Sharkie’s Machine: Paul Williams Punishes Winky Wright
By Frank Gonzalez Jr., exclusive to Doghouse Boxing (April 13, 2009) Photo © German Villasenor  
Ronald “Winky” Wright (51-5-1, 25 KO’s) returned from a long layoff to face the Middleweight version of Paul “The Punisher” Williams (37-1, 27 KO’s) Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas. Wright officially weighed in at 157 and was an actual 165 entering the ring. Williams went from 159 to come in at 168. This suggests that Williams is probably not going back to 147, where he was dynamite. After two easy wins at 160, this would be Williams’ third fight at 160 and his best opponent therein so far in Winky Wright.

This was a bold match up for both guys but more so for Winky, since Williams is very tall, voluminous puncher that has been building momentum by staying busy. Williams throws punches in bunches from all kinds of angles. While Williams’ power seemed to carry well in the previous two fights, against Winky, it was Williams’ relentless offense that was the story of this fight.

Winky hadn’t fought since mid 2007, when he faced Bernard Hopkins in a fairly close fight where Hopkins was the busier man and consequently the victor. Paul Williams is probably busier than Hopkins and Wright put together, so this fight seemed easy to handicap. We all know that Winky is a crafty, defensive minded boxer that can neutralize great boxers with his slick defensive moves and ring smarts but Winky has never been much of a banger. Most times, even Winky’s offense looks like it’s done for defensive purposes. Williams on the other hand, is all about offense.

The first round was somewhat a microcosm of the entire fight, the only difference being that I thought that first round was even since Winky landed the cleaner punches but Williams landed four times as many if not more.

From the second round on, it was all Williams, dictating the pace, constantly in Winky’s face with jabs, uppercuts, hooks, crosses, you name it. Williams was always the aggressor and Winky did well to block many of those shots but some were penetrating his guard and as the fight grew longer, Winky was getting slower and was getting hit more often. Though Winky always managed to land a few clean punches, they were too few and far between to have won more than two of the twelve rounds on my score card.

Though Williams out-landed Wright in every round, and looked capable of going 20 rounds after all was said and done, he didn’t appear to have any noticeable power in this fight. Many times tagged Wright with big shots that didn’t seem to hurt him. Surely Wright has a decent chin but maybe somewhere in the balance of all his aggression, Williams decided to out-work Winky with less power and more volume. Whatever it was, it worked like a charm. This wasn’t the most entertaining fight I’ve seen this month but it was good work for Paul Williams, who looks like a tough proposition for anyone from Welter to Super Middle.

In the end, the official Judges scored it 120-108 and 119-109 twice, all in favor of Williams.

There were times during the fight when the crowd would chant, “Winky, Winky, Winky!” trying to cheer their man on but Williams was just too fast and too busy and frankly, this fight was a blowout loss for Wright, who at 37, has had a good career that appears to be winding down. He’s still going to be tough for a lot of fighters of respectable caliber but Winky’s best days are clearly behind him.

Williams was the top man at Welterweight after beating Antonio Margarito by Decision, followed by a loss to Carlos Quintana, who Williams went on to knock out in the first round of their rematch a few months later. After the Quintana rematch in mid 2008, Williams has fought three times at Middleweight, winning all three impressively. This seems to be a good weight class for him. Whether his power carries at the higher weight class depends on the quality of his opponents. Winky is top notch, past his prime or not. Williams punished him for 12 rounds.

So what’s next for Paul Williams? I’d like to see him fight Arthur Abraham, Kelly Pavlik, Felix Sturm or any of the top guys at Middleweight. There aren’t many notable fighters at Middleweight these days. Giovanni Lorenzo might make for a decent exhibition match.

Who Williams fights next depends on the politics of the promoters, so let’s hope they pick someone of quality that can deliver an exciting fight. For all his assets, Williams appears to have a few chinks in his armor. Anyone who throws that many punches has got to be open for counter punches very often. Winky isn’t the kind of fighter that beats a Paul Williams, he’s just not aggressive enough. Carlos Quintana left the blueprint for beating Williams. A good counter puncher with some pop is the prescription, someone willing to trade with Williams and test that chin. Kelly Pavlik is slower than Williams but stronger and probably a bit more technically adept. That would be a good fight but somehow, I doubt it happens.

Paul Williams beat Winky Wright so convincingly that his next fight should be against one of the top dogs at Middleweight. Any fluctuations back down to 147 would be suspect, since guys like Andre Berto, Miguel Cotto or the returning Floyd Mayweather Jr. wouldn’t fight him anyway—too dangerous. So what would be the point? At 27 years old, at six-foot, two inches tall, 147 pounds may be too draining for him now, as his body matures into a naturally thicker version that’s just right for 160 pounds and eventually, 168. That Williams came into the ring at an actual weight of 168, showing tremendous stamina and work rate for 12 rounds against a respectable Winky Wright makes a strong case that Middleweight is his proper division.

Winky was adamant about this not being his last fight. Winky is probably better than at least one of the “four champions” at Middleweight. At 37, he may have one or two good fights left in him. Maybe he can go down to 154 for a rubber match against the incredibly revitalized Shane Mosley, who owes Winky for two losses back in 2004. I bet the odds would be on Mosley for that one, if they could agree on a reasonable catch-weight.

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