Feature Story

Williams: I won legitimately

Big Joe Miranda

By Francisco Salazar

As if boxing has not seen enough unusual occurrences inside or outside of the ring, Saturday night at the Home Depot Center in Carson could be another chapter added to the book of oddities in boxing. Paul Williams won a bizarre and unsatisfying four round technical split decision over Kermit Cintron on Saturday night. Unsatisfying that a bout where fireworks were expected early and often brought about boos from the crowd. Bizarre for the way the fight ended. That would be an understatement. Nobody really liked the way the fight ended. Especially Williams, who was hoping that a victory over Cintron would get him a fight with Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, or another top fighter. Instead the outcome pushed for a rematch between the two hard-hitting fighters.

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Williams almost was apologetic for the outcome, saying he would do better and give fans their money’s worth. As for the fight, he explained it was only a matter of time before he was going to impose his will on Cintron, despite the slow start.

“The fight was starting to get good,” said Williams, who has stated that he can fight in three different weight classes. “He did catch me with a nice shot. Everything started heating up. The game plan was to sit back and find a rhythm.”

The fight indeed was starting to build up to what reporters and fans has expected. Both fighters traded heavy punches for the most part in the fourth round before the unusual ending where Cintron flew threw the ropes alas a Mexican luchador. Cintron landed on a table, eventually falling to the hard tennis court floor.

Although Cintron repeatedly stated he was able to continue, the ringside physician, Dr. Paul Wallace, recommended for the fight to end.

Promoter Lou DiBella did not understand how the fight would end as a technical decision when the fight did not go four full rounds as stated with the Association of Boxing Commissions. However, as the fight was under the California State Athletic Commission, the fourth round was scored.

“The fight should have been ruled a no-contest,” a visibly upset DiBella explained. “Paul Williams is a great fighter, but my guy (Cintron) hurt him. I have no disrespect for Paul, but I feel Kermit was robbed by circumstances tonight. How can you score a three and a half round fight? If that’s the case, then I thought my guy won the fight three rounds to one. There should be a rematch.”

When talk of a rematch was brought up, Dan Goossen, Williams’ promoter, felt that “there was nothing compelling in the Williams-Cintron fight to see a rematch.”

DiBella was quick to disagree, which brought about a few tense and heated moments between the two of the bigger promoters in the sport.

Williams himself never thought he would be involved in what would become an incident that will more than likely be repeated over and over on ESPN and Fox Sports. Still, he had a positive outlook on what happened and the fight itself.

“I only saw something like that with Bernard Hopkins and Robert Allen. That’s just how the cookie crumbles. If they want to do it again, then we’ll do this again. I was never hurt. I’m a warrior. I feel like I won the fight legitimately.”

While the official outcome should not change the theory that Williams is a legitimate top pound for pound fighter, it did leave more questions than answers as to in which direction Williams’ career should go.

A rematch against Cintron?

A rematch against middleweight title holder Sergio Martinez?

Exploring fights at 147 pounds?

Williams is never in a bad fight and is in the peak of his career. As for Cintron, he called Lou DiBella stating that he was okay. A Williams-Cintron rematch would be the most desired answer, but Goossen will not be holding his breath on that idea.

“We want the biggest and the best fights for Paul,” said promoter Dan Goossen. “If the public wants to see a Williams versus Mayweather fight, then we will work to make the fight happen.”

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