RING No. 8-rated middleweight and former three-time titleholder Paul Williams is being targeted for a Showtime-televised return to the ring in January against either Chicago-based RING No. 5-rated junior middleweight Carlos Molina or RING No. 8-rated junior middleweight Cornelius Bundrage.
The 28-year-old Molina (19-4-2, 6 KOs) and the 38-year-old Bundrage (31-4, 18 KOs) are both right handed fighters.
Williams (40-2, 27 knockouts) has faced adversity against fellow southpaws — a dominant decision over former beltholder Winky Wright notwithstanding.
Williams has split match ups with left handers Carlos Quintana and RING No. 3-rated pound-for-pound Sergio Martinez (48-2-2, 27 KOs), knocking out Quintana in their welterweight rematch, but being stopped in second round of a middleweight return fight with Martinez.
In addition, Williams is coming off of July’s disputed majority decision win over southpaw Erislandy Lara (15-1-1, 10 KOs), a fight that most ringside media believed Lara won.
Molina’s unbeaten streak of 11-0-1 with two knockouts includes having sandwiched a victory over two-time welterweight beltwinner Kermit Cintron (33-4-1, 28 KOs) in July and a draw with then-unbeaten Lara in March around a seventh-round stoppage of Allen Conyers in April.
The run also includes a unanimous decision over welterweight contender Ed Paredes (27-3-1, 17 KOs) in April of 2009. Since losing to Molina, Paredes has gone 6-0-1, with four knockouts.
Early on, Molina battled through a draw, and, a six-round majority decision loss to current WBC middleweight beltholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (44-0-1, 31 KOs) in December of 2005 and 2006, respectively.
Bundrage dethroned then-IBF titlist Cory Spinks by dominating him from the start to the finish of a fifth-round knockout in August of last year in front of Spinks’ hometown fans at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo.
Bundrage was 21-0, with 13 knockouts when he, himself, was stopped in the first round by Sechew Powell in May of 2005. Over his next four bouts, however, he jumpstarted his carreer by participating in Season II of “The Contender” Series.
Bundrage scored five-round majority and unanimous decisions over Michael Clark and Walter Wright, only to be defeated by five-round unanimous decision against Steve Forbes, the eventual tournament runner-up to Grady Brewer.
He rebounded with a seventh-round stoppage of Norberto Bravo in September’s Contender series consolation finals, and then won three straight, two by knockout, before being stopped in the eighth round by Joel Julio in July of 2007.
Since then Bundrage has gone 5-1 with 1 no-contest, his latest win against Sechew Powell to successfully defend the IBF title he took from Cory Spinks in his previous fight.
TICKETS ON SALE FOR TAVORIS CLOUD-ZSOLT ERDEI
Tickets will go on sale on Nov. 26 for the Don King-Goossen Tutor-promoted double-header on New Year’s Eve that will feature RING No. 2-rated IBF light heavyweight titleholder Tavoris Cloud (23-0, 19 KOs) defending against RING No. 6-rated Hungarian Zsolt Erdei (33-0, 19 KOs) as well as two-time Olympic gold medalist Guillermo Rigondeaux (8-0, 6 KOs) pursuing the ninth win of his burgeoning career when he meets undefeated WBA junior featherweight titleholder Rico Ramos (20-0, 11 KOs).
Tickets will be priced at $25, $50, $75, $125, as well as $175, and be available at all Ticketmaster locations, online at www.ticketmaster.com and the Anaheim Convention Box Office.
Cloud will be making the fourth defense of the crown he earned by unanimous decision over former titleholder Clinton Woods in August of 2009.
Cloud is coming off an eighth-round stoppage of Yusaf Mack in June, the same month during which Erdei won his last bout by sixth-round knockout of former WBA super middleeight beltholder Byron Mitchell.
Rigondeaux (8-0, 6 KOs) won the WBA’s interim belt by split-decision in November over Ricardo Cordoba on the undercard of Manny Pacquiao’s unanimous decision over Antonio Margarito for the WBC’s since-vacated junior middleweight crown. His most recent win was a first-round knockout of Willie Casey (12-1, 8 KOs) in March.
Ramos is coming off a seventh-round knockout of former WBA titleholder Akifumi Shimoda (23-3-1, 10 KOs) in July.
Considered one of the world’s all-time great amateur boxers in Cuba before he defected to the United States, Rigondeaux established a new boxing record by defeating Cordoba for a title in only his seventh professional bout.
Rigondeaux eclipsed the mark by Leon Spinks, who was 7-0-1, with five knockouts after dethroning Muhammad Ali for the WBC and WBA heavyweight crowns in his eighth professional fight in February of 1978.
Photo by Craig Bennett, Goossen Tutor Prromotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com