Sharkie’s Machine: Carlos Quintana Conquers Tall Paul Williams

carlos quintana10.02.08 - By Frank Gonzalez Jr.: Congratulations to the new WBO Welterweight Champion, Carlos “El Indio” Quintana (25-1, 19 KO’s), who challenged Paul “The Punisher” Williams (33-1, 24 KO’s) and came up big against the biggest, most feared fighter at Welterweight. Who really thought that the man who quit on his stool after five bruising rounds with Miguel Cotto would be the man to beat the man nobody wanted to fight. Williams’ phone will be ringing off the hook now.

Maybe Paul Williams just had a bad day or is not accustomed to fighting other skillful Southpaws but whatever it was, the story of this fight was Quintana’s left hand and his ability to move in and out of range to tag Williams with clean punches all night. I want to give a shout out to the Judges for their honesty in scoring this fight. This is good for boxing..

Sporting a Mohawk, Paul Williams entered the ring weighing 164 pounds after officially weighing in at 146. Sporting a serious case of five o’clock shadow, Carlos Quintana came in at 158 and he had a plan. He studied the Williams Margarito fight and thought that if Margarito could hit Williams, he would hit him more. And he did.

After Paul Williams beat “the man no one wanted to fight,” (Antonio Margarito) last July, Williams developed a mystique of his own and in today’s boxing, image is everything. Even the mighty Floyd Mayweather Jr. dismissed the question of fighting Williams, saying he has nothing left to prove and he’s going to be a promoter now (except for an extra multi-million dollar purse to fight De La Hoya again). The blatant ‘business trumps competition’ mentality of today’s fighters is truly inspirational. Where yesterday I thought Williams vs. Mayweather Jr. had to happen, now, I’m not so sure Williams really is as good as I thought he was. He might even get a call from Floyd after his lack luster performance Saturday night.

Aside from his convincing win over Joel Julio in June of 2008, Quintana was, until last night, best remembered for his embarrassing loss to fellow Puerto Rican, WBA champion Miguel Cotto in December of that same year. After being dominated for five rounds Quintana quit on his stool. He didn’t fight for another 13 months when he returned to the ring for a tune up fight with 23-18 Christopher Henry. He won by TKO in four before stepping way back up to face the likes of “The Punisher.” Not known for his stamina, Quintana looked ready for tall Paul when the first bell rang to start the fight. Quintana had everything to gain fighting the “man nobody wants to fight,” redemption and a World Title that will make him lots of money the next time he fights.

The Fight

Round One

An action packed round with Quintana showing no fear of Williams. Quintana was able to land clean shots, mostly left hands. Williams landed some jabs and was imposing as he stood so much taller than Quintana and referee Jack Reis. There were a lot of exchanges and Quintana was getting the better shots off consistently. Williams’s lengthy arms were too long to be effective at the distance Quintana was affording him. Quintana landed a clean uppercut to the face of Williams. 10-9 Quintana.

Round Two

Quintana started out landing a clean right and was generally landing the better punches. Williams was having trouble landing anything more than little arm punches with little power. Quintana landed a flush left that stunned Williams, who was unable to hurt Quintana because Quintana was always quick to slip under and away from the much taller Williams. Quintana simply out boxed Williams. 10-9 Quintana.

Round Three

Williams revved up the aggression and pressured Quintana. They both scored in spots during exchanges. Williams looked awkward at times as Quintana showed superior defense and always managed to land a right, overhand left combo as they turned. As good as Quintana was doing, he did look a bit tired, especially so early in the fight. 10-9 Quintana.

Round Four

Quintana scored immediately to start the fourth round with another left to the face. As they boxed, Quintana landed his right hook a few times. Williams picked it up and landed some decent shots late in the round as he pressed the action as Quintana was constantly moving. Quintana did land the better shots and it was a close round but Quintana landed more often and boxed more effectively. 10-9 Quintana.

Round Five

Quintana landed a good body shot early. Williams was in excellent condition and showed a great chin considering how often he was being hit. Williams kept the pressure on but could only manage to land grazing punches. Before the round ended, Quintana landed another right, overhand left combo. Quintana’s movement kept Williams out of sync. 10-9 Quintana.

Round Six

Williams finally landed a big left hook that stunned Quintana, who was looking tired. Quintana landed that same combo of right, overhand left to the face and was successful. Williams was always too close or too far to put anything on his punches, which were most times, ineffective. Williams was busy and being aggressive but Quintana’s movement, slick offense and timing continued to be the difference as round six came to a close. 10-9 Quintana. A shutout so far on my card.

(Williams corner instructed him to put non stop pressure on Quintana and to use his jab more to set things up.)

Round 7

Williams pressured Quintana and was landing soft punches. Quintana landed a nice right uppercut. Williams’ nose bled but he kept moving forward and eventually landed a clean right to the face of Quintana, who was starting to hold more often since it was a good way to score inside and get some oxygen in the process. Williams was mostly throwing arm punches, working hard and even managed to catch Quintana with some decent shots in the last moments of the round. It was Williams’ best round of the fight and I gave it to him. 10-9 Williams.

