Sharkie’s Machine: Quick Redemption for The Punisher
By Frank Gonzalez Jr. exclusive to Doghouse Boxing (June 9, 2008) Photo © Tom Casino/SHWOTIME  
It was a weekend of early knockouts and Saturday night in Uncasville Connecticut was no exception, as former WBO Welterweight champion, Carlos “El Indio” Quintana (25-2, 19 KO’s) gave former champ, Paul “The Punisher” Williams (34-1, 25 KO’s) a rematch after beating Williams last February. It was southpaw against southpaw, one more time.

In their first fight, Quintana was elusive and landed good shots consistently through twelve rounds to win a
decision. This time, the six foot, one inch tall Williams took immediate control of the fight, used his height and his jab, followed by hooks that punished Quintana, who went down twice, the second time, Eddie Cotton (the referee), stepped in and stopped it at 2:15 of the first round, as it was clear that Quintana was done.

The Punisher is back!

For Quintana, it’s back to the drawing board. Quintana is a good boxer but seems uncertain under pressure. I saw that against Cotto and again against Williams. Williams fought smart, used his long jab and followed through with power punches that put Quintana down, and inside of three minutes put him self back in the top of the mix at 147. Williams is unusually tall for welterweight and will prove a force to be reckoned with.

After the fight, a very satisfied Williams mentioned that Luis Collazo (a southpaw) was one of his sparring partners, which was a wise choice for his preparation. Collazo, like Quintana, is a good boxer, that’s not too tall. Williams also made it clear that he wants to fight Cotto or Margarito.

Can you imagine? We’ll get Cotto vs. Margarito in July and the winner to fight Williams sometime around November or December? What a happy Thanksgiving or Merry Christmas that would make. Promoters, are you listening? And don’t put it on Pay-Per-View; give young fans and casual observers get a chance to see a great boxing at its best in a match that might build a bigger fan base for boxing in 2009.

Williams vs. the winner of Cotto vs. Margarito is the most logical match-up at the top of the division. Williams is a tall hill to climb for anyone at 147, as he’s probably the tallest guy in the division. Williams has good power, uses his jab smartly and has the potential to rule the division. Of course getting past Cotto, and a possible rematch with the very tough Margarito, will be no easy task. Williams is beatable, as Quintana proved last February and Margarito and Cotto are arguably better than Quintana in that they have more killer instinct.

How do you beat a tall fighter like Williams? On the inside, where he can’t get full extension on his punches and is liable to uppercuts or body shots. Styles make fights, so it’s not easy to handicap these match ups.

Cotto has evolved into a very effective, rhythmic boxer with good power, who pays special attention to the body. His power is respectable, his chin is decent. His style is relaxed and efficient. His confidence has to be at the highest level of his career. He seems most comfortable fighting from the outside and coming in and out to attack. That is not a good strategy for fighting Paul Williams, who would own the outside with his long reach. But Cotto’s mobility is like a dance with his opponents and through that rhythm, he finds openings and usually scores.

Margarito has decent boxing skills, but what defines him best is his tenacity. He has a good chin, hellacious stamina and a lot of variables to consider. Margarito gets stronger as the fight grows longer. He is by definition, a “fighter,” a guy who comes to kick your ass, one way or the other and though it may not be pretty, he commits everything he has to get the job done.

Margarito already lost to Williams in July of 2007, in a fight that saw Margarito unusually passive in the early rounds but better in the later rounds. Williams was able to control Margarito with his jab and Margarito did seem overly impressed by Williams’ height. Margarito is tall for a welterweight at five feet eleven inches. Though Williams strikes an imposing figure in the ring, being tall has its disadvantages to be exploited. Cotto or Margarito would have to employ a smart battle plans for facing Williams when the time comes.

2008 has been a good year for the Welterweight division. We now have three champions at Welter that actually do want to fight each other and that is refreshing! Who knows, we may even get the first unified Champion in all of boxing if the promoters let the winners of Cotto vs. Margarito fight Williams. It would be smart business if they do.

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