'Call Em Out Fridays': Paul Williams - Is the 'Punisher' as good as advertised?

paul williamsby Vivek Wallace - In this weeks 'C.E.O. Fridays' we take a look at one of the sports most intriguing figures. Flying under the radar for 7 of his 9 years as a pro, Paul Williams has finally reached a point where many have began to take notice of a talent that those who knew him have boasted for quite some time now. Rarely in the history of the sport have we seen a fighter with the wingspan of an eagle and the work ethic of a beagle. Sounds comical in description, but the 36 defeated opponents of his past will quickly acknowledge that there's nothing funny at all about sharing air space with the man aptly known as "The Punisher". Despite the great promise he shows, there still seems to be a large contingent that hasn't quite seen the light. As we prepare to see him go to work once again, like each of my other 'C.E.O. Fridays', we'll take a look at all angles to learn the truth about Paul. A perspective that supports his ability, a critics perspective that doesn't, and in the end, a more neutral take to level the playing field. So, with no further ado, we once again redirect our spotlight. This time to a familiar face who to some still bares a somewhat unfamiliar name.......Paul "The Punisher" Williams....

Paul Williams - (Supportive Perspective): Is Paul Williams the 'truth'? Well, in an era of gladiator sports where fighters take aim solely at supremacy, an interesting fact is that few actually accomplish it by taking on all comers. Politics often overcome bravado, and what politics can't overcome, money issues typically KO, preventing fight fans from seeing the best fight the best. Eager to separate himself from that pack is a young contender who has never seen a true battle that he didn't prefer to encounter, and never found a reason good enough to prevent it from happening. With contenders such as Mayweather and a host of others proclaiming greatness, it should be duly noted that only the individual at the center of todays subject has gone to the point of literal division hopping simply to seek out the best competition when the presiding talent pool seemingly went shallow. Some may argue that Manny Pacquiao has done a better job of division hopping to face the best, but choosing David Diaz over Nate Campbell (at the time the undisputed lightweight champ) would instantly nullify that argument in comparison. With Paul Williams, there has been an agenda from day one to face the absolute best in his path, and there has been no shift from that platform to date. Years ago when no one would dare to even utter the name Antonio Margarito, it was Paul Williams who not only stepped up to the plate, but slapped it out of the ball park in return. After failing to get a meaningful fight at the welterweight limit, Williams called out everyone from Vernon Forrest at 154 to Kelly Pavlik at 160. In response, the famous "low risk/high reward" rebuttal popped up like Jack-in-the-Box, which was quite fitting when you consider how 'square' that really is in a sport like boxing. Many fight fans look for bloody wars and crushing KO's, but although he has retired all but 9 of his 36 challengers, the true brilliance behind Williams has more to do with his overall work ethic than his ability to punch. Antonio Margarito holds the compubox punch stat record for throwing 1675 punches in a fight (against Clottey), yet it was Williams who found a way to dig deep enough and actually outwork him. To some, he may not be decorated or celebrated enough, but judging by what he is attempting to do - (conquer three different divisions between weights spanning 13 pounds) - his effort is unprecedented. Now, of course there are always two sides to every story. To get a glimpse of what his nay-sayers find to be truth, we turn the page.....

Paul Williams - (Critics Perspective): Despite all the heroics, to find the downside of Paul Williams, one probably has to look no further than experience. Williams has only managed to go beyond 8 rounds five times, and into the 12th and decisive round twice. Adding even more weight to the argument is the fact that his total rounds boxed throughout his career is only a modest 153. Williams showed us enough energy to outwork a not-so-talented workhorse like Margarito, but failed miserably when faced with a slick boxer with adequate power like Quintana. And when you look at the roster of his past opponents, at first glance, it appears the only fighters he faced who were highly experienced were far too old and past their primes to really test him the way most would like to see him tested. From Sharmba Mitchell to Verno Phillips, both men had very little left in the arsenal to even consider outlasting such a young stud. One other hot button that often comes up when talking to the critics of Paul Williams is the fact that his power is potentially more deceptive than his 73% KO number presents. Sure, he was able to drub Quintana and Kolle in consecutive fights as early as the first round, but that seemed to do very little in the minds of those out there who continue to believe that Williams is made to order for any fighter who has a decent punch output and better than average power. Contenders like Miguel Cotto and even Joshua Clottey would obviously fare better, but until they sign the dotted line and move forward, it all really makes you wonder if maybe this guy is as good as advertised? After hearing the supportive and non-supportive perspectives on Paul Williams, the only thing left to do is tap into a voice of reasoning and see things for what they really are by splitting the subject right down the middle. For that spin, we now turn the page to our final segment....

Paul Williams - (Neutral Perspective): The truth about Paul Williams is that while he's not quite ready to be ordained the official 'man-to-beat' in the sport, his efforts are unprecedented and do put him in contention. At only age 27, one could reasonably argue that he hasn't even peaked yet, but that being said, there's still a great amount of work to be done for the 'Punisher'. His work ethic and high-energy have overshadowed a somewhat flawed set of mechanics which relies heavily on not-so-great foot work. When you think of some of the looping punches thrown that leave him wide open, it really makes you wonder exactly how well would he hold up against an savvy veteran who knows how to capitalize on ones mistakes. When looking for an answer to that equation one has to look no further, as despite the lengthy layoff, this weekend Williams will face a man good enough to do just that. Is Williams talented? Yes...Truly tested? No. Is he durable with high energy? Yes....Does that make him unbeatable? No. Styles make fights and this fight will serve as a perfect gauge for both men. It will show us exactly what Wright has in the tank, while also teaching us how adept Williams really is in comparison to the best in the sport today. Williams has long said that he wants to face the best in the sport and if he soundly defeats Wright, that would prove to me and many others that he is ready to do so. As for right now the jury is still out on the 'Punisher', but lying next to the judge is an envelope that contains the verdict. All rise.....Come Saturday night, the moment of truth will be upon us. Stay tuned!

(Got questions or feedback?: Contact ESB's Vivek Wallace at and 954-292-7346, follow more of his work at 8CountNews and The Examiner, or show some love at Myspace and Facebook).

Article posted on 10.04.2009

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