Paul Williams talks about Verno Phillips and beyond


Paul Williams talks about Verno Phillips and beyond

Press Release: "The Most Feared Fighter in Boxing," Paul "The Punisher" Williams will be taking on Verno Phillips in a WBO interim junior middleweight bout on Saturday, November 29th, at the Citizens Business Bank Arena located in Ontario, California and broadcast on HBO. In an unusual twist, both men are or were reigning champions (Williams is WBO 147-pound champ, Phillips had to vacate the IBF 154-pound title) but they will be fighting for a third belt. Paul Williams answered some questions about his upcoming fight.

Presented by Goossen Tutor Promotions,  Riverside's and Inland Empire's Cristobal "The Nightmare" Arreola will fight Travis "Freight Train" Walker in a 12-round IBF  Heavyweight Elimination bout.  In addition,  Shawn Estrada, the 2008 US Olympian from East Los Angeles, will be making his professional 4-round debut.

The following is a question and answer with the two-time WBO welterweight champion, Paul Williams on Saturday's fight against Phillips:

QUESTION: What do you believe makes a fighter like Verno Phillips accept a challenge from you?
ANSWER:  Verno Phillips has no choice.  His mortality table has come to an end.  He's not in the situation where he can pick and choose.  [Editor's note: did Paul Williams really say "mortality table?]
QUESTION: You are an extremely large fighter for being a natural 147-pound with an 82" reach and your physical size is comparable to heavyweight fighters such as the Klitschko brothers, Wladimir and Vitali, who have a reach of 81" and 80" respectively.  Do you believe that this is the main reason your counterparts avoid you?
ANSWER:  It's not so much my reach.  It is more about the fighter that I am.  Verno has fought larger fighters and won.  This is about individual ability.  If Verno thought that he couldn't win, he wouldn't have taken the fight.  He must feel that with his skill level he will be able to win.
QUESTION: Phillips stated that he has the advantage in the weight department as well as being able to take your punch.  Would you agree with either of his points?
ANSWER:   I wouldn't say that.  I go back to Roy Jones when he fought John Ruiz.  John Ruiz was a natural 230-pounder and he didn't hurt Roy.
QUESTION: You've had two consecutive knockouts against fighters that don't get knocked out so easily.  It took Cotto five rounds against Quintana when the referee stopped their bout. Phillips was only stopped once and that was in 1988.  How do you envision this fight going, and do you believe you can knock him out?
ANSWER:  This fight is not predicated on knocking him out.  It is about winning the fight.  It's about concentrating on coming out victorious.
QUESTION: This will be your 11th fight in California, and the fourth one in your last five bouts.  Your fight against Margarito last year was a sell-out at the Home Depot Center, which was the first time it had ever gotten close to selling out. While the crowd was initially there mostly due to Margarito, do you believe the fans embraced you as one of their own?
ANSWER: Most definitely.  I always receive a warm reception.  I feel as if they recognize me as one of their own.  When I was at the Shane Mosley fight, they overwhelmed me with attention and autographs.  
QUESTION: Winning at this level is tough to do in every fight.  Many athletes and not just fighters, start letting outside distractions take away from their training and focus.  What keeps you hungry and able to dedicate and sacrifice while training for a fight?
ANSWER:  This is my job and it is based on winning.  From day one I train to win, not to lose.  Winning is the objective here.  I want my name to come up when people are speaking of Sugar Ray Leonard, Sugar Ray Robinson, Roberto Duran and Tommy Hearns.  I want my name mentioned among that group and that keeps me motivated and hungry.
QUESTION:  What goes through your mind when you break camp and prepare for the countdown to your fight?
ANSWER:  When you've been on the road for 5 months you get excited because you know it's close to going home time.  So I just want to do the job that I came to do and get out.
QUESTION:  Providing you win your fight on Saturday, give me the top three names your would like to fight next and why?
ANSWER: I'm going to leave that up to my management team.  I will fight who ever they put in front of me at 147, 154 or 160.  I'm expecting a great fight [vs. Phillips].  The winner will be the best fighter that night.  No predictions.