By Norm Frauenheim
It was there, as evident as ever Friday when he came out of an elevator at the MGM Grand before the weigh-in for the Showtime-televised junior-welterweight fight between Canelo Alvarez and Josesito Lopez Saturday night.
Williams was in a wheelchair. But he made it sound as if that chair was a temporary vehicle until that day when he believes he will recover, perhaps enough to even fight again.
“I feel good,’’ Williams said. “This is a small thing for a giant.’’
Williams is in Las Vegas for a fight that was supposed to include him against Canelo before the accident in Atlanta left him paralyzed. In his brief comments to 15 Rounds and Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times, it wasn’t clear what his condition was.
But his confidence was unmistakable. Williams has faith that he will walk again in a path that might even take him up those steps, through the ropes and into the ring for another opening bell.
“I think I can come back,’’ Williams said. “Give it two or three years. I’ll come back.’’
If Williams had been Canelo’s opponent instead of the undersized Lopez in a Golden Boy-promoted bout, there’s speculation that rival Top Rank would have moved Saturday night’s other fight, Sergio Martinez-versus-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. for the middleweight at Thomas & Mack Center, to a different date, possibly Oct. 6.
The consensus is that Williams-Canelo would have been more competitive and marketable than Canelo-Lopez.
Weights from the MGM
About 90 minutes before the Martinez-Chavez weigh-in, Canelo and Lopez stepped on the scales. Canelo looked solid at 154 pounds, the junior-middleweight limit. Lopez looked a little soft at 153, his heaviest ever.
“I’m not as weak as I look,’’ Lopez joked a day before the weigh-in. “I just look skinny.’’
At opening bell, Lopez expects Canelo to be at 170, which would mean about a 10-pound advantage for the favored Mexican, who holds the World Boxing Council’s version of the title.
· Golden Boy announced a sellout Friday for the Canelo-Lopez featured card. Within minutes of the announcement, tickets were still available on Ticketmaster.
· Jose Benavidez Jr., an unbeaten junior-welterweight prospect from Phoenix, has been added to the Top Rank card featuring Nonito Donaire versus Toshiaki Nishioka at Carson, Calif., on Oct. 13. Benavidez is expected to fight Raul Tovar.
Monday, June 4, 2012. Paul ‘The Punisher’ Williams, wishes to send his sincere thanks and appreciation to his fans worldwide for their prayers, cards and wishes he’s received since his motorcycle accident just over a week ago. “I feel the love and support from everyone and it’s overwhelming, I am very thankful to all of my fans and friends who have rallied around me in a time when I need them the most”. Williams asks that all future letters and cards please be sent to: 3060 Will Rogers Place, Atlanta 30316.
LOS ANGELES, June 1 – After hearing the terrible news about former World Champion Paul Williams being paralyzed in a motorcycle accident this past weekend, WBC Super Welterweight World Champion Canelo Alvarez, who was scheduled to fight Williams in September, commented on the tragic situation.
“I am very upset about what happened to Paul,” said Alvarez. “I know that an accident can happen to anyone and right now the most important thing is for everyone to pray for his recovery.Paul Williams is a warrior who gives everything in the ring, but right now he is fighting the biggest fight of his life outside the ring. I extend my best wishes to him in his recovery and to his family as well.
“Paul will always be a champion and I am going to dedicate my September 15 fight to him and his family. God willing and health permitting, I want to invite him and his family to be ringside on September 15 in Las Vegas.”
After the unfortunate accident to former two division champion Paul Williams, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez will now take on James Kirkland on September 15th in Las Vegas for the WBC Super Welterweight champions that will be the headline bout of an HBO PPV card according to Dan Rafael of espn.com
“That’s not the way you want to get the fight, but it wasn’t like James wasn’t in the running in the first place,” said Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer. “You have to deal with injuries and setbacks even as severe and tragic as this one is for Paul.
“James Kirkland was always on the short list of potential opponents for Canelo Alvarez and it came down to two names, guys which are exciting and are known, and that was Paul Williams and James Kirkland,” Schaefer said. “When we were told James couldn’t fight until the end of September, that eliminated him as a potential opponent because it was important for Canelo and for us for the fight to be on Sept. 15, the Mexican Independence Day weekend, which is traditionally reserved for the biggest Mexican stars to fight on.”
