it will be Williams earning the decision. Wright has been out of the ring for 21 months, so ring rust will be a small factor. Williams will be able to do more with his size than Wright will do with his defense and crafty techniques.
Make it an evening of boxing with the co-main event being Chris Arreola vs. Jameel McCline. They are two heavyweights on either end of their boxing lives. Arreola is the up-and-coming, colorful heavyweight prospect with fists of fury and language to match. McCline has had his time at the top and hasn’t fared too well lately (1-3 against top heavyweights).
McCline serves as the gatekeeper here. If Arreola gets past, his future is bright. If Arreola (26-0, 23 KOs) loses, he basically starts all over again. McCline (39-9-3, 23 KOs) will not likely be considered a threat to the top heavyweights even if he does win, but it would be a nice way for him to ride into retirement.
Preceding the live fight card on HBO is Thrilla in Manila, a documentary about the third Ali-Frazier fight. I hear it is graded an “A” and documents Frazier’s point of view in one of the most brutal fights in history.