By Ben Jacobs
Last Thursday’s bout between rising talents Julian Williams and Hugo Centeno Jr ended in controversy. After three rounds, and before the fourth could conclude, the fight was waved off after an accidental head clash resulted in a cut for both men. Centeno was taken by the referee to be examined by the doctor who deemed the Californian unable to continue, given that he could not see the correct amount of fingers the doctor was showing him. This was despite the fact that the boxer himself insisted he was okay to carry on.
Williams is already back in the gym and looking to fight before the end of the year but could not hide his disappointment at how the fight ended.
“I’m a little aggravated about what happened, the way the referee handled things. I’m not mad at the doctor because he can only go off what the fighter says,” Williams told BoxingScene.
“Jay Nady went over to check on him (Centeno), but I was cut also, he didn’t check on me before or afterwards.
“I feel he definitely quit. I feel the kid’s an opportunist. He had the opportunity to get out of the fight because he knew he was losing. I knew I would stop him in the next two or three rounds, I was just getting warmed up. I was up three zip and I was winning the fourth.
“I think the first right hand I hit him with hurt him, he stumbled back. I just wanted to take my time and get him out of there.”
After an anticipated bout amongst hardcore boxing fans ended so inconclusively, the logical step would be to have a rematch. Does Williams see that as a possibility?
“You know what, it don’t really matter to me. Whatever they want I’ll do. If they want a rematch I’ll do it but I don’t see the need to. He found a way to quit and that’s what he did. He’s being political by saying he wants a rematch. But it could happen.
“I’m only 13-0 so I’m still in the process stage but maybe in two more fights I’ll be a contender, you know?”
BoxingScene also spoke to Williams’ trainer/advisor, Stephen “Breadman” Edwards who offered his thoughts on what transpired.
“I’m only disappointed with the way it ended and I knew the kid would try and get a way out once Julian started taking his confidence away,” Edwards explained.
“I’m more disappointed with the officials because I think they allowed him to have a way out. I’ve seen inconsequential cuts like that before and the officials don’t take you over to the doctor for a cut on the side of your face and start asking you how many fingers you have up.
“As far as I’m concerned, both fighters were cut and they took the fighter who was losing to the doctor. They didn’t take Julian over to the doctor and he had a cut in the same spot.
“The doctor held up two fingers and he said he could see three which prompted them to stop the fight. I think it was planned to be honest with you. I think he could see very well, he just didn’t want to fight anymore. Things weren’t going his way.
“Julian had a real bad hand injury after his sixth or seventh fight and he wasn’t trying to knock guys out. But now we’re on a different conditioning programme and his hands have healed up, so he’s been a lot stronger. Our plan was to box Centeno and control him with our jab and then step on it after the sixth round. Julian was controlling him without using a lot of energy. He hurt Hugo with a left hook to the body in the third round - he was gonna get him out of there, no doubt.”
Edwards, like his fighter, feels that there is no need for a return bout.
“We’re not even interested in a rematch. After the fight, so many Mexicans came up to us and appreciated the way Julian was fighting. They knew what was gonna happen.
“Hugo’s a decent fighter, I don’t wanna disrespect the kid but he’s more a business man than a fighter. That’s gonna harm his career. If he gets a serious injury in a fight people won’t believe him cause of what he did. Victor Ortíz had the same problem. His jaw was broken against Josésito López but he quit against Maidana and acted like a fool against Floyd Mayweather, so nobody believed him. I actually feel bad for Hugo because on social networks people are calling him a quitter. I think he was brought along soft and got a reality check in the fight.
“I don’t like to get into personal attacks on people. I like Joel de la Hoya (Centeno’s manager) a lot, he’s a real cool guy but we had competitive words after the fight. He was saying that Julian was gonna fade, and I said to him, ‘Then why did you let your guy stop fighting?’
“I even went to smooth things over with Joel on social network with a direct message, and he blocked me. I don’t understand why he took that so personal when it was his fighter who ruined the event, not mine. If anything they should apologize to us, I would never stand for Julian finding a way out in those circumstances.”
Edwards added that Al Haymon informed him of the possibility that Williams could return to the ring before the end of the year.