By Ryan Maquiñana
Junior featherweight prospect Tramaine Williams goes for his second win in two professional outings when he meets Theo Johnson on the Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.-Andy Lee undercard Saturday night in El Paso, Tex.
Williams (1-0, 1 KO), a 19-year-old from New Haven, Connecticut, put his blinding handspeed on display in a first-round stoppage of Jesse Anguiano on the Brandon Rios-Richard Abril undercard in April. Now he sees action on another high-profile show.
“I like it a lot here because in El Paso, there’s a lot of fans that like boxing so I wouldn’t be surprised to see a couple thousand out there even though I’m fighting early,” the southpaw told BoxingScene.com. “As far as pressure, depends how you look at it. I don’t really feel anxiety as much as I get excited.”
Since signing a managerial contract with James Prince, Williams will be appearing on his second Top Rank card. While he still has not inked a contract with the promotional outfit, Williams showed a little entrepreneurial flair of his own.
After pointing out Top Rank has signed his amateur colleague Toka Kahn Clary, who also hails from the Northeast region, Williams was already pitching ideas for future cards.
“I’m real close to Toka Kahn Clary,” Williams said. “He’s only an hour and a half away by car from my house. Sometimes he comes over and picks me up to hang out. If I signed with Top Rank, it would be great because we could sell out shows together up there at The Lions Den, Mohegan Sun, Foxwoods—you name it.
“I live an hour away from those venues and he’s an hour away from the other side. Our fans can meet in the middle. Hopefully after this fight, they’ll sign me. I’m going to show them I can fight, and if they’re good to me, I’ll keep up my end of the deal.”
Standing only 5’4’’, Williams “Midget” moniker denoting his short stature might seem like a weakness, but the fighter thinks differently.
“It’s always like that when you’re little,” Williams said. “People think they can just overpower you. But you know what? My height can be an advantage because when you punch you want to get low, and being low already, I can be hard to find, especially with my speed.”
Johnson (0-1), of San Antonio, Tex., is fresh off a pro debut last month where he took Javier Rodriguez the four-round distance in a unanimous decision defeat. While he will come in as the opponent, Williams treated his foe with nothing but respect.
“I’m looking for this fight to go more than one round,” Williams said. “I saw Johnson fight on YouTube, and no matter what, you never want to look past anybody because one punch can change the whole fight.”
Williams understands that he’s still a work in progress in his own right.
“You always want to work on what needs work,” he said. “I really improved on my jab and bringing it back a little faster than last time. I still need to do a better job on that but I’ve worked hard in the gym on it, and hopefully you’ll see it tomorrow.”
He’s not the only one who needs to brush up on his craft. Perhaps as a telltale sign of where he still stands in the boxing world, fans and even writers have frequently misspelled his name. The kid has been too polite to correct them, however, and vows to make them remember with his exploits in the ring.
“Stay tuned for Tramaine Williams and follow me on Twitter (@maineeo). Tramaine with an A,” he said, laughing. “I noticed on Boxrec they spell it with a E. I guess that means I just have to earn their respect. Who knows, if I keep fighting and winning, once they start spelling my name with an A instead an E, I’ll know I made it.”
Ryan Maquiñana writes a weekly boxing column for CSNBayArea.com. He is a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Ratings Panel for Ring Magazine. E-mail him at [email protected] , check out his blog at Norcalboxing.net, or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.