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By: UK Boxing Writer – Jai Singh

In a star studded Showtime boxing card this weekend which will feature the likes of Heavyweight contender Chris Arreola (34-2, 29 KO’s) & Tavoris Cloud (23-0, 19 KO’s) in separate bouts, former WBO Welterweight champion Paul Williams (40-2, 27 KO’s) returns to the ring to take on Japan’s Nobuhiro Ishida (24-6, 9 KO’s) in a Junior Middleweight bout.

Standing at 6′ 1″ tall and usually averaging over 1000 punches a fight, it’s not hard to see why just 3 years ago Paul ‘The Punisher’ Williams was one of the most avoided and feared fighters in both the Welterweight & Junior Middleweight divisions simultaneously.

Things have gone from bad to worse in recent years for Paul Williams after being on the receiving end of the ‘2010 KO of the Year’ when he was brutally dispatched of by current Middleweight king and breakout star Sergio ‘Maravilla’ Martinez (48-2-2, 27 KO’s) within two rounds. This was followed up the next year by being the undeserving victor in one of 2011’s ‘Robberies of the Year’ when he took on the undefeated Cuban, Erislandy Lara (15-0-1, 10 KO’s) in a fight almost everybody felt he clearly lost.

Now, Williams is hoping to put the stench of those fights behind him against Ishida and feels he is ready to prove the critics wrong. “I am happy to be getting back in the ring and honored to be fighting on Showtime, and I know 2012 is going to be a good year for me,” Williams said. “Just like in the gym, sometimes you have good days and sometimes bad days. I had a couple of bad days against Martinez and Lara, but I am much more focused now and I intend to show everyone” he told ESPN Sports in a recent interview.

Dan Goossen, Williams’ promoter, believes it’s unfair that many have pronounced Williams finished after back-to-back struggles. “It’s really a shame that [it takes only] two losses in our sport and people are writing you off,” Goossen said. “Media, the experts, all these people think that you’re through. Cotto, as we know, suffered two losses to Pacquiao and Margarito and, obviously, he has shown that he isn’t through.

Goossen also said he hopes to land another major fight for Williams should he win this Saturday. “We feel that Paul is still at the top of his game. You might have some arguments from people, but Saturday night will alleviate those arguments,” Goossen said. “To me, there’s a score to settle with Martinez, and that would certainly be at the top of the list. But I don’t see people rushing into fight him, regardless. Paul is a tough man to get into the ring with. As far as I’m concerned, Floyd, Cotto, Martinez, all of them are viable.”

In my personal opinion, I don’t think a win over Ishida proves anything as he was never anything more than a B level fighter at best who registered a fluke KO win over James Kirkland. That being said, this is just the type of fight that Williams needs as a confidence booster, and I think he will TKO his Japanese foe late in a typically entertaining Paul Williams fight.
Williams has shown us that he is a great athlete, and an entertaining fighter that never avoided anybody. Let’s see if he can still become a great fighter.

In the main co-feature; IBF Light Heavyweight champion, Tavoris Cloud (24-0, 19 KO’s) takes on the dangerous and skilled Gabriel Campillo (21-3-1, 8 KO’s) this Saturday, February 18th – LIVE on Showtime.

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