Quintana/Williams: Now What?

carlos quiantanaBy Anthony Coleman: That is the question on the minds of knowledgeable boxing fans after Carlos Quintana defeated Paul Williams on Saturday. For the second time in less than a year we have a new WBO Welterweight champion, and another earthquake at the top of the division. Now we’ll have to sort through a new pile wreckage in order to conclude who is the best 147-pounder in the sport.

This was not supposed to happen. Going into the fight Quintana was an 8-1 underdog, and for good reason. 14 months earlier, he stepped into the ring with Miguel Cotto and he got the high holy shit beat out of him. It was the type of beating that made you wince every time Cotto landed a huge blow (like the left hook to the body he landed which sent Quintana to his knees). After the fight, I thought that Quintana wasn’t a top-tier Welterweight. I knew that he wasn’t an average fighter, as his fight with Joel Julio proved that he could really box. However, I thought he was an upper-fringe contender. While I knew that Williams had his technical deficiencies (i.e, his punches weren’t straight, he kept his hands too low and didn’t punch with full snap on his punches), I knew he would overwhelm Quintana with his volume punching and score the win.

Yet Quintana proved that I didn’t know anything about the outcome.

He continually gave Williams problems with his movement and he was able to score, for the first half of the fight at least, almost at will with his lead left cross. While Williams had his moments and won a couple of rounds, Quintana was the unquestioned ruler in terms of ring generalship, effective aggression, clean punching and defense on Saturday night. It is his greatest victory, a triumph made even sweeter by the knowledge that the whole boxing world seemingly counted him out after being stopped by Cotto.

But again how does his win affect the Welterweight division?

Well it means that we have a new player in the party. Much like how Cintron was able to rebuild himself after the Margarito loss, Quintana’s big win now means that he is now in the top of the division. Yet with another name thrown into the mix it makes it harder for these men to square off and settle the debate of who is the division’s best fighter. And it leaves us to the next question.

Will the top dogs actually be able to face off with each other?

Well it is a combination of yes, and maybe. It is a delicate subject because the answer to the question is based off a combination of facts, gray areas and speculation. So let me do my job and make some sense of the pieces.

Here are the facts. In April Antonio Margarito and Kermit Cintron will face off in their rematch. This fight is a big deal because it features two of the very best boxers in the division. However there is more to the story besides the mere fight in the ring.

That is because if Margarito wins the fight, he will face off with WBA champion Miguel Cotto in the summertime (provided that he wins his tune up with Alfonso Gomez and I have very little doubt that he will). If that were to happen it would be a huge ticket seller in Madison Square Garden, a-can’t-miss-fight, and it would go a far way in determining the best fighter in the division.

However, it is based on one caveat: Margarito winning his fight with Cintron. Personally, I think that Margarito will stop Cintron again, but if Cintron were to win then we have more problems. Unlike Margarito, Cintron doesn’t have a tentative agreement with Cotto for a fight. In fact the main reason why both Margarito and Cotto were able stamp out an agreement was due to the fact that they were both promoted by Bob Arum. Cintron is promoted by Main Events and while the two are doing business for the much-anticipated rematch, I’m not sure if Arum would throw his biggest star to Cintron, especially if he were able to KO Margarito.

Quintana may be the odd man out, because we don’t know where he goes from here.
His best bet is to hope for Cintron to win and not to reach an agreement with the Cotto camp and for them to face off in a unification bout. However, that is assuming that Cintron has the ability to fight Margarito off (something he failed to do miserably in their first fight) and beat him.

However, there is also the chance that Margarito could beat both Cintron and Cotto and then face off with Quintana next. But again it is based off of what if, and assuming that Margarito can win two tough fights.

Or maybe Quintana could win a couple of fights over quality fighters (such as Andre Berto) and then face off for Cotto in a rematch if he were to come out victorious in his next couple of fights. There would be a nice story line, thus real demand to see it. However, once again Quintana’s fate is based off the outcomes of other fights that don’t directly concern him. For the time being he is on the outside looking in.

As for Paul Williams, his career isn’t over. He is still young, athletic and huge for the weight class. If I were his handlers, I would toss him into the ring as soon as possible against a live body and get a few rounds to work on a few technical flaws and by the end of the year step him back up with another contender. Or maybe an immediate rematch with Quintana is in order.

Yet all of this talk about the Welterweight division isn’t complete if we don’t mention one man: Floyd Mayweather. The truth is that unless he comes down in weight and face off with one of his fellow contenders then he doesn’t deserve to be mentioned in the conversation. While he is the legitimate Welterweight champion, the world won’t stop while he is off fighting an over-the-hill-celebrity fighter in a rematch very few wants to see. When he decides to come down in weight then he’ll be apart of the conversation, but until then we’ll continue the discussion without him.

So what can we conclude from my analysis? Not a damn thing. Everything is up in the air again. Hopefully in the following months we can get some clear answers on who is the top guy at 147. But until then we’ll have to wait and see; and even at the end of the “waiting game” we still might not have an answer.

Article posted on 14.02.2008

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