By Lem Satterfield
The promoters of a July 9 junior middleweight clash of southpaws between former three-time world champion Paul Williams and unbeaten Erislandy Lara would be interested in matching the winner opposite undefeated WBC king Saul Alvarez, according to indications by each during a recent conference call promoting the Williams-Lara bout that is slated for Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall.
Golden Boy Promotions is matching its 28-year-old Cuban native Lara (15-0-1, 10 KOs) against the Dan Goossen-promoted 29-year-old Williams (39-2, 27 KOs).
"We're going to be considered for all of the champions -- the [WBA junior middleweight titlist] Miguel Cottos, the Saul Alvarez's, all of the champions at junior middleweight. This is [Lara's] world title fight. Even though there is not a world title involved, he's fighting one of the top fighters of our time, and of this era," said Golden Boy Promotions match maker Eric Gomez.
"And if he can beat Paul Williams, then we can be considered for all of the other fights," said Gomez. "This will open all of those doors. This is going to be on HBO, and whenever you get a fight on HBO, you have to shine. And he understands this. There is no tomorrow. This is his fight."
In the Boardwalk Hall, Williams is returning to the site of his last loss, which was November's battle of southpaws by second-round knockout to WBC emeritus middleweight champion Sergio Martinez (47-2-2, 26 KOs) in a rematch of Williams' December, 2010 majority decision victory during which he and Martinez rose from first-round knockdowns.
Lara is coming off of a March 25 majority draw with tough, Mexican-born Carlos Molina (18-4-2, six KOs) of Chicago, who will take an unbeaten streak of 10-0-1 that includes two stoppages into a July 9 fight against former champion Kermit Cintron (32-3-1, 28 KOs).
"There's no question that it's [Alvarez] a fight that we're always willing to make," said Dan Goossen. "But rather than call anyone out, all that we want to do is get Paul back to where he demonstrates and has the type of fight that people can sit back and realize that his last performance against Martinez was an anomaly and that 'The Punisher' is back."
Also promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, the 20-year-old Alvarez (37-0-1, 26 KOs), in March, earned his crown with a unanimous decision over England's Matthew Hatton (41-5-2, 16 KOs).
Most recently, on June 18, Alvarez dominated his 12th-round knockout in a mandatory defense of his crown against England's 34-year-old Ryan Rhodes (45-5, 31 KOs), whom he dropped in the fourth round.
Golden Boy Promotions' CEO Richard Schaefer told BoxingScene.com that if Alvarez defeated Rhodes, he could potentially land on the Sept. 17 pay-per-view undercard to a main event featuring 34-year-old six-time champion Floyd Mayweather (41-0, 25 KOs) against 24-year-old WBC welterweight king Victor Ortiz (29-2-2, 22 KOs).
Alvarez, said Schaefer, could ultimately face the winner of Maweather-Ortiz, or be considered for a bout opposite Top Rank Promotions' 25-year-old Mexican WBC middleweight king Julio Cesar Chavez (43-0-1, 30 KOs).
That proposal was tossed out by Top Rank Promotions CEO Bob Arum, but not altogether embraced by Schaefer.
Gomez did, however, elaborate on the possibility of Alvarez taking on the winner of Williams-Lara.
"Yeah, there's a good possibility. There's a good possibility. Obviously, we would look at everything. Every offer and every aspect of it. But we will have to see what happens in this fight," said Gomez.
"Paul Williams is one of the best. And we'll see. We'll see what happens," said Gomez. "Obviously, all of the big names are going to be considered. When you have a network like HBO, they make things happen. If the money's there, anything can happen."