Boxing

Exclusive Interview With George Peterson, Trainer Of Paul Williams

by James Slater - Earlier today, this writer had the pleasure of speaking with Mr. George Peterson, trainer, of course, of Paul "The Punisher" Williams. Talking about Paul's plans for the future, his boxer's frustrations at not being able to land the big fights he so badly wants, and other things, the easygoing and accommodating trainer had the following answers to my questions..

James Slater: Firstly, Mr. Peterson, do you feel Paul made a statement with the stoppage win over Verno Phillips, what with Phillips only ever having been stopped once before?

George Peterson: Absolutely. We knew it would be a tough fight going in, but Paul established his game-plan and stuck to it. I'm not going to take anything away from Phillips, he was game and I think he'll be champion again.

J.S: Was the game-plan to stop Phillips, or to out-point him?

G.P: The thing is, Phillips is a good boxer, we knew we couldn't let him box out there. The plan was to attack him and put pressure on him. It took Paul a while, but in the end he broke him down. He went to his body and over-powered him. He shut him down.

J.S: Does Paul plan to have more fights at 154?

G.P: Well, the story behind that is, we were forced up to 154 - to 160. Paul's target weight is 147, but we can't get anyone to fight him there. We have been forced to move up. It's even possible Paul may fight as high as 168. The thing is, he's a young man and he has to stay busy.

J.S: Is it frustrating, fighters avoiding you?

G.P: It's awfully frustrating. Every young fighter's goal is to become world champion and then to be the very best, but how can Paul achieve that when the best won't fight him. You tell me - what can he do? You know, guys like Leonard, Hagler, Hearns and Duran, Paul wants to have his name amongst those, but how can he get there if the best fighters won't step up and face him?

J.S: It is very frustrating, for the fans also. Let me ask you point blank - is Antonio Margarito afraid of Paul Williams in your opinion?

G.P: Yes. You see, we tried for over two years to get the fight with him in the first place. We had to go to a law suit in the first place (laughs). Now, what do you think would happen in a second fight? Paul would beat him again. The man [Margarito] already had four losses [going into the July 2007 fight with Paul], and he has five losses now. One more and he will be out of the elite class. So we're moving on now, a second fight with Margarito is a dead issue. It's not going to happen.

J.S: But Paul can still make 147 easily enough?

G.P: Sure he can make 147. He made it only five months ago. He made 145. We wanted to fight the top guys at 147, but they have just ignored us. We offered Margarito $4 million for a rematch, but he's fighting Sugar Shane instead, and he's only getting around half the amount for that fight. So how can Margarito be seen as the best welterweight, when Paul already has a win over him and wants a second fight?

J.S: Moving on from Margarito. When you and Paul sit and talk, who else does he say he wants to fight? Is it Kelly Pavlik?

G.P: Pavlik he definitely wants. But Kelly Pavlik has the same management as Margarito has. Paul would love to face Pavlik, Miguel Cotto - all the elite guys out there. In fact, fighting Cotto would actually be a move backwards. The thing is, Paul is only just entering his prime now. He still has talent that hasn't been seen or brought out yet. If these guys want to have a chance of beating him, they would be better off catching him now. In a year, a year-and-a-half, he's going to be even more devastating. They'd be better off fighting him now, they'll only be worse off, the longer they wait.

J.S: Paul's had a very good 2008, what with coming back to destroy Carlos Quintana after losing on points and winning another world title against Phillips. How soon in 2009 will we see him fight again?

G.P: We're looking at late February, early March. He suffered a cut in the Phillips fight, and we want to let that heal. But hopefully early March at the latest.

J.S: Is there any idea at all who he will face?

G.P: It's a matter of who is willing to step up to the plate. We've stopped calling people out - that's not worked. But Paul only wants to fight the best out there.

J.S: What is your expert opinion of the upcoming Margarito-Mosley fight?

G.P: Margarito is too strong for Mosley. I think he stops him. Even though Shane has never been stopped before, I think Margarito will stop him.

J.S: What about Pavlik against Marco Antonio Rubio in February?

G.P: That fight shouldn't go past two rounds.

J.S: Do you feel Pavlik can come back from the bad loss to Hopkins?

G.P: Sure he can come back. I'm looking for him to come back.

J.S: It's been a pleasure speaking with you, sir. You must be very proud of Paul - you've been with him from the very beginning, haven't you?

G.P: From the very beginning, yes. Yes, I'm extremely proud of Paul.

J.S: Thanks again for talking with me.

G.P: You're welcome. Bye.

Article posted on 04.12.2008



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