Exclusive Interview With George Peterson - "Paul Williams Is A Throwback To The Old Days"
by James Slater - Fresh off his fighter's fine and much talked about win over Winky Wright at the weekend, Paul Williams' trainer George Peterson is rightfully feeling proud of his charge. Now hoping for even bigger fights for "The Punisher" to win, Peterson is looking ahead to their next bout.
Very kindly taking time out to speak to me earlier today from his home, George spoke about what the future may hold for pound-for-pound star Williams.
James Slater: It's a great pleasure to speak with you again, sir. First of all, do you think Paul's superb win over Winky Wright was his best performance so far in his career?
George Peterson: No. I think Paul won that fight too easy, to be honest with you. He didn't even break a sweat. He never got hit or hurt at all. I knew, as long as we stuck to the game-plan we'd worked on in the gym, that it would be like that. No, Paul's win over Walter Matthysse was his best performance in my opinion. Walter Matthysse was a KO artist, with 24 KO's in an unbeaten record, and a lot of people told me not to take that fight. He nailed Paul hard in the fight, but Paul stuck to his game-plan and he stopped him. Second after that, the win over Antonio Margarito was Paul's best performance.
J.S: Well, everyone's raving about the way Paul looked against Winky. He looked great.
G.P: Yes, people have come up to me and said that's the best they've seen Paul look. But I think he's performed better before.
J.S: I read two things after the fight: number-one, Paul will drop back down to 147 for his next fight, and number two, he will fight Bernard Hopkins at a catch-weight. Can you update us on that?
G.P: Well, we can't be choosy, because we have only a few options in terms of who will fight us. But on the other hand, we are flexible in that Paul can make 147 again if there is a big money fight there. There is Shane [Mosley] there, and there is [Miguel] Cotto. Shane has said he'll dance with us at 147, so maybe that fight can be made. But as far as Bernard Hopkins is concerned, I see things we can do against him in a fight. I don't know how much of a chance there is of the fight coming off, but that's the fight we want. We've got to fight somebody in September.
J.S: So it's September you're looking at for the next fight?
G.P: Yes, we wanted two fights this year. I know some people have said they'd like to see more, but we think Paul should have a little bit of a rest this year.
J.S: So what weight would the Hopkins fight be at? Could Hopkins get any lower than say, 170 or 168?
G.P: Hopkins fought at 160 for years. He could easily get down to 165. But 165 is negotiable. Maybe we will fight him at 168. That's the fight I'd like to happen. You know, 147 is our real weight class - but we are forced to do what we've done. You have to realise that when Paul fights middleweights he's going up and they're coming down. Paul walks around at 155 or 154, that's why he can still make 147 so easily.
J.S: I know Paul and yourself are still frustrated - and rightfully so - that fighters are avoiding him, but he has gotten real respect from the fans for doing what he's done. Paul is a real throwback, in that he will fight at any weight against any opponent.
G.P: That's right (laughs). He's a throwback to the old days.
J.S: So now that he's done what he's done, and now that he's a definite top-five pound-for-pound fighter at the very least, the big names will have to fight him and not avoid him, surely?
G.P: You think that?
J.S: Well, it's a real shame if the top guys do avoid him. You'd think the top names would want to fight Paul now, to prove themselves as the best.
G.P: Exactly (laughs). You'd think so, you'd think they'd want to do that.
J.S: The last time I spoke to you, I got stick for not bringing up the name of Sergiy Dzinziruk, the WBO 154-pound champ from Germany. Some fans said Paul has avoided the southpaw. For the record, what's your take on that fight?
G.P: Oh, we'd KO him in two rounds. We'd blow him out. I saw on your site (Eastside Boxing) about that, and what some people had to say, but we'd love that fight. We are looking for a next opponent, and that would be an easy night for Paul - not even a workout. All they [Team-Dzinziruk] have to do is call up Dan Goossen. We could make that fight, if they just call up.
J.S: The unbeaten James Kirkland is another fighter who has been spoken about as a future opponent for Paul. Your thoughts on him?
G.P: No, he's not there yet. He's [Kirkland] not in the big leagues yet. His style will not allow him to beat Paul. You can't just KO everybody, and that's his mentality. He's been down already and he tries to win on just brute strength - that's not boxing. Paul has said, if he fought him he'd blow him out of the water.
J.S: It's been great speaking with you, sir. I have two more questions if that's ok? Firstly, do you think Floyd Mayweather Junior will come back?
G.P: He will, but he won't fight Paul. That's why he retired, because he heard Paul Williams' footsteps. He knew he could never beat Paul. He [Mayweather] was one of the champions at 147, but he never fought one of the other champions - not one. Why do you think that was? If he fought Paul at 147 it would be no contest.
J.S: Finally. As you know, Paul has been compared to Thomas Hearns, who went up as high as light-heavyweight to win a world title. Will Paul go that high one day - you have told me he's not even at his peak yet.
G.P: Oh, definitely. Paul will have to go up there soon. After we get one more win, we may go for a title at 168, so, yes, then we will go to 175. No way is Paul in his prime yet. No way. He's not even at the front of the classroom yet - he's still in the middle of the class.
J.S: Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me again, sir.
G.P: Okay, thank you, James.
Article posted on 17.04.2009