By Keith Idec
The first time Paul Williams won a controversial 12-round majority decision against a southpaw, “The Punisher” gladly gave Sergio Martinez a rematch two fights later.
Erislandy Lara shouldn’t expect to get back in the ring with Williams anytime soon, though.
Williams said that he has little interest in battling Lara again, despite that the vast majority of fight fans thought the previously unbeaten Cuban was denied a victory he had earned against Williams on July 9 in Atlantic City.
“I ain’t got no reason to fight him,” said Williams (40-2, 27 KOs), who’ll box Japan’s Nobuhiro Ishida (24-6-2, 9 KOs) on Feb. 18 in Corpus Christi, Texas. “He ain’t got no fame and glory. All he got was me having a bad night. That was about it. If he gets a title or something, or gets some clout up under his name, then I’ll definitely go check him again.”
Two judges — Donald Givens (116-114) and Hilton Whitaker (115-113) — had Williams winning his 12-round fight against Lara, while the third judge, Al Bennett, had it even (114-114). The prevailing opinion among fans and media members inside Boardwalk Hall’s Adrian Phillips Ballroom was Lara definitively won the fight, perhaps as many as eight or nine rounds.
The highly scrutinized scorecards caused so much backlash that Aaron Davis, commissioner of New Jersey’s State Athletic Control Board, suspended Bennett, Givens and Whitaker indefinitely. Williams called that decision “bullcrap,” and argued that he deserved the win against Lara (15-1-1, 10 KOs), who has not fought since losing to Williams.
“I thought I inched it out,” said Williams, of Aiken, S.C. “Like most guys said like they didn’t see me doing like the clean, big head punches and stuff. But I thought this was not amateurs. They do count body shots and I worked the body the most.”
George Peterson, Williams’ trainer, thinks some outraged observers were swayed by HBO’s broadcast team that night and failed to give Williams credit for the work he did during the fight.
“The judges had absolutely no account of what the announcers were saying,” Peterson said. “The judges called it just like they saw it, not like the announcers mentioned it. The announcers mentioned it one way and the judges saw it another way. Let the judges do their job, let the announcers do their job and let the referee do [his] job.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. Tags: Erislandy Lara , Paul Williams