Exclusive Interview With Paul Williams - "Whoever I Fight On May 8th Had Better Be Ready For A Knockdown, Drag Out Fight!"

Paul Williamsby James Slater - Last time out, 28-year-old southpaw Paul "The Punisher" Williams met fellow lefty Sergio Martinez in a December thriller. The two exciting warriors traded knockdowns before the 6'1" Williams won a hard-fought but well deserved majority decision in a 2009 Fight of The Year candidate.

Originally in training for middleweight king Kelly Pavlik (who Williams would still love to fight), "The Punisher" took the fight with Martinez on short notice. Still craving the big, big fights with top names like Mosley, Mayweather, Pacquiao and "The Ghost," the 38-1(27) star who meets a TBA on May 8th kindly gave me the following interview direct from the gym earlier today. Here is what the man who has captured titles at 147 and 154-pounds had to say:

James Slater: I thank you so much for your time, Champ, and the time of your trainer George Peterson. I take it you are in training now, and we can look forward to seeing you back in action on May 8th?

Paul Williams: Yes, sir, we are actually shutting up training for the day right now. I'll be back on May 8th, but right now we still don't know for sure who it will be against. Who have you heard it will be against?

J.S: I did read on a website that it may be Kermit Cintron on May 8th, but I read how nothing has been confirmed.

P.W: Yeah, I've heard those rumours too. We are still in negotiations for the May 8th fight, but I want whoever it is, I want them to know to be ready for a knockdown, drag out fight!

J.S: That's one thing the fans know and love about you, Paul - you are never in a bad fight and you always look to fight the best fighters out there. The fight with Sergio Martinez, for example, last time out in December, was a classic. Was it tougher than you expected? I know you were originally training for Kelly Pavlik and only had a couple of weeks to get ready for Martinez.

P.W: That's right. Pavlik pulled out and we had spent so much time and money in camp for that fight; sparring and everything. When I was told he'd [Pavlik] pulled out and that I'd have to go home with no fight before Christmas unless I signed to fight Martinez, who'd been training for a fight with me, I said bring him on. He knocked me down with a shot I didn't really see and I knew then that I had to get some back myself! We both fought hard all night!

J.S: And now Martinez is fighting Pavlik in April. How do you see that fight going, Paul?

P.W: The way Pavlik pulled out of a fight with me the way he did, twice - that lets me know he ain't got the heart like that , so I think Martinez may pull it out. I want to fight both of 'em, but I'm pulling for Martinez in that fight. I don't really think Pavlik will ever fight me, so I hope Martinez beats him.

J.S: Can I ask you, Paul, who wins on May 1st, between Mayweather and Mosley? I know you want to fight both guys.

P.W: (laughs) We were just at the press conference, and a lot of fans came up to me and told me they want to see me fight both guys. I can't really pick a winner, but if you ask me, I'd have to say Mayweather will win if the fight goes the whole 12 - I think he'll get a decision win. But if the fight goes less than 12, I go with Mosley.

J.S: As I've said, Paul, we all know you want to fight those guys, and Manny Pacquiao. Are they scared of you do you think?

P.W: Well, the proof is in the pudding. But I guess I wouldn't say they are scared of fighting me; but I think their people don't really want to give the fans what they want. They don't want to have to go through me, when they can get easier fights instead. You see, these guys [the promoters of Mosley, Mayweather and Pacquiao, etc) they never say my name out loud. They never mention my name. Even though I was [WBO 147-pound] champ at the time, neither Mosley or [Miguel] Cotto said my name.

J.S: Can you still make 147 now?

P.W: Yes. All those guys - Mosley, Mayweather and Pacquiao - have to do, is say it, and I'll be back down at 147! As a matter of fact, I'll be down to 145 and a-half. All they've got to do is put their name on the contract and fight us! The only reason we went up [in weight] was because we couldn't get the fights we wanted at 147.

J.S: You have proven your ability at 147, 154 and 160. What do you feel is your ideal weight today?

P.W: I feel better at 147. It's easier for me at 147, that way I don't have to eat crazy foods and force myself to gain weight. I walk around at 160 to 165 and I can easily get down to 147 in the gym.

J.S: Well, it's been a pleasure speaking with you, Champ - and with George Peterson. We all look forward to your next fight in May. Hopefully it will be against the kind of big name you deserve.

P.W: That's all I want! Thank you.

Article posted on 04.03.2010

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