Paul Williams vs Sharmba Mitchell: Is Sharmba About To Be Destroyed?

paul williams17.08.06 - Jacqui Snow: Paul "The Punisher" Williams (30-0, 22 KO's) is exceptionally tall and rangy for a welterweight, standing 6 ft 2 with a 79 inch reach. Only 24 years old, he is already one of the hottest young prospects in the talent-crowded welterweight division, with 30 victories to his name, including 22 knockouts. He faces arguably the toughest test of his career on Saturday night, battling rugged journeyman Sharmba Mitchell (57-5-0, 30 KO's) on HBO's Boxing After Dark.

Williams first grabbed the attention of television audiences in April 2005 on his ShoBox debut against a game but outmatched Terrance Cauthen (31-3-0, 8 KO's). Williams so dominated the fight that two of the three judges scored every round in his favor. His next performance, in September 2005, was an eight-round overpowering of Marteze Logan (22-25-2, 5 KO's) on points. All three judges scored the fight 80-71, awarding every round to Williams.

Williams knocked out the hard-hitting Alfonso Sanchez (20-4-1, 18 KO's) in the fifth round last December, then made his ESPN debut on April 2006, winning the WBC USNBC Welterweight Title with a second round kayo of Sergio Rios (18-5-0, 16 KO's). In his most recent bout, just over a month later in May, Williams effectively used his height and reach advantage to win another belt, the Vacant WBO NABO Welterweight Title, against then-undefeated Walter "El Terrible" Matthysse (25-1-0, 24 KO's). Matthysse had hoped to wear his opponent down early with body shots, but the plan backfired and he quickly tired himself out instead. Although Matthyse managed to land a few blows late in the fourth, Williams dominated the action in the following rounds. By the tenth, Williams was landing at will and rocked his opponent badly with a left, followed by a right-left combination and such a flurry of punches that the referee stepped in to stop the fight.

During his 17-year career, Sharmba Mitchell has been in the ring with some of the best athletes in the sport. His first title win dates back to November 1993, when he knocked Chad Broussard down three times before a first round TKO forced Broussard to yield up the NABF Lightweight title. Four months later, in March 2004, Mitchell lost the belt to the late Leavander Johnson. A 9th round TKO loss to Stevie Johnson followed, after which Mitchell went on a 16-0 winning streak. Ten of those victories came by way of knockout, including a second round victory over Gilberto Johnson, which earned Mitchell the WBC Continental Americas Light Welterweight Title in April 1996. Mitchell also earned the WBA's Fedelatin Light Welterweight title with a 12 round decision over Jose Rafael Barboza.

Scoring a unanimous decision over Khalid Rahilou in October 1998, Mitchell won his first world championship, the WBA Light Welterweight title. He successfully defended his crown four times before facing highly regarded WBC champion Kostya Tszyu in a title unification bout.

Unluckily, Mitchell suffered a broken knee in the seventh round and was unable to finish the fight, thus losing by TKO. A year later, he successfully restarted his career by winning eight in a row against some pretty tough competition, including Vince Phillips and Lovemore N'Dou.

The much anticipated, but twice delayed, rematch with Tszyu finally took place in November 2004. It was another disaster for Mitchell, who was floored four times in just three rounds before the referee stopped the fight. Mitchell has since gone 2-1, with the lone loss coming against pound for pound champ Floyd Mayweather.

Williams is a well-rounded young fighter who can throw some respectable punches and is a full seven inches taller than his opponent, with a seven inch reach advantage. For his part, Mitchell has not only a lot of experience, but real guts, as proved by his coming back twice after being crushed by Kostya Tszyu. He looked pretty impressive in his most recent bout against Jose Luis Cruz. So this is definitely a must-see fight.

Article posted on 18.08.2006

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