"Paul Williams Impresses In Shutout Victory Over Ishida."
That was a headline of one of the leading papers in the U.S. the morning after Paul Williams' 41-2 (27) 12-round unanimous decision victory over Nobuhiro Ishiba 24-7-2 (9) this past Saturday night. However, Williams didn't dominate the way the scoring would lead one to believe if they hadn't seen the fight.
Williams won at least 11 of the 12 rounds, on that there can be no doubt. But Ishida was not only in every round, he scored plenty himself and Williams didn't leave the ring unmarked. The scores of 120-108 on all three judges cards clearly indicate points domination, but Ishida wasn't outclassed or outworked. It was more a question of Williams being more aggressive, initiating the exchanges, and landing the harder punches. So he'd win every round, but never dominate.
What I saw this past weekend in Paul Williams is a fighter who's slowly but surely throwing his career away. And if he continues to do so it'll be one of the rare instances where a world class championship fighter the likes of Williams didn't reach his potential that wasn't due to an overindulgence in drugs, booze or women. That's a rarity in boxing, regardless of the era or generation in question.
Williams was the same fighter against Ishida that he's been for the past two and a half years. He's fortunate that Ishida is predictable, slow and unimaginative offensively. And even at that, Paul took more punches than he should've. Actually, Williams gets hit with virtually everything and isn't that big of a puncher to make every fight a war. Other than him initiating the exchanges, he didn't really separate himself all that much from the fringe contender Ishida.
Paul continues to fight small and often leans in and pulls out unprotected. As it was stated here prior to the fight, these are correctable flaws and basics. Then again, only if the fighter cares to do so. Which based on Williams' post fight comments, that doesn't seem to be the case. And that's unfortunate because he's capable of beating every fighter in boxing weighing between 147-160, including those with the last names Martinez, Mayweather and Pacquiao.
As everyone can see Paul Williams is a gifted and talented fighter. He has a great work ethic, loves to fight and isn't afraid to work. His conditioning is spectacular and he's fearless. This is a guy who suffered what could've been a career ending knockout at the hands of Sergio Martinez in their rematch, yet hasn't fought glove shy since. Paul shook the KO loss to Martinez off as if it never happened and fights without the least bit of trepidation. That says a lot about his constitution, but maybe in his case that's a detriment because he hasn't learned from getting caught so cleanly and stopped.
It's hard to envision Williams being around that much longer if he doesn't abandon his stubbornness and inability to learn some of boxing's simpler principles that can make all the difference in the world. His size, conditioning and toughness will take him far, just not as far as he should eventually end up going.