The sport enjoyed a busy weekend of boxing but the talk among fight fans around the world, unfortunately, was the awful majority decision that Paul Williams was awarded over Erislandy Lara on Saturday in Atlantic City, N.J.
Williams, a RING-ranked contender at 147, 154 and 160 pounds at various times over the past four years, won the 12-round junior middleweight bout by scores of 116-114, 115-114 and 114-114.
The former two-time welterweight beltholder was far busier than Lara. However, just about everyone who watched the bout, which was televised on HBO in the U.S., believed the skillful Cuban southpaw landed the harder and cleaner punches in every round of the contest and deserved to not only win, but do so by lopsided scores.
HBO commentators Roy Jones Jr. and Max Kellerman openly feared for the health of Williams, who absorbed a frightening number of flush left hands to his head throughout the fight. Kellerman brought up the towering southpaw’s imminent retirement a number of times during the broadcast and even stated that the Lara fight could be the last time fans see Williams in the ring before the bout had ended
That remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: Williams, who THE RING ranked No. 3 at middleweight following his second-round KO loss to champ Sergio Martinez last November, has dropped in the magazine’s 160-pound rankings.
“The majority decision in favor of Paul Williams over Erislandy Lara was so egregious, the Editorial Board, with unanimous support from the Advisory Panel, decided the only fair course of action was to promote Lara and demote Williams,” said Nigel Collins, Editor-in-Chief of THE RING. “The horrendous verdict spoiled what had otherwise been a good weekend of boxing and is just the sort of injustice that turns fans away from the sport.”
Williams (40-2, 27 KOs) dropped five places in the middleweight rankings, from No. 3 to No. 8. Lara (15-1-1, 10 KOs) debuted at No. 5 in the junior middleweight rankings on the strength of his excellent showing against Williams.
Lara wasn’t the only new face to appear in THE RING’s 154-pound rankings. Carlos Molina, who held the crafty Cuban to a 10-round draw in February, enters at No. 6 after his upset 10-round decision over previously No. 2-ranked Kermit Cintron on Saturday in Carson, Calif. Cintron, whose lost a four-round technical decision to Williams last May, was dropped from the 154-pound rankings following his listless performance against Molina.
There were other debuts and exits in the ratings following the weekend action, all of which is noted in the Ring Ratings Update:
Middleweights: Williams (No. 3 last week) tumbles down to No. 8 following his undeserved decision over Lara at junior middleweight. Williams’ demotion bumps up all rated No. 4 through No. 8 last week one spot each.
Junior middleweights: Cintron (No. 2 last week) exits after lackluster loss to Molina, who debuts at No. 6. Cinton’s departure allows Alfredo Angulo (No. 3 last week), Saul Alvarez (No. 4 last week), and Vanes Matirosyan (No. 5 last week) to advance one position each, retrospectively. Lara, who was robbed in his fight with Williams, enters at No. 5 on the strength of what actually took place between the ropes. Lara and Molina’s entrances also pushes down Cornelius Bundrage (No. 6 last week), Pawel Wolak (No. 7 last week), and Sergiy Dzinziruk (No. 8 last week) on slot each, while Sechew Powell (No. 9 last week) exits.
Lightweights: Urbano Antillon (No. 8 last week) leaves following the savage beating he absorbed at the hands of Brandon Rios, who reinforced his No. 1 contender position. Antillon’s exit allows Miguel Vazquez (No. 9 last week) and Antonio DeMarco (No. 10 last week) to climb one rung each. Filling the void is Jorge Linares, new at No. 10.
Featherweights: Elio Rojas (No. 7 last week) leaves due to the fact he has not fought in more than a year. Rojas’ departure lifts Jhonny Gonzalez (No. 9 last week) and Mikey Garcia (No. 10 last week) on spot each, and makes room for Jorge Lacierva at No. 10.
Junior featherweights: Rico Ramos debuts at No. 2, thanks to his one-punch kayo of Akifumi Shimoda, who falls form No. 2 to No. 3. All others rated No. 3 through No. 6 slip one place each, while Ricardo Cordoba (No. 7 last week) exits.