ONTARIO, CA.-WBO welterweight titleholder Paul “The Punisher” Williams and heavyweight contender Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola are anxious to baptize a brand new arena when they fight next month on dual main events.
The sparkling Citizens Business Bank Arena in the city of Ontario will host Williams' attempt to win the WBO interim junior middleweight title when he fights IBF titleholder Verno Phillips (42-10-1). Also, Arreola gets his stiffest test, against Travis Walker, in a battle of American hopefuls, all on Nov. 29.
One more treat: U.S. Olympian Shawn Estrada of East Los Angeles debuts under the Goossen-Tutor Promotions banner.
First, let's talk about Williams, who arrived with everybody on the main car on Wednesday in Ontario.
After beating Antonio Margarito, no easy feat, the lanky fighter from Georgia lost to Carlos Quintana, then obliterated him in the rematch. He did too good a job because now it’s even tougher to find an opponent.
That’s where Phillips comes in.
You see, Phillips has been fighting for many, many years and being avoided for many, many years just like Williams. At age 38 – he’ll be 39 on fight day – he’s still plugging away and can still beat elite fighters.
Ask Cory Spinks, whom he beat by decision in Spinks' hometown St. Louis last March. Phillips ripped the title away from the second generation Spinks fighter.
Instead of returning to St. Louis for a rematch with Spinks, the native of Belize opted to challenge the most avoided welterweight in Williams, who has a huge height and reach advantage.
“I’ve fought tall fighters like Paul Williams before guys like Bronco (McKart),” said Phillips, who stands about five-feet, 8 inches tall. He’s also fought other tall boxer punchers like Eddie Sanchez and J.C. Candelo, to name two. “I’m ready to win.”
Williams no longer has patience. So he wants to make the fight last as long as possible.
“I’m going to punish him for all 12 rounds,” said Williams (35-1, 26 KOs) whose last fight ended too quickly for his taste. “No disrespect, man.”
“I’d like to fight Bernard Hopkins,” said Williams, who watched the fight Hopkins won over middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik and thinks he can do better. “I would have knocked Kelly Pavlik out.”
Riverside heavyweight Arreola said testily Walker has been calling him out for a number of months and now gets his wish.
Arreola blasted out Israel “King Kong” Garcia despite weight gain and promised a much better prepared effort, though he had no problems in his last fight.
“I’ll be in much better shape,” Arreola (25-0, 22 KOs) said.
Henry Ramirez, who trains Arreola, said both Arreola and lightweight contender Josesito Lopez will be heading to Big Bear Mountain next week to begin training.
“There won’t be any problems in this camp,” said Ramirez.
Walker feels that he’s going to be the party pooper for the entire Southwest region when beats Arreola.
“He’s never fought anybody as good as me,” said Walker (28-1-1, 22 KOs), whose one loss came when a fight was stopped though he was still standing on his feet, but sustaining punches. “I should have never had that loss.”
The Florida heavyweight says that others in the division seem to get most of the press while he has to trudge through the rankings the hard way.
“I understand that everyone wants a Mexican to win the heavyweight world title but I want to win the world title too,” said Walker, who trains in Houston. “I’m going to have to show everybody who I am. I’m a contender too.”
Dan Goossen, president of Goossen-Tutor, introduced Estrada, who just recently participated in the Olympic games in Beijing, China.
“I only got to see him once so it was hard to tell much but I know he’s a good fighter,” said Goossen.
Estrada is dedicating his first fight to his father, who died this summer.
“My father was everything to me,” said Estrada who still trains in East L.A. “I’m really anxious for my first pro fight.”
Tickets are priced at $25 to $200 and can be purchased at the arena or on the Internet via www.Ticketmaster.com. The venue seats 11,000 people and will host the Los Angeles Lakers this Friday in their game with Oklahoma.