Story and photos from Gary Purfield in Atlantic City, NJ
Paul Williams walks away with a win but it was hardly convincing. After twelve grueling rounds the Aiken South Carolina native Paul “the Punisher” Williams took a majority decision over Erislandy Lara in the main event of an HBO televised feature. Two judges scored for Williams 115-114, 116-114, and the third saw a draw 114-114. Both fighters looked bruised and battered. Williams was worse off with blood streaming down his face from the late rounds on and Lara had a large welt on his left forehead.
Williams pushed the action throughout and Lara circled landing counters when Williams moved in. Lara’s game plan was clearly a product of watching Sergio Martinez’s KO of Paul Williams last year and he executed it well, but simply does not have the knockout power of the middleweight champ Martinez.
Ironically the Jr. Middleweight fight was won and lost on the inside and outside but not the way one would expect. From the outside the shorter Lara who was giving up several inches in height dominated the action. Lara punished the Punisher all night moving to the right and dropping in his overhand left cross. Williams simply cannot get out the way of a left cross from a southpaw. When the fighters were on the inside the six foot two lanky Williams landed on the smaller Lara with repeated blows. It is certainly rare where the shorter fighter dominates from the outside and the taller fighter wins on the inside but Williams has never fought tall despite his incredible height.
The reaction to the decision was mixed throughout the building. Fans, media, and other boxers I spoke with afterwards all disagreed on who deserved the decision. This writer gave the edge to Lara but it was a close fight (writers note: this writer had his head buried in the camera most of the night so my scoring is not the best tool on those nights) and to take a fight from Williams on a Goosen Promoted card is not going to be easy. Lara was able to land that overhand left all night flush and if he had really gone after it he may have been able to stop Williams by really sitting down on that shot and going for the Martinez déjà vu blast.
Williams 40-2 (27 KO) says he only wants two or three more fights and would like a rubber match with Martinez. Careful what you wish for. If he fights Martinez again likely it will end the exact same as their last fight. Between Sergio’s power and Williams’s love affair with eating overhand lefts that may be something Williams promoters should avoid.
The Cuban Erislandy Lara 15-1-1 (10 KO) has nothing to be ashamed of as he fought very well and put a former P4P fighter through hell in only his seventeenth pro-fight. The Cuban has a bright future with his slick style and impressive skills. Lara felt he won the fight and called for a rematch in his post-fight interview.
Rico Ramos 7 Round One Punch KO
Rico Ramos took the WBA Jr. Featherweight title from Japan’s Akifumi Shimoda with one quick punch in the seventh round. Through six rounds Shimoda’s quick hands, pressure, and slick style seemed to have him winning the fight but Ramos came on in the seventh. Clearly trying to change the tide of the fight in the seventh Ramos became the aggressor and pushed Shimoda backwards for the first time in the bout.
Then out of nowhere Los Angeles fighter Ramos unleashed a short left hook landing on the temple that sent Shimoda sprawling onto his back. Shimoda somehow rose but had no legs as he stumbled all over to be caught by referee Benji Esteves, who stopped the fight at 2:46 of round seven.
Shimoda 23-3-1 (10 KO) who lost his WBA strap, was down on the ground being attended to for several minutes, but did leave on his own. Ramos 20-0 (11 KO) gets a belt in his twentieth fight.
Arreola wins wide decision but fails to impress
The up and down heavyweight Chris Arreola continued his winning ways and lower weight by taking a unanimous decision win over veteran Friday Ahunanya 24-8-3 (13) on the untelevised undercard. Arreola 33-2 (28 KO) dominated the majority of the fight pushing Ahunanya backwards to land his heavy blows to the body and head. At the same time Arreola was fairly easy to hit and absorbed his share of punches evident by his bloodied nose by the late rounds.
The scores 100-90, 991-91, and 99-91 show an easy victory but Arreola was not overly impressive. While he easily won he seemed winded by the fourth round despite keeping his weight down at 236 opposed to above 255 where he was last year. The crowd who was looking for a big knockout from Arreola seemed disappointed at what they perceived as a lack of action.
If I am being optimistic I would say this was his fourth fight of the year, third in the last two months, so possibly the training and fighting is producing some fatigue. If going the other way I would say despite the lower weight he could be back to a lack of conditioning and was not prepared to maintain stamina.
Either way Arreola was not the non-stop punching machine that he can be when at his best. Instead it was more of a pressure effort with the jab and occasional flurries. That being said in a sad heavyweight division Arreola’s exiting style and fun personality should soon land him another title shot.
Gonzalez retains Title with Body Shot KO
Jhonny Gonzalez 49-7 (43 KO) retained his WBC featherweight title with a one punch body shot TKO of Tomas Villa 23-8-4 (14 KO) in the fourth round. Gonzalez was dominating the fight with superior boxing skills before ending things in the fourth round. Gonzalez was pressing Villa backwards when he landed the body shot. Villa crumbled to the canvas and was clearly in no condition to continue causing referee Eddie Cotton to stop the bout at 49 seconds of round four.
Gonzalez, who is trained by recent hall of fame inductee Nacho Beristain, kept the shorter Villa at bay with a stiff jab that set up his power shots that dealt out damage to Villa’s head and body. Gonzalez has the typical style of any Nacho fighter with good defense, solid technique, and punishing body shots.
Denis Douglin made a successful return to the ring following his first loss early this year to Doel Carrasquillo. Douglin took a unanimous decision over tough Philly Fighter Phil McCants 13-1 (8 KO) in a six round middleweight bout. Douglin was pleased afterward when I talked to him stating he beat him up for six rounds.
Philly supermiddlweight Thomas Lamanna 4-0 (3 KO) remained unbeaten with a second round knockout of Reggie Jenkins 0-1 in a scheduled four rounder. Lamanna was punishing Jenkins all across the ring and sent him to the canvas on a straight right in round two. Jenkins got to his feet, but only delayed the inevitable. Lamanna went after him immediately and while landing unanswered shots referee Randy Newman stepped in to stop the bout at 2:14 of round two.
In the walk-out bout popular Philadelphia super middleweight Dhafir Smith dropped a split decision to Cornelius White by scores of 59-55, 59-56, and 55-59 in a six round bout. Both fought hard and provided a good slugfest for those who stuck around after the main event.
White had the action early as Smith came on late but probably waited too long to make his push. White moves to 17-2 (15 KO) with the win and gains a valuable learning experience against the rugged Smith. For Dhafir he drops to 24-21-7 (4 KO) but showed why he is well liked in the tough city of Philadelphia. Despite early struggles he never stopped giving his effort and made it interesting with heavy combination punching in the late rounds.
- It was a loaded card with nine fights(three 12 roundsers and one ten rounder) including two title bouts. Honestly, it was too long. It was just too long a night and too many rounds to sit through.
- The ballroom of Boardwalk Hall which holds around 4,000 was not close to filled. For all of the power Williams’s camp has to continue putting him on HBO he still is not a draw at the gate.
For an extensive photo roundup of the night visit:
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