The Spotlight Is On: Dannie Williams Takes the Stage on Friday Night Fights
By Lou Catalano, Doghouse Boxing (Aug 12, 2011) Doghouse Boxing
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Dannie Williams

YouTube is a beautiful thing for a boxing fan. You can catch some historic fights, or catch a recent fight you may have missed. Sometimes, you can catch a prospect at work before many people know his name. Such is the case with “Dangerous” Dannie Williams, the 26 year old lightweight bomber from St. Louis. There isn’t much out there from him, but if you look you’ll find a one punch decapitation of poor Mike Maley. After this Friday night, you won’t need to search the web to find Williams.

He’s the co-feature on ESPN 2’s Friday Night Fights in the first televised fight of his career, in his hometown, in front of his friends and family.

No pressure.

Williams, who is 18-1, takes on Antonio Cervantes in a ten round fight, just over one month since his last fight, a unanimous decision win against Oscar Cuero. Williams has built up a reputation as a hard hitting boxer/puncher with a cinder block for a right hand, and he’ll finally be able to put it all on display in front of a national audience. I spoke to him this week about the upcoming fight and his future plans.

I’m excited; this is the fight I’ve been waiting on,” Williams said. “I’m looking forward to putting on a good show on ESPN, so that HBO and Showtime can get a good look at me too.”

If Williams is nervous at all, he certainly isn’t showing it. He has a relaxed demeanor that carries over into the ring with him. He looks like he’s right where he belongs when he’s between the ropes, and he doesn’t seem to be the least bit concerned about his first time in the spotlight.

I’m not nervous about the fight. I’m not really feeling any added pressure, I’m just going to stay focused and keep doing what I’ve been doing in the ring. Cervantes is a hard-nosed Mexican who comes to fight, so I’ll be ready.”

In his last fight, Williams defeated the aforementioned Oscar Cuero, giving him his first ten round victory of his young career. He won by a wide margin, although he did get hit quite often, especially after his hair ended up in his face for much of the later rounds. It wasn’t as bad as what happened to Paulie Malignaggi, whose drag-queen inspired frock nearly cost him the fight against Lovemore N’dou a few years back, but it bothered him enough that he’s taken steps to avoid another hair issue.

It won’t be an issue this time around. No more distractions, they can cut it off if it comes down to it.”

Good idea.

Williams has been an extremely busy fighter, in fact this will be his fourth fight this year. I asked him what was up next for him after Friday.

My goal is to have two more fights before the year is out. I want to crack the top five next year and fight for a world title. Guerrero, Rios, I want to take on the best guys at 135 and handle my business there, and then we’ll see.”

Williams certainly has the power to hang with anyone in the division, but his goal is to get a few 10-12 round fights under him to improve his stamina before taking on the elite. He didn’t need to be concerned with stamina earlier this year, when he fought Manuel Leyva in Youngstown. Leyva had just come off a close unanimous decision loss to the once great Joel Casamayor, and was thought of as a step up in competition for Dannie. He spoke before that fight of being patient and not looking for the homerun shot right away.

Leyva didn’t make it out of the first round.

What made the first round knockout even more impressive was the fact that the referee for the fight was Steve Smoger, who generally waits for autopsy results before starting the ten count.

Friday night, Dannie Williams will enter the ring for the first time with the TV spotlight directly on him. How he looks could determine the next phase of his career. A sensational performance should get him back onto a network quickly. It’s easy to envision Williams being on the big stage someday soon. Power punchers will forever be a hot commodity, and Williams certainly fits the profile. He’s another American fighter who’s overcome hardships to ascend to contender status, and boxing can never have too many tales of fighters like him rising to the top. Dannie Williams is perfectly content to let his fists get him there. .



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