Paul “The Punisher” Williams was one of the most feared boxers in the industry. His frame, reach and unorthodox style made him difficult to hit. Victories over Antonio Margarito, Kermit Cintron, Sergio Martinez, Winky Wright and Carlos Quintana are proof that Williams was as talented as any fighter in the game.
With many of boxing’s top fighters –Floyd Mayweather Jr., Miguel Cotto– seemingly reluctantly to fight him, combined with a devastating second-round knockout at the hands of Martinez in his most previous bout, Williams has fallen off the radar.
Said Williams: “I have never been in a comeback fight. None of that talk would get under my skin. I never let anything like that worry me. To me it’s just another fight. Some of the top guys out there, like Manny Pacquiao, he lost a couple of times. He didn’t have a comeback fight…He just comes back and fights. That’s what we do.”
Williams’ opponent, Erislandy Lara (15-0-1), may not be easy pickings. Although Lara has only been in 16 fights, he has 10 knockouts, including seven coming in the first round. Williams will be Lara’s biggest fight to date.
“I know Lara is going to try to capitalize on me - I am the biggest name he will have fought. So by beating me, that puts him right there on the top of the list,” said Williams. “He is the new lion on the block and all that. You always see on TV how the young lions are trying to overtake the old lions, but this old lion isn't ready to leave.”
The two will hook up in a 12-round junior middleweight bout on Saturday night on HBO’s Boxing After Dark.
WBA super bantamweight champion Akifumi Shimoda (23-2-1) will defend his belt against Rico Ramos (19-0), rising heavyweight Chris Arreola will take on Friday Ahunanya, while Jhonny Gonzalez and Tomas Villa will battle for the WBC Featherweight championship.