A Saturday press conference is in the works for smack-talkers Adrien Broner and Paulie Malignaggi.
Head to head: Williams-Cintron
PAUL WILLIAMS vs. KERMIT CINTRON
When: Saturday, May 8
Where: Home Depot Center, Carson, Calif.
TV: HBO, 6:45 p.m. PT/ 9:45 p.m. ET
Weight: Junior middleweight (154 pounds)
Title(s) at stake: None
Also on the card: Martin Honorio vs. Argenis Mendez, 12 rounds, junior lightweight.
Height / Reach: 6-1 (185cm) / 82 (208cm)
Hometown: Augusta, Ga.
Nickname: The Punisher
Turned pro: 2000
Record: 38-1 (27 knockouts)
Weight: Weighed in at 152 1/2 pounds.
Trainer: George Peterson
The Ring rating: No. 2 middleweight; No. 7 pound for pound.
Titles: WBO welterweight (2007-08; lost title to Carlos Quintana); WBO welterweight (2008; regained title from Quintana and then vacated it).
Biggest victories: Antonio Margarito, July 14, 2007, UD 12 (wins WBO welterweight title); Carlos Quintana, June 7, 2008, TKO 1 (regains WBO welterweight title; Winky Wright, April 11, 2009, UD 12; Sergio Martinez, Dec. 5, 2009, MD 12.
Only loss: Carlos Quintana, Feb. 9, 2008, UD (lost WBO welterweight title).
Height / reach: 5-11 (180cm) / 74 (188cm)
Hometown: Houston, Texas (born in Puerto Rico)
Nickname: The Killer
Turned pro: 2000
Record: 32-2-1 (28 knockouts)
Weight: Weighed in at 154 pounds.
Trainer: Ronnie Shields
The Ring rating: No. 2 junior middleweight
Titles: IBF welterweight (2006-08; lost it to Antonio Margarito).
Biggest victories: David Estrad, April 19, 2006, TKO 10 (title eliminator); Mark Suarez, Oct. 28, 2006, TKO 6 (won vacant title); Walter Matthysse, July 14, 2007, KO 2; Lovemore N’Dou, Nov. 15, 2008, UD 12 (title eliminator); Alfredo Angulo, May 30, 2009, UD 12.
Losses / draw: Antonio Margarito, April 23, 2005, TKO 5; Margarito, April 12, 2008, KO 6 (lost title); Sergio Martinez, Feb. 14, 2009, MD (draw) 12.
Skills: Neither fighter had much of an amateur background, so both honed their craft during their busy pro careers. Both have gradually developed decent skills to back up their physical prowess. Williams has faster feet, better head and upper-body movement (when he elects to use it) and is better at working angles in close than Cintron, but the former high school wrestling standout has cleaner technique, superior defense and is better at timing and establishing distance.
Power: Both fighters are big, physically imposing brutes for the welterweight and junior middleweight divisions. However, while Williams uses non-stop pressure and volume punching to grind his opponents down, Cintron, who won 22 of his first 24 bouts by knockout, has a degree of power than can end a fight with a single punch. Their respective performances against Walter Matthysse is a good example of their power differential. Williams wore Matthysse down to a 10th-round technical stoppage but never floored the Argentine strongman. Cintron dropped Matthysse with a single right hand in the second round of their fight and then nearly decapitated him with a left hook-right cross follow up that left the wild slugger flat on his back.
Speed and athletic ability: Both fighters are athletically gifted. Williams has the ability to throw fast three- and four-punch combinations for an entire fight. The southpaw has very good footwork and hand-eye coordination for such a gangly specimen. However, Cintron possesses better balance, quicker reflexes and is the physically stronger of the two.
Defense: Both fighters believe a good offense is a good defense and neither man can be described as “elusive” but Cintron is more leery of being hit than Williams, who relishes a good fight. Cintron uses a stiff jab, lateral movement and occasional shoulder rolls to avoid punches. Cintron also does an adequate job of blocking punches and is more than willing to hold his opponents when they are in close to avoid infighting when necessary. Williams has the ability to move his head and upper body to avoid punches, or he could simply use his height to lean away from incoming shots, but he is usually there to be hit because he’s so intent on swarming his opponents.
Experience: Both fighters are young veterans who have faced solid contenders and young talent residing in the 147- and 154-pound divisions, including common opponents Antonio Margarito, Sergio Martinez and Matthysse. Williams has also faced Carlos Quintana and Verno Phillips, both RING-rated at the time, and former junior middleweight champ Winky Wright. Cintron outpointed then-undefeated prospect Alfredo Angulo over 12 and stopped dangerous fringe contenders David Estrada, Mark Suarez, Teddy Reid and Said Ouali.
Chin: Both fighters can take a good shot. Cintron was stopped twice by Margarito, but both TKO losses are now in question due to the illegal hand-wrapping the Mexican mauler was later busted for. Whether Margarito’s wraps were loaded or not it should be noted that he overwhelmed Cintron with body punches and pressure; he didn’t hurt him with single shots to the jaw. Williams has been down and seriously hurt only once, in the first round of his battle with Martinez. The southpaw giant has an amazing ability to absorb flush punches to his chin and the recuperative powers to quickly bounce back from those that appear to rock him. If there’s an edge in the chin department it belongs to Williams who seems to have the will to take more punishment than Cintron.
Conditioning: Both fighters are conditioned to utilize maximum strength, speed, and power for the duration of their fights, but Williams trains to throw non-stop punches for 12 rounds every time he steps into the ring. Cintron is also capable of high-volume outings. He threw 1,094 punches during his 12-round victory over Angulo. However, Williams -- who threw 979 total punches vs. Martinez, 1,086 vs. Wright and 1,256 vs. CompuBox record-holder Margarito -- consistently posts such statistics against world-class opposition.
Wear and tear: Cintron was twice punished by Margarito but fortunately for him the bouts were not extended beatings. Williams has engaged in two grueling 12-round bouts, his intense match with Margarito and his war with Martinez. Apart from those bouts, Cintron and Williams were the ones dishing out the “hurt.”
Corner: George Peterson single-handedly transformed Williams from a raw, awkward street fighter to a bona-fide top 10 pound-for-pound player and for that impressive feat the former police officer can’t receive enough praise. Cintron received a good foundation from original coach Marshall Kaufman and quickly advanced under the tutelage of Emanuel Steward but he seems to be flourishing with new trainer Ronnie Shields, who has guided him since his rematch loss to Margarito. Under Shields, a veteran coach who has worked with a dozen titleholders, Cintron has found the right balance of boxing and punching/movement and aggression, which enabled him to disrupt Martinez’s rhythm and outwork and outmaneuver Angulo.
Outcome: Williams will come out smoking, seeking to set a torrid pace and prevent Cintron from establishing distance or getting into a rhythm. Only a few well-placed left hook bombs will enable Cintron to earn some breathing room during Williams’ relentless early rounds assault. The towering southpaw’s warlike mentality will result in heated exchanges in the middle rounds, during which time both men will have their heads snapped back by flush power punches. However, Williams’ greater punch output and body attack will enable him to take over the fight in the late rounds of an entertaining bout.
Prediction: Williams by close unanimous decision
Michael Rosenthal contributed to this report