Trendy LA eatery Sisley Italian Kitchen in Sherman Oaks was the site for today’s final press conference in advance of Saturday’s battle between former 3-time world champion Paul “The Punisher” Williams (38-1, 27 KOs) and former welterweight world champion Kermit “The Killer” Cintron (32-2-1, 28 KOs) at the outdoor Home Depot Center in Carson, California. “It’s not personal, but he’ll be out throwing punches and trying to hurt me, and I’ll be trying to hurt him,” said Williams. “If he catches me with his best shot, I’ll still be standing. When I catch him with my best shot, look out. It may be a different (scenario).”
The scheduled twelve-rounder will be contested at 154 pounds, a division higher than what Williams still claims is his natural 147-pound weight.
In addition to the main event, promoter Dan Goossen introduced reigning WBO NABO Lightweight Champion Martin “El Brochas” Honorio (28-4-1, 14 KOs), who will drop back down to 130 pounds to take on 2004 Dominican Republic Olympian Argenis Mendez (15-1, 9 KOs) for the vacant USBA Junior Lightweight Title.
Seated on the dais were Williams and his trainer George Peterson; Cintron and his promoter Lou DiBella, HBO executive Kery Davis and Goossen. Also called up to say a few words about their title fight were Mendez and Honorio.
Following are quotes from Wednesday’s media event:
“I’ve been asked the same questions so many times about fighting in different weight classes, if I feel I am getting slighted, that sort of stuff, that my answers are almost like turning on a recorder and listening to it play, but only with my mouth moving.
“But, make no mistake; I don’t mind getting the attention and all the questions. I am confident and comfortable fighting in different weight classes and I will continue to do so for as long as I can and it is feasible.
“Whatever the weight is, my mindset is — and always has been — to fight to the end. I think that is my greatest advantage. I’m satisfied with the way things are going,
“Right now, Cintron is my main focus. The guy right in front of me is always my main focus. I don’t think about any other possible fights. If I’m asked, I’ll talk about it, but otherwise my sole concentration is my next fight.
“But, you know, my thing is I’ll fight anybody if the money is right.
“Saturday is going to be a real fight between two hungry guys doing their best to get their hand raised at the end.
“I hated training camp, getting up at 4 a.m. and working as hard as I did. But that means it was a great camp and I am in tremendous condition. I’m looking forward to making the most of my opportunity on Saturday and making Cintron pay for all the hours and hours I put in during camp.’’
“This fight has been in the works since 2006 when he was WBO champion and I was IBF champion. We were supposed to fight a unification fight back then. There’ve been talks three or four times since, but the time wasn’t right.
“Now, for me, the timing is perfect and I am very confident. You can call Williams a “feared” fighter, or whatever, but he’s just another fighter for me
“This will be an interesting fight because we’ve both overcome some obstacles to get here. Style-wise, it could be the Fight of the Year.
“I had a perfect training camp with no complaints. I am 100 percent physically and mentally and feel that — at the age of 30 — I am in my prime.
“Williams has two inches in height on me but I’ve sparred with taller guys in the gym and don’t expect it to be a problem.
“If I do my thing and be myself, use my skills and stick to the game plan, I’ll win it on Saturday.’’
“I’ve won a lot of belts and feel confident that I will get another one on Saturday. But this is a very important fight for another reason, too. I need to win to get a shot at the world title.
“I don’t know very much about Mendez other than what I’ve seen on his record and that he was an Olympian. But I am definitely not going to overlook him.
“The key for me in every fight is training camp and I had a great one and worked very hard. I am in tremendous shape.
“Of course, it’s always better to win impressively and make a statement, but the most important thing is winning the fight. I am looking forward to a very good fight.’’
“I have prepared very well. I feel really good. This fight should be a war and I’ll do whatever it takes to win.
“I feel fighting in the 2004 Olympics for the Dominican Republic has been a great advantage for me. Fighting internationally as an amateur has helped me as a pro in many ways. I feel comfortable in a boxing ring no matter where it is.
“I feel I am still learning but definitely improving, too. I’m definitely capable of winning this fight and that is what I am going to do.’’
“One of the great things about a Paul Williams fight is they always have that ability to become a ‘Fight of the Year’.
“Here we had Alfredo Angulo who was being groomed to be one of the top 154-pounders and who beats Kermit Cintron. Obviously, we saw the fight with (Sergio) Martinez, so whenever we talk about the future, it’s okay but it doesn’t mean we’re looking past the present, which is Saturday night. We know we’ve got a tough fight, but this is all part and parcel of going out there and saying ‘this is what we’re doing. This is why we’re doing it, and this is what’s going to happen when it’s done. But obviously, Kermit Cintron is going to do everything he can to change that.
“We know what we’re gonna get Saturday night and that’s our money’s worth when Paul Williams steps into that ring to go out there and show that he’s the best fighter pound for pound in the world today.
“The Honorio-Mendez fight is a 12-round fight for the USBA Junior Lightweight Championship and like Lou (DiBella) said, the winner of this is certainly going to position himself for a World Championship fight. But, this is what the sport needs, especially on the undercard fights.
“It’s a pleasure to promote Kerm. I’ve always thought he was a terrific talent. When I got an opportunity to see the people that sort of abandoned him after the fight with Margarito, I knew that he was still a young man and a young fighter with a tremendous future.
“One of the things about Kermit that I love which is the same thing I love about the guy over here (Williams), who I’ve been on the other side of the ring from a lot of times but I’m a big fan of: Paul Williams is a warrior; Kermit’s a warrior. They are two consummate athletes. These are both guys that could have success in almost any sport they would have selected. And they’re both warriors. They get in there; they fight. Not only do they fight, they fight who you ask them to fight.
“I think you’re going to see a war on Saturday night, partially because neither one of these guys knows another way. They’re gonna get in there; they’re gonna throw it down and try and hurt one another. They’re gonna have fun in there and throw caution to the wind because they are two great champions.
“I think I’m gonna once again walk away with the champion.”