TEMECULA-The most feared welterweight in the world met the boogieman and his name is Carlos “El Indio” Quintana.
Quintana shocked the crowd and probably the entire world in handing Paul Williams his first professional loss and taking the WBO welterweight title before a sold out crowd on Saturday.
“I planned this all along,” said Quintana, 31.
The Puerto Rican fighter used his quickness and agility to out-maneuver and frustrate the much taller Williams before 2,500 fans at the Pechanga Resort and Casino. It was the second time a tall undefeated welterweight had lost his title in the same casino.
“This seems to be a place of upsets,” said Dan Goossen, president of Goossen-Tutor Promotions. “Last time it was Vernon Forrest who lost to Ricardo Mayorga here.”
Quintana grabbed the upset mantle with a solid game plan that was further enhanced by Williams inability to land a consistent jab.
“I knew from the first round he wasn’t in his rhythm. Paul is a rhythm fighter,” said George Peterson who trains Williams.
In some place Quintana was a 6-1 underdog when he stepped in to face Georgia’s much taller and undefeated Williams.
The Puerto Rican southpaw had warned his style would prove too perplexing and that the long arms of Williams wouldn’t be enough to stop his left-handed counterpunching style. That was evident from the very first round.
“I was well-prepared,” said Quintana. “I knew I had to come in strong right away.”
Quintana didn’t need any warming up for his right hook. In the first round he landed it multiple times and seemed to shake up Williams at least twice.
The Puerto Rican didn’t let up in the second round and repeatedly found a home for his overhand left hand. Williams seemed confused by Quintana’s side to side movement and had problems landing his jab.
“I didn’t show up,” said Williams who had somewhat puzzled look at his inability to stop the pot shots coming his way. “I just couldn’t find my rhythm.”
Most experts felt that Williams was too difficult to beat because of his 82-inch reach and six foot-two inch height, but it wasn’t a mystery to Quintana who gave up five inches in height and almost 10 inches in reach.
“His reach was never a problem,” Quintana said.
Williams focused more on the body and found a home for his punches. But in the last 30 seconds Quintana returned the favor and made the round very close, though it seemed Williams had more moments.
In the third round both fighters dispensed with combination punching and resorted to single punch bursts. Quintana landed a solid left hand at the end of the round and was much more accurate.
Quintana slowed in the fifth round and Williams finally found the range for his long jab. With the Puerto Rican fighter moving less it was easier for the champion to land his punches.
Williams opened the sixth round with a powerful left hand but Quintana retaliated with left hand counters and seemed to stun Williams with a right hook
With a worried look over Williams face, Quintana continued to land lead left hands and right hooks. Williams tried going to the body but left openings for Quintana to exploit.
Behind a stead right jab and left hand leads, Williams had his best round in the eighth, but a clash of heads opened a cut over his left eye. Blood began dripping down his cheek.
Quintana seemed to slow in the ninth, but with about 45 seconds the Puerto Rican opened up with a three-punch combination and punctuated it with a left hand that shook Williams.
Williams and Quintana seemed to slow down in the 10th but the Puerto Rican fighter’s pot shots landed enough to seemingly win the round.
Inside fighting dominated the 11th round with Williams surprisingly more effective, but with 40 seconds left Quintana landed a huge left hand that echoed in the arena.
The 12th round saw a lot of hugging and holding with Williams more determined to win the last round. Few punches landed but Williams was effective in the inside. To further hinder Williams, a clash of heads opened up another cut on his other eye.
Williams quickly walked over to Quintana and hugged him as if acknowledging he knew the outcome. The judges scored it 115-113 and 116-112 twice for Quintana.
“I’m glad I didn’t retire,” said Quintana, who was beaten by Miguel Cotto last year in his first world title bid. “I’m very happy for that.”
Riverside fighter wins
It’s not easy losing a best friend but after a long layoff Riverside’s Arreola stepped back in the ring against dangerous Cliff Couser (26-15, -2, 14 KOs) and overpowered him in the first round with nary a punch in return.
“After five months without a fight I would been happy if it lasted a little longer,” said Arreola (23-0, 21 KOs).
A right hand caught Couser on the temple and his left leg shook giving an indication that he had been hurt. Arreola moved in to finish and fired punch after punch on the Mike Tyson look-alike. Couser evaded most of the punches and with Arreola’s corner shouting instructions to slow down, the Riverside fighter landed a left hook that again wobbled Couser’s leg while trapped in the corner. Referee Jerry Cantu stepped in between the fighters and stopped the fight at 1:22 of the first round.
Though Arreola never absorbed a serious punch in return, he was cautious against Couser who has upset several heavyweight contenders in the past including Monte Barrett, James Tillis and Jorge Gonzalez.
“No fight is easy,” said Arreola, who shook hands and talked with Couser after the fight was stopped. I just got him with a good shot…an right over the top.”
Arreola’s best friend was shot and killed during a party in October and cancelled his fight that was scheduled to take place in early November in St. Lucia. Now he’s hoping for a match against a top 20 contender.
Welterweight contender Andre Berto (21-0, 18 KOs) belted Germany’s iron-chinned Michel Trabant (43-3-1, 19 KOs) for six rounds before the fight was stopped at the end of the sixth. After sustaining punishing blows for most of the fight the Trabant’s corner three in the towel at the end of the sixth round for a technical knockout win for Berto.
New Jersey’s Raymond Biggs (7-0) dropped North Carolina’s Bryan Mullis (4-3-1) with a left hook to the body in the first round, but the fight resumed. Though Mullis was willing Biggs had too many weapons and eventually stopped the North Carolinian with a three punch combination at 1:32 of the third round of a junior middleweight fight..
Georgia’s Omri Lowther (10-1) used his boxing skills to evade Oregon fighter Braulio Lopez’s (6-7-1) mad rushes in a six round junior welterweight contest. All three judges scored it 59-55 for Lowther.