From Punisher to Finished at 29: The Paul Williams Story

Williams Becomes the Punished

Matt Hamilton

Paul Williams, once the quote-unquote Most Feared Fighter in Boxing appears done as an elite level fighter at the age of 29. It is easy to forget that this is the same fighter who holds wins over marquee names Winky Wright in a dominating performance in 2009, a prime Antonio Margarito in 2007 & Kermit Cintron (if under rather odd circumstances) last year. One feels though that the two most notable wars Paul Williams will be remembered for when he’s 59 are the 2009 Fight of the Year Candidate & being KTFO in the rematch with Sergio Martinez.

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On to more recent happenings despite the “win” vs Erislandy Lara over the weekend, it says something when Ring Magazine feel so aggrieved by the injustice of a decision they feel moved to state the following, “The majority decision in favor of Paul Williams over Erislandy Lara was so egregious, the Editorial Board, with unanimous support from the Advisory Panel, decided the only fair course of action was to promote Lara and demote Williams,” said Nigel Collins, Editor of The Ring Magazine. Collins went on to say, “The horrendous verdict spoiled what had otherwise been a good weekend of boxing and is just the sort of injustice that turns fans away from the sport.”

Williams Lara

Paul Williams: Once the most feared fighter on the planet. Now staring into the abyss.

As a point of interest, Williams made about $1.5 million for the fight whilst the Cuban, Lara earned a relatively meager $135,000 for his participation in the bout. Looking at the aggregate punch numbers for the bout it is clear the judges decisions were at best questionable:

  	   Total Punches	  Jabs	        Power Punches
Williams	200 / 1047	39 / 281	161 / 766
	           19%	           14%	            21%
Lara	        224 / 530	46 / 167	178 / 363
	           42%	           28%	            49%

The situation is made yet more perplexing when we take a look at the round by round punch outputs – remembering that the three judges at ringside had it, respectively, 115-114, 116-114 both for Williams & 114-114…

Let’s review this bout, then, one round at a time:

Round 1: Lara outlands Williams by 10 total punches & by 12 power connects. Lara Round.10-9.
Round 2: Lara outlands Williams by 4 total; with power connects even. Lara Round. 10-9.
Round 3: Not too much between them here; even Round. 10-10
Round 4: Williams Round. 9-10.
Round 5: Williams Round on greater power connects (23 to 15). 9-10.
Round 6: Lara lands 20 of 35 power shots at 57% accuracy – Lara Round. 10-9.
Round 7: Has to be a Lara Round with him finding the target on 22 of 33 power shots. 10-9
Round 8: 12 of 26 Power connects plays 10 of 63. Lara Round. 10-9
Round 9: 13 of 19 Power shots landed against 6 of 41. Lara Round. 10-9
Round 10: Perhaps a tricky round to score, though Lara was again far more accurate; landing 19 from 48 where it took Williams 104 attempts to reach the same total. Lara Round 10-9.
Round 11: 16 from 36 power connects for Lara against 8 from 60 for Williams – Lara Round. 10-9
Round 12: Lara lands 13 from 30 power shots against 9 from 59 from Williams. Lara Round 10-9

Matt Hamilton scores it: 118 to 111

Certain somewhat frightening coincidences can be drawn between Williams’ downfall & that of another former American world champion. Two actually – firstly, the name Meldrick Taylor seems to elicit true mixed feelings from boxing fans. Taylor’s was a magnificent talent & a fighter who was effectively (as an elite prizefighter anyway) finished by the age of 25, after only his second loss in the ring. The nature of Taylor’s war with Julio Cesar Chavez was – like any Fight of the Decade – unique and incomparable with anything Paul Williams has endured during his career to this point; but the common strands of a well regarded & highly touted pound-for-pound performer rather briskly descending into the realm of early stage pugilistic dementia remain.

Williams Martinez I

One of the two fights that will, seemingly, come to define Paul Williams' career.

The second fighter whose biography appears to share certain common traits with that of Williams is Jermaine Taylor. His too was a star that shone brightly but briefly – the two wins over future Hall of Famer Bernard Hopkins somehow sandwiched into a career that descended into the tragic & macabre with seasoned promoter Lou DiBella eventually resigning out of fear for the fighter’s long term health amidst a five fight sequence which included 4 losses (3 of them by way of knockout) in a career that was effectively over before the former world champion’s 31st birthday.

Paul Williams Career History
40 Wins, 2 Losses, 27 Knockouts
2011
07-09 — Erislandy Lara, Atlantic City, NJ, W 12

2010
11-20 — Sergio Martinez, Atlantic City, NJ, KO by 2
(For WBC middleweight title)
05-08 — Kermit Cintron, Carson, CA, W Tech Dec 4

2009
12-05 — Sergio Martinez, Atlantic City, NJ, W 12
04-11 — Ronald ‘Winky’ Wright, Las Vegas, NV, W 12

2008
11-29 — Verno Phillips, Ontario, CA, TKO 8
(Won interim WBO light middleweight title)
09-25 — Andy Kolle, San Jacinto, CA, TKO 1
06-07 — Carlos Quintana, Uncasville, CT, TKO 1
(Won WBO Welterweight Title)
02-09 — Carlos Quintana, Temecula, CA, L 12
(Lost WBO Welterweight Title)

2007
07-14 — Antonio Margarito, Carson, CA, W 12
(Won WBO Welterweight Title)
2006
11-04 — Santos Pakau, Las Vegas, NV, TKO 6
08-19 — Sharmba Mitchell, Reno, NV, KO 4
05-27 — Walter Dario Matthysse, Carson, CA, TKO 10
04-12 — Sergio Rios, Lemoore, CA, KO 2

2005
12-02 — Alfonso Sanchez, Lemoore, CA, KO 5
09-30 — Marteze Logan, Brooks, CA, W 8
04-22 — Terrance Cauthen, Santa Ynez, CA, W 10

2004
11-11 — Sammy Sparkman, Washington, DC, TKO 4
09-23 — Javier Hector Valadez, San Jose, CA, TKO 1
05-07 — Luis Hernandez, mashantucket, CT, W 10
02-06 — Rodolfo Gomez, Tucson, AZ, TKO 4

2003
11-07 — Arturo Rodriguez, Tucson, AZ, KO 1
08-26 — Benjie Marquez, Albuquerque, NM, W DQ 3
01-03 — Earl Jackson, Norman, OK, TKO 2

2002
10-18 — Joshua Onyango, Buffalo, NY, W 6
07-27 — Gary Grant, Savannah, GA, TKO 2
04-05 — Laatekwei Hammond, Buffalo, NY, W 6
01-04 — Agustin Silva, Miami, FL, W 4

2001
12-07 — Mahan Washington, Indio, CA, TKO 3
09-29 — Willie McDonald, Savannah, GA, TKO 1
08-25 — Robert Muhammad, Savannah, GA, TKO 5
07-03 — Rhon Roberts, Atlanta, GA, TKO 4
03-31 — Miguel Aquila, Augusta, GA, TKO 3
01-27 — Henry Hawkins, Augusta, GA, TKO 1

2000
12-14 — Miguel Aquila, Columbus, GA, TKO 2
12-09 — Rohan Nanton, Charlotte, NC, TKO 1
10-28 — Eleser Ortega, Savannah, GA, TKO 1
10-19 — James Young, Columbus, GA, TKO 3
09-30 — Adrian McNeil, Augusta, GA, KO 1
08-18 — Richard Burns, Ocala, FL, KO 1
08-01 — Matt Hill, Washington, DC, TKO 1
07-21 — Jeremy Mickelson, Greensboro, NC, W 4

Matt Hamilton, reporting!