“About a week ago, I was informed by (Kirkland co-manager) Michael Miller that James had made tremendous progress and that he could fight sooner than we originally thought,” Schaefer said. “But there was nothing I could do because we had already agreed to a Williams fight.
“When the tragedy happened with Paul Williams, I called Michael to see if James had been medically cleared and he was and he very much wanted the fight. It was a matter of working out the numbers, which we did in the last few days. I’m excited because it is one of those fights where you can leave the judges at home. I would bet anyone this will end in a knockout, one way or the other. This is not going to the scorecards, and that’s what fight fans like.”
Schaefer said the card will be called “Knockout Kings” — which he said he got clearance to use even though that it is the name of a popular boxing video game series — figuring that Alvarez-Kirkland and the potentially explosive co-feature — a featherweight title bout between Mexican countrymen Jhonny Gonzalez (52-7, 45 KOs) and former junior featherweight titleholder Daniel Ponce De Leon (43-4, 35 KOs) — would end in stoppages.
“Gonzalez-Ponce De Leon is another barnburner where you can leave the judges at home because you know it will end up in a knockout,” Schaefer said. “We will look to add other fights to the card that we think will end in knockouts.”
“Canelo was very saddened,” Schaefer said. “He couldn’t believe it and was in shock. God-permitting and health-permitting Canelo told me he would like to invite Paul to be ringside but we don’t know if it is going to be feasible. But Canelo was really shaken up. He was speechless. We had to explain what happened a couple of times. It was a nice gesture for him to offer to fly Paul and his family out for the fight. Canelo believes Paul will always be fighter and a champion and he told me he is going to dedicate the fight to Paul Williams.”
New York, NY (5/29/12) – After reading reports that came out this weekend that Paul Williams was in a horrible motorcycle accident, which has left the former welterweight and junior middleweight world champion paralyzed from the waist down, a shocked and saddened middleweight champion, Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez commented on the tragic event.
“Upon learning of Paul’s injuries, I was deeply saddened,” said Martinez, who twice shared the ring with Williams, with their first epic battle being named the Boxing Writers Association of America’s “Fight of the Year” for 2010. “When you are in the ring with a real champion, you know it, and Paul Williams was a very great champion, in every sense of the word. Paul and his family are in my thoughts and prayers through this very difficult time.”
Former world champion Paul Williams was Paralyzed from the waist down due to a motorcycle accident that happened near his Atlanta home on Sunday.
In a statement to espn.com, George Peterson who is a Williams Manager/Trainer/Father Figure said “”They’re saying he won’t walk again or box again,” said Peterson, who flew to Atlanta from Washington, D.C., where they were training for Williams’ next fight, on Sunday. “Paul is in denial right now. It’s been that way with him. You tell him he can’t or won’t do something, and he wants to prove you different. So whatever the doctors say, he’s not listening. But they say that (walking and boxing) is not going to happen.”
Peterson said Williams, who lives about an hour outside of Atlanta, had ridden his motorcycle from his home to Atlanta to attend the Sunday wedding of one of his brothers.
Peterson said Williams, 30, is scheduled to have surgery Wednesday to stabilize the portion of his spinal cord that is intact and allows him to move his hands, arms, torso and head.
“The other part of his spinal chord is damaged and has eliminated his lower body movement,” Peterson said.
Peterson continued by saying that Williams is coherent and even joking while in his hospital bed.
Williams, who just signed for a major Pay Per View bout against WBC Super Welterweight champion Canelo Alvarez on September 15th.
Popular WBC Super Welterweight champion Saul Alvarez will defend his title against the dangerous former world champion Paul Williams to help celebrate the Mexican Independence weekend on September 15th in a bout that is ticketed for Pay Per View according to Dan Rafael of espn.com
The bout will take place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
“Canelo and Williams is done. Signed, sealed and delivered,” said Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer, who got the deal done on Wednesday. “I think Williams is the biggest name in the division we could get and he has been known for years as one of the most avoided fighters in boxing. He’s awkward, he’s tall, he’s a dangerous fighter and that’s what you need on a pay-per-view. You need to give fans fights where they don’t know who’s going to win the fight.
