WBO Welterweight champion Paul “The Punisher” Williams (33-0, 24 KOs), is every 147 pounders worst nightmare.

At six foot one, with an eighty two inch reach and a southpaw stance, fighting Williams is a sizeable challenge.

“My reach is definitely an advantage. I can hit them from the outside and they can’t hit me back,” said Williams after finishing a sparring session in preparation for his February 9th date on HBO against Carlos “El Indio” Quintana (24-1, 19 KOs), at The Pechanga Casino. In comparison, Quintana, also a southpaw, has a seventy two inch reach and is five foot nine. “Quintana is going to be feeling the end of my punches,” Williams told TSS.

It took defeating the so called “most feared man in boxing”, Antonio Margarito, in front of a sold out audience at The Home Depot Center in Southern California for Williams to get some deserved attention for his resilient performance against the hard nosed Mexican. “I got the attention but not the credit I deserve,” said Williams. “But I think people are beginning to know I’m for real. I think it’s starting.”

The fight between Williams and Margarito was a classic as the hard brawling Margarito charged forward and Williams snapped shots from the outside. “He was trying to impose his will on me from the first round,” remembers the South Carolina native. “But I boxed effectively and outworked him. I took the first six rounds easy.”

The Tijuana fighter started finding his range in the second half of the bout and eventually connected on Williams with a more effective attack. Williams remained active and managed to throw an average of a hundred punches per round. “I got to give the man his props,” said Williams of Margarito. “He made me fight like that. He was the champion but my work rate was too much for him to deal with.”

Most observers agree that the fight came down to the twelfth round. “He took the eleventh and I knew I had to give everything of myself in the final round. It was his hometown and the fans were having an effect,” said Williams. “You go in there and take the champion’s title and that’s what I did. I made sure I shut him down in the end.”

“I agree that the fight was lost in the final round,” stated Margarito when recently questioned about the fight. “I got too confident. At the time I felt I had the fight won. He threw a lot of punches but I was blocking most of them. It was close but I still feel I won.”

Margarito wanted a rematch but was kept from pursuing one by advisors and his promoters at Top Rank who were searching for a more lucrative bout. Margarito is now scheduled to fight Kermit Cintron in a rematch.

“I wasn’t surprised he (Margarito) didn’t want an immediate rematch. But if he wants one, he can still get one anytime he wants,” said Williams. “He knows how difficult a fighter I am and if he would’ve lost to me again that would’ve made him into just another opponent.”

To no one’s surprise, Williams is being avoided by most of the top names in the division. “The Punisher” is a low reward/high risk proposition at this point.  “After I won the title I thought everybody would want to fight me because I have the belt but it seems like it’s the opposite. Nobody wants anything to do with me,” said Williams. “I don’t want to be the most avoided man in boxing but that’s how it is. A lot of people are turning down fights with me. I’ve got the Margarito curse. Nobody wanted to fight him. After I beat him, nobody wants to fight me.”

He’d like to face the highly touted Puerto Rican world champion Miguel Cotto. “It has to be Cotto,” answered Williams quickly when asked. “I would’ve liked Mayweather but now that he’s retired, it’s got to be Cotto. He’s the top guy in the division. He doesn’t want anything to do with me either.”

For now he’s got Carlos Quintana to deal with. Quintana is a slick boxer whose greatest achievement was outfoxing and exposing the highly regarded “prospect of the year”, Joel Julio, as a one dimensional fighter. Williams’ plan is simple in theory. “I’m going to overwhelm Quintana. I’m going to make sure he doesn’t get off on me,” said Williams. “If the fight goes twelve rounds then I’m going to be throwing punches for the whole twelve rounds.”

After all the hard work, the twenty six year old promoted by Goossen-Tutor is relishing the opportunity to be headlining on Saturday.  “It feels good to get some respect from the networks, I feel like I’ve earned it,” said Williams. “On February ninth I’m going to do what I do best which is to punish my opponent and take him out.”

Also on the card: Andre Berto vs. Michel Trabant. The televised portion starts at 9:45 PM (ET/PT), from the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, Cal, on HBO. Bob Papa, Max Kellerman and Lennox Lewis will be ringside for the event.

On the non televised portion of the card will be hot heavyweight prospect Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola. The event is being presented by Goossen-Tutor promotions.

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