With Respective Promoters Dan Goossen and Lou DiBella and Williams’ trainer George Peterson
November 8, 2009
Dan Goossen: There are a little different dynamics coming into this fight. As everyone knows and I won’t go into much detail but Paul was supposed to fight Pavlik in Atlantic City on October 3 and again on December 5 in Atlantic City and it was cancelled again. We are just happy that we were able to put everything together with Paul and Sergio Martinez. More importantly, I think Paul Williams has always been an east coast fighter but he has fought so much on the west coast, mainly because he has west coast promoters. I have told Ken Condon and the people at Caesars that Paul is going to be the biggest star that Atlantic City is going to get behind for the next few years. I believe he is the most exciting fighter in the sport today. It’s been a few years since we promoted in Atlantic City and it is great to have this fight there especially to showcase Paul Williams in it.
Lou DiBella: I would like to take umbrage in what you just saud, that this is a showcase for Paul Williams…I think he is the most avoided fighter between 147 and 168 pounds. I think he is a threat to everyone with his imposing physical size and his work rate…the guy is a great fighter. But he is fighting a great champion and on December 5, martinez is going to prove to the world that he is the dominant fighter at that weight class, at 154. I think AC is looking for fighters like Paul, I agree with that but more importantly they are starving for great fights. Right here we have a great match-up and a very difficult fight for Paul and I’ve got to give Paul and his entire team credit for taking this fight because frankly it is a much more difficult fight than a Pavlik fight with less reward. He could have fought a lesser opponent, but if you beat Sergio you will be making a statement because we believe you will be fighting one of the best fighters in the world.
Dan Goossen: Lou, I make no slight to Sergio, I have been telling everyone that Sergio Martinez is a much bigger risk than a Kelly Pavlik in our eyes. On the other hand, we have so much confidence in Paul’s ability and we know that styles make fights, but Paul is different in that he takes control and makes everyone fight his fight.
Lou DiBella: I agree and I know that your family knows enough about boxing that Sergio Martinez is a much more difficult fight that Kelly Pavlik whom I thought that Paul was going to cut right through.
Sergio Martinez: Training has been going very well. I have been working hard. Ihave been in camp for five weeks now and I am in great condition. This week I will begin sparring. I have been training for this Williams fight like I have no other and right now things are going perfectly.
Paul Williams: Sergio is a big threat and he brings a great challenge. So I have to do what I always do, I have to eliminate that threat. He is very fast so I will have to impose my will, like I always do when I get in there…control the fight. I have not seen much of Martinez, except for the Cintron fight. That is the only fight I have seen of his. My trainer will watch the tapes and put together a game plan for me and I will follow that plan. I don’t like watching tapes of guys that I am going to fight because you watch them do things then they come in and do something else.
Dan Goossen: I felt it was important to kee this fight on the east coast and Al Haymon and George and Paul and I all worked hard to find an opponent that was a reputable challenge and obviously we found it in Sergio Martinez. There was a lot of disappointment that Pavlik was not the fight but I always believed that Paul was the star so we are still moving in that direction. We are going to have Paul showcased against a tougher challenge. We did have other venues available to us out on the west coast but from day 1 was to keep the fight in Atlantic City. Outside of the great sandwiches at the White House, we needed to get Paul in there for the fans of New York and Philadelphia and especially the casinos in Atlantic City to see what a fun talent he is and one they can get behind.
How does it affect camp when a fight gets cancelled and then have to fight a guy with a different style?
Paul Williams: The only difference is needed to get rid of all the right-handed sparring partners then bring in southpaws. That’s just part of boxing – you have to deal with the good and the bad and I think this works out for the best.
How will Sergio combat the height and reach advantage?
Sergio Martinez: The difference is going to be how rapid I fight. I am very fast. I am much faster than Paul Williams and I am going to throw a lot more pnches and that’s going to be the big difference.
Has the Pavlik camp contacted you regretting the cancellations?
Dan Goossen: No. We don’t need it or expect it and we certainly prepared ourselves for another cancellation. We wouldn’t play with a serious thing such as a staph infection. On the other hand we have also heard some stories that come hell or high water we didn’t think he was going to be in that ring come December 5th. As you know, Clottey andQuintana were also going to be on the show originally along with Sergio just to insure that Paul wasn’t in another training camp and left with the news that Paul was pulling out.
Since Pavlik was being cultivated to be the next AC fighter after Gatti…have you heard that Pavlik will not be able to fight again?