“So, yes, it’s a risk for Canelo because Paul Williams is a terrific fighter. But it’s also a dangerous fight for Paul Williams. Some people still underestimate Canelo Alvarez but he can compete with anyone and he wants to compete with everyone. People have to remember that Canelo is still only 21 years old, but if you want to earn a shot at Floyd Mayweather, you need to be able to pass this kind of test, this tall test.”
Originally, Golden Boy had looked to James Kirkland, an exciting brawler whom it promotes, as Alvarez’s opponent and offered him the fight. However, Kirkland suffered a shoulder injury in a fight in March, had surgery and will not be ready to go by Sept. 15. So they looked to Williams (41-2, 27 KOs), 30, of Augusta, Ga.
“Kirkland is not going to be able to fight in September,” Schaefer said. “I want to make sure he is healthy and ready to go before a fight like this. So now people are saying, ‘Why are you putting Canelo in with Paul Williams?’ Some people think we are nuts. But I know one thing — it’s going to be a good fight. These guys both come to fight. I think one of these guys will get knocked out. If it’s an exciting fight I don’t think there are any losers.”
“We’ve been looking for something of this magnitude. We’ll be prepared for it,” said Williams trainer George Peterson. “He is going to put on a boxing clinic against Alvarez. This is what Paul has been wanting. We know Canelo is a good boxer. He has good footwork, good power and the will to win. That’s what I think about Alvarez. But Paul has been in the ring with the best and done really well. Paul can get up for this fight. There’s been one or two fights he couldn’t get up for.”
“What has happened is a few people have written Paul off, have said that he’s on his last legs. We’re glad about that, or we wouldn’t get no activity at all,” Peterson said. “It’s gonna be a real interesting fight and Paul is excited about it. It’s an opportunity to show the boxing community that Paul Williams is back. He’s never ducked a fighter and when the bell goes ‘bing,’ the fans will see a very exciting fight. Boxing needs something like this where who the winner will be is a mystery.
“I wanted to get the fight done and now I’ll see what I will do as it relates to which network is involved in the pay-per-view,” Schaefer said.
By Bart Barry (Ringside)
CORPUS CHRISTI, Tex. – Paul “The Punisher” Williams burst on the scene years ago as a gangly, volume-punching giant whom no manager wished to match his fighter against. That made him entertaining. He is the same man today. But no one is entertained by it any longer.
In the main event of Saturday’s “Triple Threat” card from American Bank Center Arena, Williams (41-2, 27 KOs) beat Japanese super welterweight Nobuhiro Ishida (24-7-2, 9 KOs) by shutout scores of 120-108, 120-108, 120-108. Not one of the three judges scored a round for Ishida. And not one of the fans attending Saturday’s card seemed to care.
“This win feels really good,” Williams nevertheless said afterward.
Through the opening quarter of Saturday’s main event, an awkward nine minutes that saw the fighters’ limbs entangle, dropping Ishida twice on non-knockdowns, Williams was the slightly busier and more aggressive man, though Ishida gave little ground.
Round 4 found Williams finally landing effective punches, employing several times a right hook-left cross combination that backed Ishida up. After more of the same in round 5, Williams allowed Ishida to come inside in the sixth. Once inside, though, Ishida found that wasn’t necessarily where he wanted to be, as Williams, a much better in-fighter than his frame anticipates, continued to land.
And so it went.
As the crowd slowly deflated and American Bank Center Arena’s energy went away, Williams-Ishida went from main event to walk-out bout, regardless of the concerted effort both men made. When the final bell rang, the arena was quiet as it had been when the doors opened five hours earlier.
“We’re going to make it back to the top again,” Williams said, though by then the arena had emptied.
TAVORIS CLOUD VS. GABRIEL CAMPILLO
Dressed like a tiger, IBF light heavyweight titlist Tavoris “Thunder” Cloud walked into something of a lion’s den, Saturday, fighting Gabriel “Chico Guapo” Campillo, a tricky southpaw Spaniard, before a partisan-Spanish-speaking crowd, and emerging with his title but lots of controversy.
