Interview With Paul ďThe PunisherĒ Williams - ďIíll Do What I Do best - Punish!Ē
02.07.07 - By James Slater: Currently in preparations for the July 14th Antonio Margarito fight with his trainer George Peterson in Puerto Rico, Paul ďThe PunisherĒ Williams very kindly took time out to speak with this writer at the weekend. Here is what the polite and softly-spoken welterweight banger had to say.
Article posted on 03.07.2007
James Slater: I really appreciate your time, Paul. Firstly, how has training gone for the big fight?
Paul Williams: Oh, trainingís gone real well. The weightís coming off just fine now, and the sparringís been real good. Iíve had a great camp. The weather is beautiful here in Puerto Rico and we are all just looking forward to the 14th now.
J.S: A lot of fighters seem to be training in Puerto Rico lately. Why is that do you think?
P.W: Well, we were training in Los Angeles before, but it got quite cold there. So we came here, where itís great weather of course. We are using a gym thatís not too far from where weíre staying also. The facilities down here are great. The runningís been great too.
J.S: Have you been sparring with anyone in particular?
P.W: Oh, a couple of Puerto Rican fighters. Yeah, two in particular. Guys with, like 12-0 records. Theyíve been emulating Margaritoís fighting style.
J.S: Margarito is a fighter loads of other guys have seemingly avoided, yet not you. Why do you think he has been dodged, and why have you always wanted to fight him?
P.W: Well, some other fighters would rather take the easy way out. Thatís not me. Everyone knows he [Margarito] comes at you and wants to fight, so some fighters have preferred to pick easier opponents. I know what to expect. I wanted to fight him because beating him will put my mark down. I concern myself with legacy.
J.S: What type of fight do you expect from him?
P.W: Iím going to get my rhythm going and look for openings early. I know Iíve got to be smart early on. I expect it to be an exciting fight. I wonít look for a KO, but if one comes, it comes. I will throw a variety of punches at him. There will so many punches coming from me I donít know if heíll be able to take them all - all my versatility and pressure. My body punches will really get to him. If I donít KO him, though, Iíll really punish him. Iím not saying that to be cocky or arrogant. Thatís just what I have to do, and what I will do.
J.S: Have you watched tapes of any of his fights?
P.W: No sir. I donít really watch tapes. I have never watched them for any fight really. My trainer, Mr. Peterson watches tapes and then tells me what I have to work on in the gym. Then we go to work and devise a game plan for each fighter we face.
J.S: What would you say to anyone that perhaps feels you are taking this fight too early in your career. You are only twenty-five. Do you feel you are maybe rushing somewhat?
P.W: No sir. This fightís come right on schedule for me. I mean, Iíve been going for eight years now( actually six years as a pro). And I feel now is my time. You have to make the move [into world class] sooner or later. Weíve been on the road to the top right from the beginning and now I am definitely ready for this fight.
J.S: What is it about Margaritoís style that makes you feel you can beat him?
P.W: Everyone knows Margarito comes straight in. Iím going to exploit that - heís one dimensional. Iíll use my jab and stuff. He is too slow for me. Iím also bigger than him and I believe I punch harder than him and will be stronger than him. He can punch, too, but I think heís a guy who can give it but not take it. Like I say, Iím either going to KO him or Iím going to punish him for the full twelve rounds. If that happens, heíll wish it had been stopped earlier.
J.S: You are a tall guy at six feet, one. Do you feel as though you have a good chin for such a tall fighter at your weight?
P.W: Yes sir. If you train hard, like Iíve been training, you can take some shots. I believe you have to take some to give some in this game. But I donít think Margarito can take it as well as he can give it out. Iíve sparred with heavyweights [before now] so I feel like it doesnít matter who I get in the ring with.
J.S: Assuming you do win, and I know youíre extremely confident, what, or who, will be next for you?
P.W: All I want is to unify. So Iíll be going for the other belts at 147. Iíd like to fight either [Miguel] Cotto, or if not him then Floyd [Mayweather]. I want to fight the best and be the best.
J.S: Speaking about Floyd. Do you think he will fight again, or stay retired?
P.W: After I beat Margarito, he WILL stay retired!
J.S: You donít think heíd want to face you?
P.W: No sir.
J.S: A lot of fighters have been calling out our guy [Britainís] Ricky Hatton at the moment. If he moved back up to welterweight would you take that fight?
P.W: If it was offered to me, yes. But Hatton canít really fight at 147, we all saw that in his one and only fight atí47. And he moved back down afterwards. I heard about his win over [Jose Luis] Castillo but I didnít watch the fight. Heíd be too small for me, but if he won a title up at welterweight then Iíd definitely take the fight with him.
J.S: Do you think you will move up to light-middleweight one day?
P.W: Right now, I want all the big belts at welterweight. After that, if Mr. Peterson tells me to move up, Iíll look at going up. But not right now.
J.S: You said earlier that the weight is coming off you now. What weight do you walk around at when youíre not fighting?
P.W: I walk around at about 155, 156, something like that. I make 147 just fine. Iíll be strong at the weight for Margarito.
J.S: As I said, you seem very, very confident about July 14thís fight. Are you nervous at all?
P.W: No sir. Iím not nervous at all right now. On the day of the fight Iíll get the usual butterflies, but everyone gets that. Iím really looking forward to a great fight on the 14th. Iíve got to say, I feel really blessed to be getting this world title fight. Not all guys get a shot. There are a lot of fighters whoíve been professional longer than me that have never boxed for the world title, so Iím feeling blessed that Iím getting my chance.
J.S: Have you any prediction for the fight?
P.W: My prediction for the fight is just that I will win. I expect an exciting fight, but I do mean it when I say heís going to get punished. I mean, thatís what I do best, punish my opponents!
J.S: Best of luck. I really appreciate your time. Do you have any further comments?
P.W: Iíd just like to say to all my fans over there [in Britain] stay tuned and watch ďThe PunisherĒ come to the fore. This is my time right now. So hi to all my fans over there.
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