Williams rocks Wright: HoganPhotos.com
By Michael Norby: Former welterweight world title holder Paul Williams soured the comeback of a legend on Saturday night after he impressively defeated Winky Wright with a lop-sided 12 round unanimous decision victory in a middleweight encounter at The Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
After a 21 month layoff, many wondered if 37-year-old Wright 51-5-1 (25) could sharpen his tools and shoot himself back onto the world stage against the relentless and wonderfully gifted Williams 37-1 (27) on HBO World Championship Boxing. The answer was apparent not long after the opening bell sounded.
Although spirited to the end, Wright just did not have an appropriate response to the incessant punch output of current WBO interim 154lb title holder, Williams, who, after thoroughly out-landing his man in the first half of the fight, began to beat up the future hall of famer down the stretch enroute to a wide points victory.
Williams tried to establish and enjoy the benefits of his freakishly long wingspan to begin the fight as he shot his jab towards the face of Wright before shooting off fast combinations from differing angles. Wright was having none of it, however, and he too started quickly - connecting with digging body punches and solid right hooks upstairs in a wonderfully entertaining opening.
Williams’ incredible output was telling, though, and, as expected, he was clearly out-working his opponent as he blasted both hands against the body and head of Wright in the second round. The younger man was fresh and sharp and he bruised his man’s face with sheer volume as he tattooed the former champion with stunning combinations whilst Wright was only able to respond with single but accurate punches.
Wright forced his way to the inside in the third and both guys exchanged punches from close distance throughout the first half of the frame. This was a much closer round and Wright found his opponent with a big right hand, left cross sequence in the final minute and was able to block his fellow southpaw’s punches more successfully throughout the round.
As the fight progressed, Wright seemed to settle somewhat and, although Williams’ output was astounding, the veteran was able to deflect shots and fire back with his own to the head and body in the fourth and fifth rounds. The problem he was facing was clear, though. How could he possibly pocket rounds when he was being so overwhelmingly out-worked?
Indeed, although Williams had slowed a little in the middle rounds, Wright was still receiving more than he offered. Thus, even though he is far from a knockout puncher, in the sixth round, he began to step back more, looking for a way to catch his surging opponent with a game changer.
But Williams refused to give his opponent an opportunity to do so and he planted his jab consistently in the face of Wright in the seventh before hitting whatever his searching and authoritative fists could find throughout the three minutes. Wright was running out of rounds and even he, the sufferer of his fair share of arguably close decision injustices, surely realized that he was thoroughly beaten this evening.
In the eighth and ninth rounds Williams began to drive home his advantage with a series of hard punches to the already weather damaged dial of Wright. He was clearly enjoying himself – bouncing around the ring and throwing endless combinations with a wide grin adorning his face. Williams even managed to stun his usually bullet proof opponent in the ninth with a series of right hands midway through to rubber stamp his dominance.
Wright landed some tasty licks himself but it was nowhere near enough and he had surely gone way past the ‘knockout required’ stage without a notion of the tide turning. As the fight entered the later rounds, Wright’s trainer Dan Birmingham tried to encourage his charge but the contest was extremely one-sided and it was Williams who would end the fight as he began – throwing venomous combinations with outstanding volume.
He jumped on Wright from the bell in the tenth and from that point until the final bell, the tall lefty beat up his swollen opponent. In fact, the punishment, perhaps more than Wright has ever had to face in his professional career, was verging on the unnecessary as Williams thumped him constantly down the stretch.
Scores: 119-109; 119-109; 120-108