Paul Williams continued his climb into mainstream popularity and the top of the boxing pound for pound ranks by thoroughly dominating respected and crafty veteran Winky Wright.
Williams was just a few years ago fighting at welterweight. And he still says he can make that weight and would do so happily to get a fight with a big name opponent there. However, the big names at 147 pounds don’t want to face Williams because of the stylistic problems he presents. He’s huge for that weight, and with an 82 inch reach, he’s actually large for just about any weight class he would choose to compete in.
Winky Wright found out the hard way last night that even at middleweight he can present an enormous stylistic challenge. Williams fought as he always fights, throwing close to 100 punches per round and smothering the other man. Despite his size, he can effectively fight in close and chooses to do so often.
Wright seemed to win the first round of the fight as he landed several crisp, clean shots to Williams’s face. It looked as if maybe, just maybe, the 37 year old who had been inactive for over 18 months would pull another magic victory out of nowhere. But round 1 was the only round that Wright won on my scorecard. The judges agreed with this view of complete domination, with one judge saying he lost every round and two saying he lost all but one.
From the second round on it was clear that Williams had a work rate that Wright could not keep up with. Winky thrives when he lets his opponent hit him, blocks most of the shots and then counters. However, with Williams launching his shots from halfway across the ring and never stopping for a breather to give Wright a chance to counter, he could never seem to effectively get off.
When Wright did land a good shot, it was lost in the mix as Williams would throw 10 punches before and after. It was a fight that Winky had no chance to win on the scorecards. Unfortunately for him, he’s not a big puncher and Williams has grown stronger as he has moved up into higher weight classes.
Credit should still be given to Wright’s performance. He never stopped trying and he put up a good scrap, he was just completely outmatched by the physical presence and the style of Paul Williams. He gave his respect to Williams’s performance but the HBO crew did not respond in kind by giving their respect to him.
They seem to want to push him out the door and into retirement – surely because of his stubborn negotiating tactics. But in doing so they are losing a fighter who is still one of the premier tacticians in the game and would still be a stern match for any middleweight on the planet.
As for Paul Williams, well, what can’t this guy do? Still only 27 years old and the master of several weight classes, he has the tools to beat anybody he faces. It’s now a serious possibility that Williams can take on middleweight champions Kelly Pavlik and Arthur Abraham, although Williams has stated as his priority getting a fight with Shane Mosley back at 147.
Whatever direction he takes, Williams is a must watch boxer and has entrenched himself into the pound for pound ranks.