The smart money thought Paul Williams didn't know himself, didn't know his body. They thought that trying to keep under 147 pounds, for a 6-2 inch man, was unwise, and would lead to another defeat at the hands of Carlos Quintana. Shows what the smart money knows. Williams looked more than comfortable at 147 as he steamrolled Quintana on June 7 (TKO1). Long, Tall Paul will be watching this Saturday's welterweight megafight super close, for good reason, as his near future will likely be affected by the outcome. He'd love a crack at Cotto, if the Puerto Rican comes out on top in Vegas, or a rematch with Margarito, if the Mexican pulls off the upset. Here is a Q and A with the 26-year-old, 34-1 hitter.
What do you think about your last fight against Quintana?
The last fight I knew I had something to get up for and not get caught off guard ever again… of course it was more than something I had to prove in the ring. I had to show that I had could take on a fellow who just beat me and virtually destroy him once the bell rang. I proved he didn’t have my number. The media was saying I would have no answer for Quintana’s left and I had to prove them wrong. I had something to prove to everyone and it was tough having to wait four months for me to do it.
How great a feeling was having a superstar type of performance?
It went just as I expected. Actually, I thought he would be able to last more than two rounds with me. I at least went the distance when he took his best shot and he couldn’t take mine for two minutes.
Talk to me about Antonio Margarito and your victory against him?
Antonio Margarito was another one that I could get up from. I was helping Margarito prepare for the Daniel Santos fight when his team hired me out there for 4 weeks and after a week they decided that they would send me home because I was getting the best of him during each sparring session. His team denied it and continues to deny why they sent me home. But because I knew why it continued to bother me so I began to prepare to be the number one contender so that I can fight this guy and prove my point. They kept saying that he was the most feared fighter in the world but I had spanked him that week in training. So I knew that he was not in fact the best welterweight in the world and I wanted to show who was the best.
Is there anything that you would do differently now if you fought him again?
Yes, definitely. He’s a one dimensional fighter and I’m a boxer-puncher so there are a lot of things that I can do but I would never expose my strategy unless we should ever encounter each other in the ring again. I'm so much better today, especially mentally, and there isn't any welterweight in the world that can stand up to me.
What is Margarito’s advantage over Cotto?
I really don’t see that he does have an advantage over Cotto.
What do you think about Cotto?
I think that Cotto is a well rounded fighter that is tough and strong. Bother fighters are evenly matched. Whoever is in control that night will win the fight.
How would you fight Cotto?
If I were to fight Cotto, I would fight him like I would any of my opponents that I have taken on or will take on. I will train hard and prepare to come in the ring at my best and be ready for war. It's hard for welterweights to prepare for my size and power.
What is Cotto’s advantage over Margarito? I really don’t see an advantage. As I said earlier, whoever is in control will win. It’s an even match.
What weight do you feel most comfortable at? 147? 154? or 160?
It really doesn’t matter because I have fought at each one of those weight classes. But if I had to choose a weight it would be welterweight (147).
Give me your final thoughts on Saturday’s upcoming fight? How do you see the fight going? Who do you pick to win?
It’s going to be a good fight as long as it lasts. I don’t see it going the distance.
If Cotto wins?
Unless he fights Oscar, he has to come through me to determine the BEST welterweight in the world. Remember, if he wins, he beats the man I already beat.
A Margarito victory?
It's a no-brainer, the rematch is on. Can't take nothing away from Margarito, he didn't dump his belt in a trash can to avoid me. He fought like a man that night, and I've always said I would give him the rematch.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV