By Ryan Maquiñana
It didn’t take long for Tramaine Williams to introduce himself to the king of his division.
When Top Rank CEO Bob Arum called on him to grab the microphone earlier this week at a press conference in Houston, the junior featherweight prospect pointed at 122-pound champion Nonito Donaire and made it clear why he entered this business.
“Nonito Donaire, I want to let you know I’m coming for you,” said Williams (4-0, 2 KOs), who may be small in stature but not when it comes to confidence.
First things first, as the 5-foot-4 southpaw with machine gun-like handspeed takes on Rafael Casias (4-5) this Saturday in a preliminary bout before Donaire’s title defense against Jorge Arce. Currently managed by Houston’s James Prince, Williams has been on the Top Rank scouts’ radar, as this won’t be the first time he has fought on their cards.
BoxingScene.com spoke to “The Mighty Midget” about stealing the show at the presser as well as his fledgling career to date.
BoxingScene.com: You fought as an amateur in New Haven, Connecticut, but now they’re saying you’re from Houston. Are you from there originally?
Tramaine Williams: I currently train in Houston with Edward Jackson. New Haven’s home but I like it out here, too.
BoxingScene.com: Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym was sitting with you at the press conference earlier this week. Now his fight with Guillermo Rigondeaux has been cancelled because he reportedly tested positive for HIV. Boxing is a sport where you guys put your life on the line every time you get in that ring. How does that make you feel to hear something like that?
Tramaine Williams: It’s crazy. Only two days before the fight and [the commission] finds it. It definitely makes you think, especially if I were in Rigondeaux’s shoes. If I were him and I took the fight, I’d have no idea he would’ve tested positive.
BoxingScene.com: What do you know about your opponent, Rafael Casias?
Tramaine Williams: I’ve seen on Boxrec that he was 4-5. I read he’s 32 years old and so he’s a grown man. I can’t underestimate him, no matter what his record is.
BoxingScene.com: In your last fight against Raul Carrillo, you squeaked by him via split decision. What happened in that fight?
Tramaine Williams: To me, I had beat him up for four rounds and even knocked him down in the second [round]. In the first round, I had hurt him with some left hands for 45 seconds but I had blown my wad. I played around, stepped back, [and] recovered a little bit. So based on the knockdown in the first and then the way I beat him up dominantly in the second, technically it should’ve been two 10-8 rounds, so I can’t see how they gave him the decision. Maybe because it was in El Paso, because that was his hometown.
BoxingScene.com: Well, at least you still pulled it out. What’s something you learned in that fight that you plan to rectify in the future?
Tramaine Williams: I’m not going to shoot my wad next time. I’ve been working on controlling my tempo and pacing myself. Sometimes you gotta learn when to go for the kill. I went for the kill, and if I hadn’t, maybe I would’ve paced myself better in that fight. Also, I’m working on reading my opponent’s body language better. Body language is 90 percent of boxing. You have to watch his facial expression, watch his breathing, and know when to take it from there.
BoxingScene.com: Tell me about your now infamous moment at the prefight presser where you called out Nonito Donaire and the rest of the fighters on the dais.
Tramaine Williams: I went on stage. I didn’t expect it. I was a little nervous when I got up there. I’m not gonna lie. I told them I’m “The Mighty Midget.” I shook their hands and told them I’m coming for them.
BoxingScene.com: So why call them out like that?
Tramaine Williams: I want to let them know that I’m the prince of the super bantamweights. They’re the kings right now, and I’m next in line, so when I do come for them, they won’t be surprised.
BoxingScene.com: Is there anything you would like to tell the fans?
Tramaine Williams: Stay tuned. 2013 is going to be my year.
Ryan Maquiñana was the boxing producer for NBCOlympics.com during London 2012 and writes a weekly 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.