What’s worse than getting in the ring with Paul “The Punisher” Williams? Let me put it this way. Most fighters would rather marry the “OctoMom” and baby-sit her fourteen kids before lacing up the gloves against the Augusta, Georgia native. Yeah, it’s like that.
Williams (36-1, 27 KOs) is indeed the most feared man in boxing as he and his promoters at Goossen-Tutor have proclaimed for so long. Any professional fighter that has to fight in the 147 to 160 pound range just to get a meaningful fight has to be a scary proposition.
Enter the former 154 pound champion and one of the most skilled fighters in the history of the division: Ronald “Winky” Wright. Wright (51-4, 21 KOs) will face Williams on April 11th at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas as part of HBO’s “World Championship Boxing” series.
Although Wright’s style is more complicated than a Rubik’s cube, Williams claims he’s not deviating from his usual game-plan. “The only thing I’m doing different for this fight is I’m sparring with more lefties,” William said from his training camp in Washington D.C. “Otherwise I’m preparing for him just like I prepare for everybody else. I’m going in there and I’m going to fight my fight like I always do and I expect to win.”
Williams’ usual fight plan is to stalk his prey and use his 82 inch reach to unleash heavily leveraged bombs on his opponents with the goal of separating them from consciousness. His last three victims, Verno Phillips (TKO 8), Andy Kolle (TKO1) and Carlos Quintana (TKO1) all felt the wrath of “The Punisher”.
The win over Quintana was perhaps his most important after having lost a twelve round decision and his undefeated status to the slick Puerto Rican fighter just four months earlier. “I just couldn’t get up for that fight. I couldn’t get my punches off. I wasn’t in the right state of mind that night,” remembers Williams.
The loss sent Williams’ stock plummeting. The 27-year-old returned home to his family disappointed but strangely enough, grateful for the life lesson. It was during that time that he decided he’d never fight unless his mind was 100 percent focused on his opponent. In the re-match, Williams obliterated Quintana in one round to reclaim the welterweight title and the momentum his career had lost. “I knew I needed to win big,” Williams said. “Everything was on the line.”
It was by beating former welterweight champion, Antonio Margarito, that Williams made his name in winning a hard fought decision over the “Tijuana Tornado”. Williams spoke of Margarito’s recent suspension over a hand-wrap irregularity that took place before his fight against Shane Mosley. In Williams’ opinion, people are making too much of the issue. “I don’t think there’s anything to the controversy. I just don’t think it was anything major. It’s not something that Margarito and his people would do. They wouldn’t try to hurt someone like that intentionally,” Williams stated. “I think they took the suspension and now Margarito will get some time to rest like he should.”
According to Williams, it wasn’t just Mosley’s fists that finished off Margarito. “I think Shane Mosley did a great job but Margarito had gone through a lot of hard fights against very difficult opponents like Miguel Cotto and myself,” Williams said. “I think that fight was too much for him but it was hard to turn down because of the money.”
Williams, a champion at 147 pounds, will be facing Wright at 160 pounds but says he’ll weigh in at about 157. “It’s not my weight but this is what I have to do to get a fight. As long as I keep winning, the respect and big bouts will come,” he said. “I’m just happy to have a fight because nobody was stepping up so I have to give Winky a lot of credit.”
He even thought about moving up in weight one more division. “If the money’s right and the opponent is right, I’d fight up to 168 pounds,” Williams said. “I’ll take on Bernard Hopkins or Joe Calzaghe but I have to get past Winky Wright.”
Getting past Wright is no easy task. It’ll take a first rate plan which will be concocted by his manager/trainer and father figure George Peterson. “George watches all the tapes. The game-plan is made up by him. I just go in there and execute it,” Wiliams said. Peterson has been in his life since he was a teenager when he first walked into his gym. “We have like a father and son relationship. He taught me everything and he wants me to be successful. Everything I am is because of his influence. He taught me about being a boxer and a businessman.”
Williams has been preparing for a future without boxing by buying up major pieces of real estate like apartments and houses. He feels he owes it to his son and daughter who beam when discussing their father’s work with friends. “They tell their friends and teachers at school whenever I’m going to fight,” Williams said. “They love it.”
On April 11, Williams plans to live up to his nickname. “The fans can expect to get what they always get. I’m going in there to throw a lot of bombs and try to win impressively,” Williams promises. “This is more than a fight for recognition. It’s a fight for my future and the future of my kids. What’s more motivating than that?”
Paul “The Punisher” Williams takes on Ronald “Winky” Wright on April 11 from the Mandalay bay in Las Vegas. HBO will televise. Also on the card will be heavyweight contender Chris Arreola taking on Jameel McCline.