Paul “The Punisher” Williams looks to make statement against unbeaten and world ranked Cuban defector Erislandy Lara (15-0-1, 10 KOs) in a battle of southpaws. Williams-Lara headlines the HBO telecast in a scheduled 12-round bout, which also features WBA #1-ranked Rico Ramos (19-0, 10 KOs) challenging World Champion, Akifumi Shimoda (23-2-1, 10 KOs) in a 12-round bout for the Tokyo native’s WBA Super Bantamweight Championship. Chris Arreola and Friday Ahunanya will also engage in a 10-Round Heavyweight bout and Jhonny Gonzalez will take on Tomas Villa in a 12-Round battle for the WBC Featherweight Championship. Yesterday, the fighters held the final press conference for the bout, and you can take a look at what they had to say and a large photo gallery from the event right here.
Williams – Lara Presser Photos
Fighter & Team Quotes
KERY DAVIS (HBO): Antonio Margarito. Carlos Quintana twice. Kermit Cintron and a failed fight against Kelly Pavlik. When you think about that list of names – no one has fought that level of competition Live on HBO in the past few years other than Paul Williams. Needless to say, Paul Williams is a warrior and that’s why we like Paul Williams fighting on HBO, on that single trait alone. And he does have tremendous boxing skills. And he’s coming back against a guy who is a former Cuban national champion who won over 300 amateur fight (310-10) and a favorite to win Gold in 2008 Olympics before his defection to America.
CHRIS ARREOLA: This is great man. I am a fighter and I love to fight. I am not a pretty dude but I love a fight. I am an entertainer and so are all the boxers. That’s what we are paid to do. All of us up here, we are all fighters. I hope everybody pays for their ticket, everybody pays for their HBO cable. You guys better pay for it because that puts money in our pockets too. Me and Friday, on Saturday, are going to put on a good show.
DAN GOOSSEN ON CHRIS ARREOLA: I think it was very important to get Chris out here in front of the east coast, in front of the writers out here and to see how he’s taking the reign in becoming an elite heavyweight. When we sat back and listened to Larry Merchant and I heard some of the comments he made and they were correct. You hate to hear it, but they were correct. All I could think about was Chris because we know what he does in that ring but one of the things that I really want you to take notice of on Saturday night is that Friday is not going to lay back there. He’s got a lot of pride and as we know he is very durable and very tough but I believe what you are going to see on Saturday in Chris Arreola are the combinations that were lacking when he was fighting Adamek, when he was fighting Klitschko. When he has his combinations going and his speed going he is one of the most devastating heavyweights out there.
RICO RAMOS: This is something real big for me. I trained real hard for this. This is my life. I worked 16 years for this. I want to thank Shimoda for this opportunity but on July 9, I have to take that belt home with me.
DAN GOOSSEN: I want to welcome to America and for the first time a world champion from Japan will defend his title on American soil…Akifumi Shimoda.
AKIFUMI SHIMODA: This will be the first time a Japanese champion has defended his belt in the United States and I am very grateful to be here. I look forward to a very exciting fight and take the belt home on Saturday.
DAN GOOSSEN: This is a great challenge that has been place in front of Paul Williams. Although a lot of people would like to see Martinez-Williams III – Paul, George ourselves and Al – that thing has a course to take before we get there. I would like to introduce the person who has spent the most time with Lara –
DAVID ITSKOWITCH: I would like to thank Paul Williams, George Peterson and their entire team. Also, I would like to acknowledge members of team Lara before I introduce the fighter… His assistant trainer, Genaro Alarcon, Edward Jackson, Lara’s strength and conditioning coach, Miguel Diaz who is going to serve as the head trainer in the ring this weekend because Lara’s head trainer Ronnie Shields has a previous engagement with a fighter he was unable to break away from. The entire camp has been run by Ronnie Shields but Miguel Diaz will take the reigns the night of the fight.
If you look at Williams and his resume, it is a pretty impressive one and Lara as a professional doesn’t have the experience that Williams has but what everyone in just looking at his records over looks is that he grew up in the Cuban amateur system and was considered one of the best fighters to come out of that system.
Also of Lara’s 320 amateur fights, I feel its important to recognize that he only lost 10 of them. So even though he only has 16 professional fights, he is experienced way beyond his years and going back to when he had about 8 fights his team was talking world title. So this is a fighter that is experienced beyond
his years, he has Cuban national championships, world championships under his belt. This is his opportunity. This is it. I thank Paul for giving him this opportunity but he’s facing the super bowl. He’s on HBO, he wants to look good, he wants to win and he’s the underdog. And as Louie DeCubas has mentioned, 2011 is the year of the underdog thus far so it’s not a bad year to be an underdog.
LUIS DECUBAS JR (Team Lara) – We have been training for this fight for 8 weeks. We know Paul Williams and everything he’s got, he’s a relentless fighter but he is also vulnerable. We are going to have a surprise for Paul. This has been the year of the upsets so I think you need to tune in on July 9.
ERISLANDY LARA: I have had a great training camp. I would like to thanks Paul Williams for giving me this opportunity. I am ready to go and on July 9 it is going to be a war.
GEORGE PETERSON (Williams’ Trainer): Because of the support from you all, Paul has been very successful. I hate hearing the tern ‘this is going to be a good fight,’ because that doesn’t interest me – a good fight. What interests me is having a ‘W’ on my side. A good fight – we can abandon that. I have been asked quite frequently about this guy that Paul is fighting. I know that he has had over 300 amateur wins and he was an outstanding amateur. Well amateurs are all right, but this is a professional boxing match. That amateur record doesn’t matter to us one way or another.
PAUL WILLIAMS: I know this fight against Lara is going to be a hard, tough fight. I know Lara is going to try to capitalize on me – I am the biggest name he will have fought. So by beating me, that puts him right there on the top of the list. He is the new lion on the block and all that. You always see on TV how the young lions are trying to overtake the old lions, but this old lion isn’t ready to leave. So I am ready to put out 100%. We are going to have to go through the rain and get wet. We are going to have to go through the fire and get burnt. I am going to come out and fight and make it as rough and tough as it possibly can be. If he thinks he is ready to beat me to get to that level, he is going to have to drag me through the mud. I am looking forward to a rough fight. It is going to be exciting for the fans to see. I am going to be excited to see it too. I am just hoping that nobody gets seriously hurt…just hurt.
I have never been in a comeback fight. None of that talk would get under my skin. I never let anything like that worry me. To me it’s just another fight. Some of the top guys out there, like many Pacquiao, he lost a couple times. He didn’t have a comeback fight – he just comes back and fights. This is what we do. Guys that do have comeback fights, they are guys that don’t know themselves what they are doing. Win or lose, it’s just another big fight. I am going to bring it. You’re either going to get me, or I am going to get you.
The Championship night of Boxing is promoted by Goossen Tutor Promotions in association with Caesars Atlantic City and sponsored by Corona and Azad Watches, with the Williams-Lara bout in association with Golden Boy Promotions and the Ramos-Shimoda bout in association with Teiken Promotions and the Gonzalez-Villa bout in association with Del Pueblo Promotions. The Williams vs. Lara and Shimoda vs. Ramos bouts will be broadcast on HBO’s Boxing After Dark beginning at 10:15 PM ET/PT (delayed on the west coast). Tickets priced at $300, $200, $100 and $50 can be purchased at the Boardwalk Hall box office, or by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 736-1420 or online at ticketmaster.com.