By Lem Satterfield
The manager of unbeaten Cuban Erislandy Lara said that former three-time world champion Paul "The Punisher" Williams had better be prepared for their July 9 clash of southpaws in Atlantic City, otherwise, he'll get knocked out for the second straight time -- just as he was stopped for the first time in his career in the second round of his previous bout opposite Argentinian southpaw Sergio Martinez in November.
In taking on the 28-year-old Lara (15-0-1, 10 knockouts) at the Boardwalk Hall, the 29-year-old Williams (39-2, 27 KOs) is returning to the site where he fell face-first and lay unconcious for a few moments after being knocked cold by solid left hand from WBC emeritus middleweight champion Martinez (47-2-2, 26 KOs).
"This is Lara's defining moment. This is the chance in a lifetime that every fighter like him wishes for. When you're talking about a fighter of Paul Williams' caliber, then you're talking about a man who is a three-time world champion," said Luis DeCubas Jr.
"Paul Williams had better be ready to go, because if he's gun-shy for one second, then he's going to be put to sleep again," said DeCubas. "And if not, then he's going to be getting hit all night long, because we're ready and he's going to be in for a real fight."
Martinez-Williams II was a rematch of a December 2009 bout, which Williams won by majority decision victory during a fight when both fighters were floored in the first round.
"Maybe Paul Williams didn't look so good in his last fight with Martinez. But he did look good in their fight before that, which I thought that Williams won," said DeCubas.
"Basically, Golden Boy and [matchmaker] Eric Gomez just threw it at us, 'Would you like to fight Paul Williams?'" said DeCubas. "Of course, we took it because this is a fight that we've wanted for a very long time. We love the opportunity."
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 match up with former champion Kermit Cintron (32-3-1, 28 KOs).
Although Molina never has been stopped, DeCubas believes that Lara's performance against him is what made Williams choose to face him in his first fight back since losing to Martinez.
"Maybe Lara didn't look good in his last fight, but that can happen to anyone where they have just this one bad night, as Paul Williams knows," said DeCubas. "But before that, they were saying that Lara was ready for not only Paul Williams, but anyone else in the world, you know?"
DuCubas attibuted Lara's performance against Molina to overconfidence.
"Molina is a lot trickier fighter than a lot of people give him credit for, and the reality is that Lara wasn't as prepared mentally or physically as he should have been," said DuCubas. "Lara was a little overconfident after knocking out the last four guys he had faced in the first round going into that fight."
Lara is being guided by trainer Ronnie Shields and strength and conditioning coach Edward Jackson, the latter of whom also works with WBA super middleweight champion Andre Ward (24-0, 13 KOs).
"We have a great team now and I've been out here with him for eight weeks. Whether it goes four rounds or 12, we're going to be ready for the best Paul Williams," said DeCubas.
"You've got to remember that in the Cuban amateur system, there are more southpaws than right-handed fighters. He's fought all types of tall, lanky, skinny southpaws," said DeCubas. "He's fought Russians, he's fought in large arenas with thousands of people. He's a world class amateur fighter, and now he's a pro. He won't get rattled or shaken. He's a very calm guy and he's ready."
Because of their styles, and Lara's hunger to make a name for himself, Williamsp promoter, Dan Goossen, told BoxingScene.com that he expects fireworks.
In an earlier interview, Goossen said that he believes that Lara and his promoter, Golden Boy Promotions, took the fight because they truly feel that it's the "right time" to fight Williams.
"I'm sure that Golden Boy and Luis DeCubas and Lara all believe that if you're going to get Paul Williams, that now is the time to get him. There are certain fights that we want that are big fights, and one of those big fights I know off of the top of my head is another fight with Sergio Martinez," said Goossen.
"That's a fight that we certainly want to get back, and I believe that it's a fight that's gotta be made," said Goossen. "Right now, though, it's about looking at Paul's next fight, taking on a young, hungry kid who realizes that he's in a big fight and realizes what a victory over Paul Williams does for him."
DeCubas believes that Lara was chosen by Wiltliams in order to emulate Martinez.
"They really want the Martinez rematch, so they figured that they'll go after another southpaw, and Lara was out there," said DeCubas. "There's not too many other guys out there, and Lara's an unbeaten prospect and they said Lara was a good fighter to get back in there against."
DeCubas also said that he thinks that Williams' camp chose Lara based on his performance against Molina.
"Absolutely they did, 100 percent. I definitely think that. But if we looked at Paul Williams' last performance and trained off of that, then we wouldn't do much training at all, would we?" said DeCubas.
"I don't think that Lara's in over his head at all," said DeCubas. "We will be ready for the Paul Williams who got knocked out in two rounds by Martinez, and we'll be ready for the Paul Williams who beat Martinez."
DeCubas said that he expects for Lara to cash in on his opportunity against Williams.
"I hope that they don't just go solely off of the Molina fight, because if they do, then they're going to be surprised," said DuCubas. "I just want to wish them luck, because Lara's going to be prepared physically and mentally."