By Keith Idec
Paul Williams hardly knows anything about Nobuhiro Ishida.
The former welterweight and junior middleweight champion knows what we all know, that Ishida scored a shocking first-round knockout against James Kirkland on April 9 in Las Vegas. Beyond less than two minutes of action in that fight, in which Ishida dropped the previously undefeated Kirkland three times, Williams hasn’t seen Ishida fight.
He tried to get other tapes of Ishida, but 29 of Ishida’s 30 professional fights before he stopped Kirkland were contested in Japan, none of which were televised in the United States. Other than the Kirkland knockout, there’s footage of three of Ishida’s fights on YouTube, but only one of those three fights, his first-round stoppage of Edison Espinoza (pro debut) on Nov. 26 in Mexico City, came against a left-handed opponent.
“You couldn’t really tell too much from [the] Kirkland [fight],” Williams told BoxingScene.com. “It didn’t last long. And we really couldn’t get any tape on him, so that makes him a real dangerous fighter, because you don’t really know nothing about him.”
The 30-year-old Williams (40-2, 27 KOs) has tried to not allow his lack of knowledge of Ishida (24-6-2, 9 KOs) hinder his preparation. The defensively flawed Williams realizes, however, that he’ll have to fight smart, especially early in this 12-round junior middleweight fight at American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas (Showtime; 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT).
“I’ve just got to go out there and do my thing,” said Williams, who like Kirkland, is a southpaw. “I’ve got to be on my Ps and Qs and be real conscious of everything, because we don’t know anything about this guy. So to me, he’s the most dangerous fighter out there right now.”
Williams, of Aiken, S.C., also feels as though he has to get Ishida’s respect immediately. The 36-year-old Ishida isn’t known as a huge puncher, but the former interim WBA junior middleweight champion has won his last two bouts by first-round technical knockout and Williams wants to shake his confidence as soon as possible.
“He’s going in there trying to get an upset,” Williams said. “My game plan is to change his mind real quick and let him know this isn’t going to be no walk in the park.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.