Paul Williams attempts to get back into junior middleweight and middleweight title contention when he takes on Japan’s Nobuhiro Ishida at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas on Feb. 18. Williams takes a 40-2, record into the bout with 27 KOs while Ishida will enter the ring with a 24-6-2 mark with nine KOs.
The 30-year-old Williams of South Carolina is a bit of a freak of nature in the junior middleweight division as he’s 6-foot-1-inch in height and has an 82-inch reach. He reminds most fans of Tommy Hearns due to his physique. He’s the former WBO Welterweight Champion, but gave the belt up in 2008 when he moved up in weight to the 154 lb. division. He lost that title to Carlos Quintana on a 12-round unanimous decision in February 2008 and then regained it via a second-round knockout four months later in the rematch.
His other loss came in November 2010 when WBC Middleweight Champion Sergio Martinez brutally knocked him out in the second round. Williams had beaten Martinez in a title eliminator a year earlier by a controversial majority decision. He went back down to the junior middleweight division and beat Erislandy Lara by another controversial majority decision last July.
Williams hasn’t shied away from anybody during his career and the southpaw has met and beaten the likes of former world champions Kermit Cintron, Winky Wright, Verno Phillips and Antonio Margarito, as well as Sharmba Mitchell, Walter Matthysse, and Sergio Rios.
The 36-year-old Ishida became an overnight sensation last April when the light-hitter sensationally knocked out American prospect James Kirkland in the first round in a middleweight bout. He followed it up with another first-round KO over newcomer Edson Espinoza. However, he has only nine knockouts in 32 pro fights. Ishida matches Williams in height at 6-1, but has a significant reach disadvantage at 72.5 inches. He’s a decent boxer who has fought most of his bouts in Japan, but doesn’t have much power.
Ishida might surprise Williams with his boxing skills and it looks like this one could go the distance unless Ishida has suddenly developed extraordinary power in the past year. Williams has long been considered an excellent boxer with decent power and is known for keeping active all three minutes of every round. He could be a little gun shy still considering the way Martinez knocked him out and his hesitancy to throw punches against Lara.
Williams needs a big win in this fight to prove his critics wrong and show them he hasn’t lost his skills while Ishida will be trying to prove his win over Kirkland wasn’t a fluke. This is a huge fight for Williams if he wants to get back to being regarded as one of the best in the world. When looking at the pure skill of both fighters Williams comes out ahead.
If he can get back to the form he was in three years ago Williams should win this fight. However, Ishida has never been knocked out so it’s likely to go the distance unless Williams lands a flurry of unanswered punches forcing the referee to put a halt to it.
Sportsbook 5dimes.com has the current odds of a Williams victory at -440 with an Ishida win at +350. Visit 5Dimes.com now to place your bet. And check out our other boxing betting previews for the upcoming weekend.