'Call Em Out Fridays': Paul Williams - Ounce For Ounce, Pound For Pound

Paul WilliamsBy Vivek Wallace - In this week's 'Call Em Out Fridays' we speak a name that rarely slips from the tongue of anyone outside of his own camp. Be it the media, his contemporaries, or adversaries; No matter which direction you look in, few care to openly have anything to do with this particular figure. In theory, that sentence may come across as a bad thing, however, to the subject himself it probably equates to a good feeling, partly because he is bad. In an era of the sport where the mythical pound-for-pound crown is handed out like free demo's at a rap concert, Paul Williams (37-1, 27KO's) has arguably stated his case where it counts.....In the ring. Once upon a time, Williams called the deepest division in the sport home (the welterweight division). During that span he shared table space with the likes of a rising Miguel Cotto, the now suspended Antonio Margarito, Joshua Clottey, and for a short while, even the 'money man' himself, Floyd Mayweather jr. After hitting the scene and establishing an identity of his own, he set out to take that of his division rival, Antonio Margarito, whom many considered to be 'the most feared'. It was quite a spectacle to see these two warriors that no one cared to face actually face one another, but by the end of the night, it was clear who left the indelible mark on the grand welterweight stage..

In the aftermath of a victory over a man that few others dared to face, it was believed that Williams was indeed as good as advertised and destined to find his place amongst the best of not only today, but perhaps his era and beyond. With confidence growing and the proverbial 'wind' at his back, his next outing against a hungry southpaw from Puerto Rico (Carlos Quintana) quickly taught him a valuable lesson that was initially deemed as a setback, yet ultimately served as a step forward. That lesson......."Never forget what it took to get there (the top)....And let that serve as a reminder why never to go back (to the bottom)". After letting that lesson soak in, the next victory in the career of Paul Williams would start an all out assault on not only the welterweight division, but literally each one in close proximity, as the lanky warrior literally cast his ballad in the pound-for-pound race by scaling the walls surrounding the 147lb division. A one round destruction over Quintana in a subsequent rematch kicked off a 4-win streak that included a journeyman middleweight (Kolle), a battle-tested jr. middleweight (Phillips), and perhaps one of the best defenders of this era, Ronald 'Winky' Wright. Some would argue that Wright was not at his best, but few can question that his well patented defense was on par, yet was simply not enough, as the workrate of Paul Williams showed us once again how difficult it is to combat such a fighter.

With so many key notes in his rearview, a glimpse of the past when examined thoroughly also leaves room for a few legitimate questions. Many have used the argument that Williams was only able to find such dominant success as a welterweight because he possessed an odd ability to transform a typical middleweight frame into a much smaller identity. Whether that's true or not can be debated, but what we can say is that the results to this point have remained the same regardless of weight location he dwelled. Other critics introduce the fact that he has yet to face a prime opponent of his size with the ability to land with power. The Margarito fight answered that question to some, while others have chose to withhold that opinion, pending his trip to the dark-side where a date with the 'Ghost' awaits. Every step of his progress has been met with a critics attempt to see him regress. For some odd reason, it often seems that no matter what he does, the level of respect offered never quite seems to stack up. The irony with Williams is that he'll never develop the resume needed to establish true P4P legitimacy because none of the 'great ones' want to fight him. Cotto, Mayweather, Cintron and many others have all opted out without a cause. Known for a hand full of call-outs himself lately, Mosley was in-fact called out by Williams as well, only to publicly state that he has "no interest" in such a fight. It was this kind of fear factor that led me to say (at the time prematurely) back in 2007 that I viewed him as the official "Dark Horse" of the sport; and followed that statement with a guarantee that he could fill out his frame and climb his way up the charts until he met the only other man in the game to rival his punch output (Joe Calzaghe). With Calzaghe since retired, perhaps we'll never get the chance to see that, but if Williams is able to decisively defeat Pavlik, an already feared man will quickly learn exactly how lonely it can be at the top. Pacquiao has the warrior spirit and Mayweather has the genius ring IQ, but when the chapter is closed, I wouldn't rule out a final sentence that says "it's Williams who has the goods". Granted, his resume is light of any true heavy weights, but ounce for ounce, his value without question is a pound for pound.

(Vivek Wallace can be reached at, Youtube (VIVEK1251), Twitter (VIVEK747), Facebook, and Myspace).

Article posted on 02.10.2009

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