Nobody Wants to Fight Paul Williams; Josh Clottey to the Rescue


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↵It has to be tough, although satisfying, to be boxer Paul Williams. He’s a physical marvel, 6’1”, capable of fighting at any weight between 147 and 160, and possessed of the wingspan of a pterodactyl (his arm-span is the same as Wladimir Klitschko’s, who generally outweighs him by about a hundred pounds). ↵

↵What’s more, P-Will is a supremely talented fighter who last Saturday completely dominated one of the most accomplished boxers of this generation, Winky Wright. It was a masterful, jaw-dropping performance of volume, creativity and simply unfathomable conditioning. He threw over a 1,000 punches on the night (including a seemingly impossible wrap-around uppercut that got quite a bit of attention) and come the bell to end the 12th and final round he looked for all the world as if he could go another 12 and then head straight to the after-hours club to get his dance on. ↵

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↵In short, the guy is the rilly dilly to nth power of dilly, and you would think that his near-shutout victory of a man of Winky’s caliber would prove his official coronation as a Stone-Cold Mack of the boxing scene with many high-octane bouts in his future. ↵

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↵Think again. This is, unfortunately, the organizational nightmare that is boxing, where title belts have been rendered about as useful as regular belts (less so, actually -- they don’t even keep your pants up) and where nobody actually has to fight anyone. P-Will is a popular fighter among sweet scientists, but as every devoted follower of the fight game is aware, we make up about 0.0001% of the sporting population, if that much. To make a buck in this game, a fighter has to become at least a minor crossover attraction to the sports world at large, and to do that he usually needs to beat someone, or at least have a great fight with someone, who already has crossed over to that level of stardom. ↵

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↵Williams is a long way from having a crossover Q rating, and what’s more, everyone who is that kind of star wants absolutely no part of him, a fact that is even more the case after his destruction of Winky than it was beforehand. Because nobody has to fight him, nobody wants to fight him. ↵

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↵Except, that is, for the gutsy Ghanaian welterweight, Josh Clottey. Clottey, who has speed and power and a chin made of granite, has been working his way up the star-ladder for a while now. He’s currently training for his first legitimate turn in the big-time this June when he faces Miguel Cotto at Madison Square Garden in what has become Cotto’s traditional pre-Puerto Rican Day Parade Garden party (and let me tell you, I’ve attended a few of these affairs -- they are off the hizzle-dizzle with raging Boricuans). ↵

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↵Based on some recent comments, it seems that Clottey is one welterweight who is not afraid of Paul Williams. Speaking with Boxing Scene today, Clottey said that he’s sick of hearing how Williams is the most ducked man in boxing. ↵

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↵⇥“I’ve been looking for him for years and been calling for a fight with him,” Clottey said of Williams. “He don’t want to fight me. Why do people call him ‘avoided’?” ↵
↵Later on, Clottey intimated that he gladly would face Williams, saying, “I’ll fight with anyone.” ↵

↵Even though it’s directed against Williams, I have to imagine that this tirade prompted P-Will to go right out and join Clottey’s fan club. Williams has been in a very difficult position in the game for a while now -- a great up-and-coming star who can’t get to the next level because he can’t get anyone significant to fight him (other than Tony Margarito in the summer of 2007, when Margarito was not quite the star that he would become, and then Winky, who is both old and irrelevant to the current scene). But if Clottey beats Cotto at the Garden, which is highly possible (I’d put that thing at even odds right now), he will own two welterweight belts. One would imagine that he then would seek a fight with the recognized champ at 47 right now, Shane Mosley, but it’s doubtful that he would get it, because Mosley is on record as saying that he wants only gigantic fights for himself for the rest of his career, and Clottey, while a worthy opponent, is not going to be a gigantic event by any means. ↵

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↵At that point, Williams/Clottey seems like a natural make for the fall, a legitimate headliner/smackdown of an event tailor-made for HBO. The winner of that fight definitely could make a case for himself as the best welterweight in the world, and likely attract more attention from the big dogs of the game, Mosley and Mayweather and maybe even Pacquiao. ↵

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↵What this all adds up to is your basic “boxing makes strange bedfellows” situation. Josh Clottey can talk all the smack about Paul Williams that he wants. But come June 13th at Madison Square Garden, I have to believe that P-Will is going to be his number one fan. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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