The three official judges disagreed on what happened in many of the rounds, turning in split-decision cards of 116-110, 111-115 and 114-112 for Cloud. The 15rounds.com ringside scorecard, too, had the match for the champion, 114-113.
“He was the busier fighter, and that is what the crowd here in Corpus Christi responded to,” said Cloud, in explanation for the crowd’s vociferous disapproval of the official result.
From the opening bell, Cloud (24-0, 19 KOs) wasted no time whatever, charging out his corner and cracking Campillo (21-4-1, 7 KOs) with a lunging right cross that dropped the handsome Spaniard in the fight’s opening two minutes. Cloud would drop Campillo again with a barrage of rights and lefts, 30 seconds later, winning the first round 10-7.
“He won the first round,” Campillo said afterwards. “But after that, I dominated.”
Campillo proved his mettle in the second round. Having risen from the blue mat twice in the opening stanza, Campillo outboxed Cloud, catching him with left uppercuts and right hooks from his southpaw stance and then outclassing him with slick movement in the third.
Rounds 4, 5 and 6 found Cloud, still bemused by Campillo’s tricky style, pressing forward with greater aggressiveness, no longer retreating to the ropes and trying to set traps. Still, Campillo had the better movement and more accurate punches, while some sting appeared to come off Cloud’s blows.
The fight’s most even round, its seventh, saw a cut over Cloud’s left eye begin to bleed and cause the referee to take a double look after each clinch. The blood flowed even more loosely in the eighth, after a sustained assault by Campillo backed the champion into a corner. Cloud fought back when pressed, but Campillo’s left-uppercut lead was a riddle Cloud never solved all night.
After a trip to the doctor’s corner midway through the 11th caused Cloud to fear the fight could be stopped on account of his left eye, Cloud increased his aggressiveness three-fold, narrowly winning the championship rounds on two of the three judges’ cards.
“I felt like I won the fight,” Cloud said of his effort.
CHRIS ARREOLA VS. ERIC MOLINA
If Texans circled one match on the American Bank Center card, if there was one fight that brought them out Saturday night, it was California heavyweight Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola (34-2, 30 KOs) against Texan Eric Molina (18-2, 14 KOs), and the match was excellent while it lasted. Unfortunately for fans, it lasted only 150 seconds, as Arreola, despite being hurt early, dropped and stopped Molina at 2:30 of round 1.
Arreola, who has lost at least 20 pounds from previous fighting weights, now appears somehow less menacing in his trimmer figure but nevertheless brings a row every time he steps between the ropes. Molina learned this harsh lesson after stunning Arreola 90 seconds into their match.
“I said before the fight that if I had him hurt, I would come in and try to finish, and I did,” Molina said afterwards. “And he caught me.”
Arreola has more class than his detractors are often wont to admit. He looks and talks like a face-first brawler, but this brash exterior belies a stellar amateur pedigree and an impressive ability to land seemingly blind overhand rights on contender-caliber heavyweights. After being backed to the ropes by Molina and forced to clinch, Arreola used a pair of such right hands to get Molina off him.
And then it was a walloping right hand that put Molina’s lights out.
“I did my best,” said Molina.
Arreola did better.
MALIK SCOTT VS. KENDRICK RELEFORD
The evening’s first undercard fight televised by Showtime Extreme, an eight-round scrap between undefeated Philadelphia heavyweight Malik Scott (33-0, 11 KOs) and Texan Kendrick “The Apostle” Releford (22-16-2, 10 KOs), saw a technically superior though light-hitting Scott preserve his ‘0’, decisioning Releford by unanimous scores of 79-73, 80-72 and 80-72.
Throughout the occasionally sober match, Scott tagged Releford with right uppercut-left hook combinations that snapped Releford’s braided hair upwards and leftwards but did not imperil him.
Scott has every punch in the boxing lexicon, and appears to commit to each one, too, but whatever the mysterious force that gives a prizefighter one-punch stopping power, Scott does not possess it.
The undercard ended well with a competitive four-rounder between two Texas lightweights. Corpus Christi’s Gregorio Gutierrez (5-1, 2 KOs) prevailed over Brownsville’s Hector Garza (3-5, 2 KOs) by three scores of 39-37.
