Before Antonio Margarito stepped into the ring to face Paul Williams in July of 2007, Antonio had the 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 no one in the weight class wanted any part of.
As a result, many people in the boxing community were stunned when Margarito was on the losing end of a unanimous decision. With the loss, it paved the way for the emergence of a new fighter to who I now consider the "most feared" boxer today, Paul Williams.
Paul "The Punisher" Williams (36-1, 27 KOs) is the current WBO champion and is every 147 pounders worst nightmare. At 6'1", with an 82 inch reach and a southpaw stance, fighting Williams is a tough challenge for any fighter. But that is exactly what boxing's other most avoided fighter, Ronald "Winky " Wright (51-4-1, 25 KOs) is doing.
This fight is going to be an intriguing matchup. Williams, who gave up searching for big names to fight at welterweight due, he claims, to being shamelessly avoided, will get the marquee name he has been craving ever since his arrival on the world stage with his big victory over Margarito.
"Well you know, I'm to the point now I'm tired of calling my guys and asking for the biggest fight that I want because in my eyes, it seems it's how I see it", said Williams during conference call last week. "I want these fights to be with the big guys. It never happens. So I'm just going to let Dan and Mr. (Peterson), they'll take care of that with HBO. I'm not going to ask—I'm not calling on any more guys. If they want me they'll have to call me up from now on."
At 6'1" tall , Williams is a freak of nature. He combines size, reach, the southpaw stance, power, and a serious work ethic into a dangerous package. When I see him fight, it is amazing how busy this guy is considering how big he is. In his win over Margarito, he was throwing over 100 punches per round. His only loss was a tough one to Carlos Quintana, who scored cuts over both of Williams's eyes in their first bout in February 2008.
In the rematch in June, Williams got sweet revenge by knocking out Quintana in the first round. He is coming off a nice win over Verno Phillips with an eighth Round TKO. Moving up to 154lbs likely makes him more dangerous, since he will not be training down to 147 and is more comfortable at that weight.
On the flipside, I feel this is going to be a bad fight for Winky. The man is coming back after a lay-off of almost two years and at the age of 37. His last fight was also against Bernard Hopkins, who like Wright relies on using skill and guile to make up for not being able to fight a full 3 minutes every round.
It is hard to imagine Wright shaking off enough ring rust to be able to outbox a fellow southpaw who will have a full 10 inches of reach advantage and some crazy stamina. Williams moves pretty well for a tall, lanky fighter, and combining that with his reach and work rate, Wright will pay regularly, if perhaps small price for getting into range every time.
Wright will make Williams look bad in the early rounds, but over time he will get tired either because of William's constant jabbing or because of the super human effort needed to keep it off him. Williams will win and should get more big fights thrown at him with a good performance.