By Lem Satterfield
Southpaw middleweight, junior middleweight and welterweight contender, Paul Williams, will return to the ring either in June or July against an opponent to be determined, Williams' promoter, Dan Goossen, of Goossen Tutor Promotions, told BoxingSCene.com.
The 29-year-old Williams (39-2, 27 knockouts) will be trying to rebound from December's second-round knockout loss to 36-year-old, southpaw, WBC "emeritus" champion, Sergio Martinez (47-2-2, 26 KOs) of Argentina, whose victory avenged a December, 2009, majority decision loss to Williams during which both fighters were floored during the first round.
"July 9 is certainly one of the dates that we're looking at, but at this point, it's premature to say 100 percent where we are," said Goossen.
"We're still exploring the possible dates, but it will be in June or July," said Goossen. "The progression isn't necessarily the opponent progression, it's just getting Paul back out there and picking up and continuing."
Williams was knocked cold by a crushing, overhand left from Martinez.
"Not taking anything away from Sergio Martinez, but that was one of those one-in-a-million shots. We hated to be a part of it, but Paul has taken a lot of great shots throughout the years and not been bothered by it this much," said Goossen.
"But this one came from out of the blue, and, you know, that obviously had something to do with it," said Goossen. "But we're very confident in Paul Williams getting back to where we believe that he will remain, and that's at the top."
The nearly 6-foot-3 Williams still is a dangerous boxer because of his height, two-fisted power, high punch output, athleticism and general talents, in addition to having been a man who has twice won WBO titles at welterweight and also owned the WBO junior middleweight belt.
"We're still in the Paul Williams business from what he's kind of blazed over the last few years, and that is that he is capable of fighting in a multitude of divisions," said Goossen.
"You know, 147 [welterweight] is certainly one of them, but it would have to be a major fight to go down there because, obviously, Paul is getting bigger and stronger, so it would be a much harder chore to get down to 147," said Goossen. "But we all believe that he can do it. He could go at 154 [junior middleweight] or 160 [middleweight,] basically the same path that we've taken the past few years."
Nicknamed, "The Punisher," Williams ended a nearly nine-month layoff when he fought Martinez the first time in Atlantic City on the same night that Williams was supposed to challenge then-WBO and WBC middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik (36-1, 32 KOs) before the titlist canceled their bout due to a staph infection on the knuckle of his left forefinger.
Martinez entered the clash with an unbeaten streak of 28-0-1 with 18 knockouts since February of 2000, when he was stopped in seven rounds by Antonio Margarito, whom Williams decisioned unanimously in July of 2007.
Williams-Martinez I was televised on HBO from the Andrian Phillips Ballroom of the Boardwalk Hall. In April, just prior to rematching Williams, Martinez dethroned Pavlik by unanimous decision.
"In that first fight, Martinez and Williams both took tremendous shots, so Paul has shown that he has a great chin throughout the years," said Goossen. "But it's always the one that you don't see and the one that comes from left field that can do the most damage."
In April of 2009, Williams handed former world champion, Winky Wright (51-5-1, 25 KOs), the most lopsided loss of his career, 120-108, on one judge's card, and 119-109 on the other two.
Williams' only other loss was by February, 2009, unanimous decision to southpaw Carlos Quintana (28-3, 22 KOs) of Puerto Rico that dethroned Williams as WBO champ.
Four months later, in June, however, Williams regained his belt with an emphatic, first-round stoppage of Quintana, who is now 34 years old.
"All that we want to do is to get him back in there and to get him back to the top," said Goossen. "You know, I think that it will only take one fight, and we will be right back there."