Paul Williams Makes Statement, Destroys Andy Kolle In One-Round - How Many Other Middleweights Can Williams Punish?

Paul Williamsby James Slater - Though he is far from a top dog at 160-pounds, Andy Kolle is a more than capable, and natural, middleweight. And, going into last night's fight with reigning WBO welterweight champ Paul Williams, who was re-testing the waters at 160, a number of people felt Kolle had at least a shot at making "The Punisher" realise he'd made a mistake in moving up.

Well, with just over a minute-and-a-half gone in the fight, the lanky, 6'1" Williams laid any doubts to rest as he laid Kolle out. No doubt about it Williams made a statement, as the now 17-2 (12) Kolle had never been legitimately KO'd before - his only other defeat coming via an injury enforced corner retirement against hot prospect and former Olympian Andre Ward. The question now being asked (not only by this writer, but by others) is can Williams do to the real top class guys at middleweight what he did to Kolle?

As we know, Williams, who plans to drop back down to 147 to defend his WBO belt against an as yet TBA on November 29th, has claimed for some time that the top names at welterweight want nothing to do with him. His promoter, Dan Goossen, claims Williams is the most feared man in boxing.. This was partly the reason for last night's venture into the 160-pound waters, but what now? After he's got past whoever it is he winds up boxing in November, will Williams go back up to 160, or will he find a big fight at 147? As long as he can make the weight okay, the talented southpaw seems to have the option of fighting at either weight. But going up and down like that can in no way be a good thing for any fighter. Williams, it seems to me, must decide which division he wants to kick ass in and stay there.

Still only 27-years-old, Williams looked a solid 157-pounds last night, and his body may have been at its optimum weight. As good as he looked, and with his height, Williams may be better off remaining at middleweight. He certainly seems to have carried his power with him. Indeed, "The Punisher," who has now scored two impressive 1st round stoppages in a row, is looking like a genuine KO artist. Would the elite men at middleweight want to risk getting it on with such a tall, hard-hitting southpaw?

Williams wanted a fight with Kelly Pavlik, putting his name forward for the date Bernard Hopkins eventually got. We all thought the Augusta, Georgia man was crazy at the time, but now we don't think so at all. Who knows, after one more fight at 147 (how Paul will shed the weight in time for November 29th without struggling I don't really know) the 27-year-old who claims no welterweights want to face him may rejoin the middleweight ranks fulltime.

There would be no shortage of massively intriguing bouts for the man who had a few of his early pro fights at middleweight, that's for sure. With superb fighters like Pavlik and Arthur Abraham, as well as good fighters such as Felix Sturm currently the top names at 160, a Williams fight with either one could be huge.

Last night, Williams made the best possible argument he could have with regards to those people who say he has no business boxing in the middleweight division; now all he needs to do is stop arguing with himself and decide which weight class he wants to fight in.

Article posted on 26.09.2008

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