This is going to be another good HBO fight. Kermit Cintron will fight anyone – Margarito twice, Martinez, Angulo and now Paul Williams. The Punisher is also no stranger to taking major risks – he fights ANYONE from 147 to 160 and could well be the best welterweight on the planet right now.
Round one: Both launching bombs early. But both have respect for each other’s artillery. Ronnie Shields says to Cintron: “I don’t want you running into that left hand. I want head movement.” George Peterson to Paul: “Throw that jab, throw that jab. Wait on him to come in for the left, trust me, he’s going to cooperate.” 10-9 for Paul, he was a little more aggressive and busy.
Round two: Boos descend on the fighters as the fight is not living up to the initial promise of excitement. There’s a lot of respect for each other’s power and both are being careful. Fans have to realize a lot is on the line for both. Both are waiting to counter. Not much action. 10-10. Shields: “I love the head movement. Keep the fhythm going.”
Round three: Cintron lands a hard righ to the body. Paul respects that right hand. More boos. Paul assuming the hunter role and starting to assert himself. An urgent Shields to Cintron: “Don’t let this guy set the pace. Give me 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off if you want. Get on this guy!” 10-9 Williams.
Round four: Action picking up now. Suddenly after an exchange, both get mixed up awkwardly and fall with Cintron appearing to nosedive through the ropes and out of the ring, as one observer noted that he seemed to push off with his left leg to actually launch himself out of the ring. But who knows. It does not seem to be a very dangerous fall onto the ringside table and then tennis court concrete but Cintron is laying nearly motionless, except for some gesturing with glove that his right lower back is hurting. Expected it to be a no decision because it didn’t go four rounds but apparently California rules say it will go to scorecards. A frustrated looking Williams wins a split decision as the three judges have extremely varying perspective on this bizarre duel – 39-37 and 40-36 for Paul and 40-36 for Cintron. I had it 40-37 for Williams.
The still motionless Cintron is taken by stretcher – with neckbrace firmly affixed – to ambulance van where HBO camera capture images of Cintron punching the van while after Michael Buffer calls the decision, while secured in stretcher, without apparent regard for any kind of neck, back or any kind of injury.
“He hit me with a nice little shot and I hit him with a nice shot,” said Williams after. “We were both throwing punches and we got tangled and he fell out of the ring. I saw him try to get up. I know he wanted to fight. I know I wanted to fight. I don’t know what to say. It is a strange way to get a win. I will try to get a better one next time. I definetly don’t want to see a fighter get hurt like that. I wanted to hurt him with a punch, not by him falling out of the ring. But I wish the best for him and his family. I feel bad the fans didn’t get their money’s worth, but I will try harder to give it to them the next time.”
Williams also stated that he has his sights set on Floyd Mayweather next. “The top of the list is Mayweather. If I can’t get Mayweather, I want Pacquaio. If I can’t get Pacquiao, I want to see a rematch with Martinez.”
Dan Goossen: “I
t was unfortunate what happened tonight. We certainly wanted Paul to shine and it looked like he was just getting into gear there in the fourth round. We can do it again if they want to or Paul can go on and fight Pacquiao or Mayweather. We are ready to move to welterweight and take on either fighter.”
There obviously is another different perspective on what transpired last night in California. According to the boxing messageboards on the Internet, there is a significant segment of boxing fans who strongly believe Cintron faked his way out of the fight by diving out of the ring in order to secure a second payday from an HBO rematch. And the fact that we now know on Sunday morning that Cintron was not seriously hurt by the fall and is ready for a rematch certainly lends a little credence to that opinion. Whatever really happened, Williams and Cintron both, in a strange way, actually gained more popularity and marquee value from this fight – and deserve the chance to box again in high profile matches.