Paul Williams Looks Set To Return On January 21st, Against Nobuhiro Ishida

Paul WilliamsBy James Slater: According to both Dan Rafael of and, Paul Williams will likely make his return to the ring on January 21st, with Japan’s Nobuhiro Ishida currently looking like the frontrunner as far as “The Punisher’s” opponent goes. As fans may know, 36-year-old Ishida, who rose to huge prominence with his April 9th upset TKO of the previously unbeaten James Kirkland, was originally approved by HBO as a Williams opponent; only for the network to subsequently change its mind and accept Erislandy Lara instead. Showtime may not be as picky as HBO, however.

It goes without saying how 30-year-old Williams, inactive since that “gift” of a win over Cuban Lara in July, badly needs to win in January. Ishida, who has won one fight since his big win over Kirkland (an easy 1st-round TKO over a guy who was making his pro debut) will be in a position to be able to earn millions if he can upset the lanky southpaw. Ishida, by the way, has never been stopped as a pro.

Williams, 40-2(27) has to be made the betting favourite, simply because of all the things his talents have achieved for him. A former ruler at welterweight and light-middleweight, Williams may have benefited from a nice rest; his batteries recharged and his motivational levels as high as can be. The scheduled 12-rounder will presumably take place at 154-pounds - arguably Williams’ best fighting weight.

Ishida had no problems coping with the southpaw stance when he fought Kirkland, but will the older man by six years cope as well with Williams’ fast hands, incredible reach (82” for Williams, a fraction over 72” for Ishida) and awesome work-rate? Or will the man from Georgia make a comeback statement by becoming the first man to halt Ishida? An intriguing fight to be sure.

We have no real way of knowing how much Williams, who has had a long and at timed hard career, has left. Ishida may be the older man, but he may be the fresher, less worn fighter of the two. A quick win for either man looks unlikely. If Ishida can bag a win, he will then possibly face Kirkland in what would be an intriguing rematch. If Williams can win, and look good doing it, he will likely engage in at least one more big fight before his career ends.

I think Williams will win this one on points, though he may have to take some flush shots along the way. I have a feeling that after the fight, people will be saying Williams was lucky Ishida is no huge puncher.

Article posted on 09.12.2011

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