November 29th, Can Paul Williams Stop Verno Phillips?

Paul Williamsby James Slater - Topping a very interesting doubleheader on November 29th in Ontario, California is the Paul Williams-Verno Phillips light-middleweight title fight. Supported by the potential heavyweight rumble that is Chris Arreola Vs. Travis Walker, the Williams-Phillips fight should get plenty of viewers tuning in to HBO.

"The Punisher" will be having his second fight out of the welterweight division in the last twelve months, and in going up against the tough old warrior that is Phillips, the lanky welter has picked a genuinely dangerous foe. Stopped only once in his long, over twenty year, career, the 38-year-old Belize-born fighter is unlikely to be blown away quickly by the reigning WBO 147-pound champ. If Williams were to get Phillips out of there quickly he will have won himself a pretty impressive and head turning victory.

A veteran of over 50 pro fights, Phillips has only been beaten inside schedule one time, and this 5th round TKO defeat came way back in July of 1988, in what was only Verno's fifth bout. Since then the natural light-middleweight (Verno has never boxed any higher than 162-pounds, and all but a handful of his fights have taken place at 154) has won both the WBO light-middleweight title, as well as the IBF version twice. With wins over top names like Gianfranco Rosi, Julian Jackson, Bronco McKart, Julio Garcia, Teddy Reid and Cory Spinks, Phillips is all too clearly a formidable and respectable fighter. The question is, at age 38, and after so many hard fights, has time at last ran out for him?

Opposing him in November will be a peaking power-puncher with superb boxing skills and a monstrous advantage in both height and reach. Will "The Punisher" become only the second man to stop Verno and the first man to knock him out? As I say, such a win would be a superb and notable one for the 27-year-old, but it is possible. Phillips has not boxed since his March, IBF title win over Spinks, the fourth fight in a winning series that he revived his career at top level. Will he therefore be rusty when he tangles with Williams in what will be eight months on? Maybe.

Or perhaps I'm being guilty of downplaying Verno's chances. With his great chin, reasonable punch power (21 KO's from 42 wins) and overall experience and savvy, the 38-year-old just might shock Williams. Sure, "The Punisher" has looked devastating in his last two fights - stopping Carlos Quintana and then Andy Kolle in a round each - but in Phillips he will be facing a much stronger and resilient fighter. Also, with his moving up from welterweight to middleweight and back down now to light-middleweight, Williams may see his strength affected at least a little. And will his power, so proven at 147-pounds, have the same affect on the rock-chinned veteran?

All these questions and more will be answered in a little over a month's time. For what it's worth, this writer picks Williams to win, probably on points. A KO win for the southpaw would impress enormously.

Article posted on 28.10.2008

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