Dan Goossen: We haven’t heard anything like that. Quite frankly, this was a blessing in disguise. Paul, I believe, was the meat and potatoes of the Pavlik fight and I believe he was ready to demonstrate that. Now, Paul goes to Atlantic City and Sergio wants to have his opportunity and we are going to show why Paul is the most feared fighter in the world on December 5th. Now keep in mind I think he is one of the most exciting fighters around…we’ve got some exciting fighters out there…we are going to see an exciting fight this coming weekend and the following weekend with Ward. There are a lot of great fighters out there. Paul Williams brings something that we don’t get to see and that is three minutes of pure punching power and activity, and Lou touched on this a little, here is this man that is a natural 147-pounder that is willing to fight anyone from 147 to 160. One thing I disagree with Lou on is that I don’t like to hear people say he is the most avoidable fighter…Winky Wright was the most avoided and that was because of his style. Same thing with Sergio and what he just said about his style that people avoid him. With Paul, they don’t avoid him, they fear him because of his aggressiveness, his punching power, his activity. There is a big difference between being avoided and being feared. When we made this fight with Martinez, he’s got to be congratulated because he will be in the ring with who no one wants to be in the ring with. It gives us the opportunity to make Paul Williams the star and continue this for him.
How much has Sergio’s style changed since his last fight with Margarito?
Sergio Martinez: I have matured a lot since my fight with Margarito. It has been almost 10years and I have changed a lot, mainly because of my fight against Kermit Cintron which made me a much tougher and a lot more confident.
How will it be fighting another left-hander, since your only loss was against a left-hander?
Paul Williams: I think I proved that in my second fight with Quintana. It’s not that I have trouble with left-handers, I just had an off-night that night. I made up for that in the second fight. I look at all fighters the same. I don’t think it is difficult fighting a left-hander. It doesn’t matter if he is a right-hander or a left-hander. I just deal with the fighter that is in front of me.
I think all the fights are tough fights. I can say that Sergio will move and Kelly will stand still. That’s all I can say about that, but we are working on things that will handle that. We have sparring partners that will handle that.
Have you seen tapes of Sergio?
Paul Williams: I don’t really watch tapes because fighters can always change what they do in the ring for different fights.
Sergio, how do you think you will be able to win this fight?
Sergio Martinez: For me going up in weight really doesn’t affect me. It makes me feel stronger and I know I will still have my speed, so I don’t really see any disadvantages. Also, being that I am always well conditioned, it doesn’t matter that I have taken this fight on short notice.
Will Sergio stay at middleweight or go back down again to defend the 154-ound title?
Sergio Martinez: I would consider staying at middleweight and would love to fight Kelly Pavlik because for sure I will win against Williams.
Paul Williams: Well they all talk like that until they get in the ring when the bell rings. And start taking all the punches that I am throwing. I am happy that he is confident and I know in my heart that this is a big test for me. That’s why my team and I are training hard for this fight.
How do you beat a Paul Williams?
Sergio Martinez: I am going to win by knockout and I am sure of it. I am in the best shape of my life at the best time of my career. I am a lot faster than Paul and I don’t take as many hits as he does so that will really do well for me in this fight.
Lou DiBella: Sergio has never lacked confidence so he believes what he is saying so maybe Paul is the one that is in trouble.
George Peterson: Well, Sergio can do all he wants. He will move a lot. The time is right and we will have no problems with that. That is basically what we are working on. We don’t get caught up in that, we are training for a twelve-round fight. He has been knocked out once, that that proves he can be knocked out again so we basically strategize for that. Paul has all the advantages and he also has the will to win and to be the greatest. Paul can also make the necessary adjustments. He can adjust to what the opponent does in front of him. When you have a guy that is not one-dimensional. We are very confident about going in there and stopping this guy. He has no pop and it is evident that Paul has a chin made of granite. We don’t know how long this guy is going to withstand this punishment.
Sergio said he was going to knock Paul out…
George Peterson: It will be in his dreams because it won’t be on December 5th. He hasn’t knocked anybody out, no sir.
Paul Williams: I am glad that his confidence is such as that. We will have a fight
George Peterson: Sergio has never seen a fighter such as Paul. We are glad that he has that attitude. That is the attitude that we need for Paul to knock him out.
Sergio Martinez: This is going to be the first time that Paul encounters an opponent that attacks like I do. He has never been up against somebody like me that has my mentality and he is going to know why I am the champion at 154-pounds.
George Peterson: Well he is no Vernon Phillips and Vernon couldn’t know Paul out. Sharmbe Mitchell attacked him, as long as it lasted. That is the strategy that he definitely doesn’t want to do. He should keep that jack-rabbit strategy that he doesn’t. He doesn’t want to attack Paul. But we definitely want him to think that way, no doubt.