Photos by Sumio Yamada
PAUL WILLIAMS vs SERGIO RIOS
Undefeated welterweight Paul Williams is showcased on ESPN2s Wednesday Night Fights when he meets Mexican Sergio Rios in a scheduled 10-rounder promoted by Goossen Tutor, and this is one of those fights where the main interest is not whether the prospect wins but how good he looks in achieving victory.
Williams, 24, is going to be a difficult opponent for most 147-pounders with his height (6ft 1in), reach and southpaw style. You might expect someone this tall to stand back and jab, because Williams has arms so long it looks as if he could almost reach out and hit an opponent from the other side of the ring. Those who have seen Williams, though, will know that he likes to press forward and throw lots of punches, and although I dont think you could call him a big hitter he can certainly overwhelm people at a certain level: he has stopped 20 opponents in an impressive-looking 28-0 record, and this includes nine first-round KOs.
Against sterner opposition, Williams has been unable to end matters early although it was no great surprise that fighters such as the sturdy Ecuadorian Olympic representative Luis Hernandez, cagey southpaw Terrance Cauthen and durable stayer Marteze Logan all went the distance.
The fight with Cauthen was disappointing with its frequent clinches but at least Williams seemed to be trying to let his hands go. In his last fight, Williams looked much more impressive, knocking out Alfonso Sanchez in the fifth. Williams lived up to his Punisher" nickname here, hurting Sanchez to head and body, and he was in with an opponent who can be dangerous because although the Mexican had twice been knocked out in one round he had stopped the well-seasoned Steve Martinez in 40 seconds in his last fight.
Sergio Rios, a 29-year-old from Oxnard, CA, is similar, on paper, to Alfonso Sanchez in that he seems to be a good puncher who does not catch too well. Rios has scored 16 KOs in his 18-2 record, but he was stopped in each of his losses in one round by Calvin Odom, a one-time prospect who could always punch, and then in two rounds, in his last fight, by former champion Vernon Forrest. I was ringside for his fight with Forrest in Las Vegas, and Rios was out of his depth and dropped twice by big right hands. However, Paul Williams is not a world-class boxer/puncher of the Vernon Forrest calibre.
I think that Rios could be better than suggested by his KO losses he was caught cold in one fight and he was in over his head in the other but I cannot give him a realistic chance against Williams.
The best we can hope for is that Rios puts up a good fight and goes some rounds, and this is a possibility. Williams seems willing to gamble a bit: he looks to open up on his opponents rather than playing it safe. This could give Rios the chance to hit him. The problem for Rios is that he is likely to be taking a lot more than he gives.
Williams simply looks the better class of fighter, he has momentum in his career and I think he will be looking to make another good impression in similar fashion to the win over Alfonso Sanchez.
I think he will do so, too maybe in five rounds once again.