Round Eight

Williams was more intense in round eight, which saw him land more arm punches and grazing shots that weren’t hurting Quintana, but they were scoring. Quintana was fighting lazy, moving away and coming back with a bit less steam than earlier. He did land a good shot to the body early on. Williams is tough, he took all Quintana could deliver and never looked shaken. He was cut over his left eye but that wasn’t the problem so much as he simply couldn’t get into any kind of sustainable groove. Williams was working harder and out hustled Quintana in the eighth. Quintana landed a clean left then a clean left hook but it wasn’t enough to win the round. 10-9 Williams.

(Between rounds, Quintana’s face looked unmarked but he looked exhausted. Williams’ eye was being attended, bleeding from a gash on the right side, his left cheek swollen but he looked fresh and ready to go.)

Round Nine

Quintana looked sluggish but landed a straight left then a left hook. Williams chased him with pressure and had a few good moments. Quintana started tasting leather as Williams mounted a respectable attack until Quintana found his face with that same right, overhand left combination that was working all night. Williams was definitely in better shape at this juncture of the fight but he still couldn’t find an answer to Quintana’s effective counter punching. Quintana landed a few more lefts as Williams kept coming forward. 10-9 Quintana.

Round Ten

Williams was landing more often than before but still without much pop, mostly because of the in and out range presented by Quintana, who continued to do more of the same; landing counter punches that were scoring points. Williams did use his jab effectively for a while but Quintana found a way away from it. Williams kept pressing but Quintana’s defense and counter punch tactic was the difference again. Williams was now cut over both eyes. 10-9 Quintana.

Round 11

More of the same, with Williams pressing and Quintana moving and looking for counter opportunities, which came often. Quintana’s punches were clean, Williams’ were not. Quintana was landing at a very high percentage and clinching when Williams threatened to change things. Williams’ defensive skills are nothing to brag about. Again Quintana landed several left hands in the waning moments of the eleventh round. 10-9 Quintana.

(Quintana’s corner told him he had to win the final round, they probably figured they wouldn’t get a fair shake with the Judges against the big star on the rise, Paul Williams.)

Round Twelve

Quintana suddenly looked energetic, bouncing around and taking a few shots in the process. Williams was busier and obviously aware that he needed a great round to lend credibility to any potential gifts by the Judges. The truth was, Williams needed a knockout to win. Though he won the final round with a gallant effort for the full three minutes, it wasn’t enough to win the fight. 10-9 Williams.

Quintana stood up on the corner ropes after the final bell sounded and the crowd erupted with cheers of approval. Strangely, HBO’s Harold Lederman had it 115-113 for Williams. Maybe Harold was having as bad a night as Williams was. The Official Judges scored it 115-113 and 116-112 twice all in favor of Carlos Quintana.

Amazing! They got it right.

* *

During the post fight interview, Quintana credited Paul Williams as a good fighter and said he might have knocked him out but was having problems with his breathing (he was winded!). When asked what he wanted to do next, he said he was going to celebrate for now and think about his future afterwards.

Williams was asked what happened, and if he felt overconfident coming into this fight and he said, “I’m never overconfident and I wouldn’t take anything away from Quintana. He showed up tonight.” He was clearly disappointed with his performance. When asked what Quintana did to throw him off his rhythm he said, “Quintana didn’t do anything to throw me off my rhythm. Quintana was able to execute his game plan and I didn’t execute mine because I didn’t go to the body enough and—it was just one of those nights where I didn’t perform like I normally perform.”

This loss should be beneficial to Williams, who will study the tapes and hopefully correct some of the flaws he exposed Saturday night. Maybe he would do well to move up to the 154 pound division where he’d be stronger.

On the under card, top welterweight prospect Andre Berto (21-0, 18 KO’s) made easy work of Germany’s Michel Trabant (43-3-1, 17 KO’s) who rarely threw punches and quit on his stool after the sixth round in what looked more like bad match making than Berto being all that dominant a fighter. Berto has some skills, he’s energetic, throws lots of combinations and can excite the crowd but his people have to come up with better competition than guys like Trabant, who never looked like he was there to win the fight. For today’s fighters that fight less than three times a year, this was a terrible waste of time for Andre Berto…and for the fans watching.

Andre Berto vs. Paul Williams would be an interesting match up and a great way for Williams to shake off the sour taste from the Quintana loss. For Berto, he might want to practice fighting southpaw, who knows, maybe Williams isn’t as good as we thought he was? Other than Margarito, who has Williams beaten worthy of mention? An old Sharmba Mitchell, who’s what, five feet, four inches tall? Maybe his TKO win over Walter Matthysse, who went on to lose two of his next three fights?

Congratulations to Carlos Quintana, the new WBO Welterweight champion, who proved that speculation don’t mean jack. Nobody expected him to win and yet he found the way to pull it off. The bottom line is that nobody can beat anybody until they actually get in the ring and do it.

When Carlos Quintana finishes all the celebrating, he’s going command some big paydays after what he accomplished Saturday night. He deserves it.

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Article posted on 11.02.2008

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