Saturday’s fifth fight saw the evening’s biggest upset, when unknown New Orleans super middleweight Justin Williams (4-5-1, 2 KOs) decisioned local and well-known contender Alfonso Lopez (22-3, 17 KOs) by unanimous scores of 57-56, 58-55 and 58-55. Williams was faster and better throughout, dropping Lopez once and doing everything necessary to win a fair and well-deserved victory.
Before that, hometown welterweight Julian Barboza (2-0, 2 KOs) made decisive work of San Antonio’s Arturo Lopez (0-1). Lopez, making his professional debut, came out quickly and boxed confidently for the bout’s opening minute, but then Barboza began to take him apart with tight combinations, stopping him at 2:11 of the second round.
Saturday’s first match, a hesitant six-round affair between undefeated Washington D.C. light heavyweight Thomas Williams Jr. (7-0, 4 KOs) and Louisiana’s Kentrell Claiborne (2-5, 1 KO), went to Williams by three unanimous scores of 40-35.
Opening bell rang on a silent American Bank Center Arena at 6:22 PM local time.
By Bart Barry
CORPUS CHRISTI, Tex. – The banner behind the scale on the hastily erected stage read “Three of boxing’s biggest threats, seeking world supremacy.” Far as promotional taglines go, it wasn’t a most-ridiculous claim, though of course it was exaggerated. California heavyweight Chris Arreola then took the stage, and the force of his mass, or personality, made the centerpiece banner fall.
“It’s the spirits!” cackled promoter Don King.
“Motherf-ckin’ Zapata!” said Arreola, identifying exactly whose spirit he believed had dropped the embellished banner. Arreola’s guess was good as any.
So ended the prefight buildup of a week that saw a few open workouts and a Thursday press conference that featured a meandering history of Texas provided by none other than King, who referred to Mexicans as “wetbacks” in a sort of slave-ship-to-White-House way King intended to be evidence of empowerment but to which others later lent their own bad faith. Arreola seemed to respond, in small part, to King and his mini-controversy, Friday, when he shouted Emiliano Zapata’s name in a tribute to a Mexican revolutionary hero whose umbrage was nevertheless reserved for Mexican hacienda owners, not Texans.
The entire spectacle was a bit confusing. Originally scheduled to happen on the outdoor patio of a nearby restaurant, Friday’s “Triple Threat” weigh-in was moved, unbeknownst to any but friends and familiars, to a spot off the staircase of American Bank Center, the host venue for Saturday’s fight. There, the fighters mingled with the crowd, sitting in chairs and posing for pictures anxiously while awaiting a chance to make weight.
First on the scale was main-event opponent Nobuhiro Ishida of Japan, who weighed 155 pounds for his super welterweight match with Paul “The Punisher” Williams, who weighed 153 1/2. The fighters’ registering two different weight classes raised some quiet confusion about where on the scale the fight would happen. Super welterweight, apparently. Though, as Williams and Ishida will not be fighting for a title, Ishida did not have to make 154.
Following them were IBF light heavyweight titlist Tavoris “Thunder” Cloud – who made 175 pounds – and Gabriel “Chico Guapo (Handsome Boy)” Campillo, who weighed 173 1/2. Cloud, who is not a prohibitive favorite in their Saturday match by any means, was all dignity and composure before and during the weigh-in, belying the storm he brings with him in the ring. “Chico Guapo,” meanwhile, took the post-scale stare down as a good chance to look over the hundred or so gathered, with his dreamy eyes.
The card’s biggest draw, the aforementioned Arreola, was sixth on the scale, weighing 245 pounds. He was preceded by Texas heavyweight Eric Molina, who made 228. Immediately after Arreola cited Zapata and appeared trimmer than the man who was once a premium-cable headliner, he got in a stare-down shouting match with Molina that was 99 percent shtick and perhaps one percent genuine animosity. Arreola, for his Mexican roots, is expected to attract whatever crowd attends Saturday’s card.
Doors open at 5:30 PM local time, with first bell scheduled to ring at 6:30. 15rounds.com will have full ringside coverage.
CLOUD – CAMPILLO WEIGH IN
ARREOLA – MOLINA WEIGH IN