Earlier indications were that Williams (40-2, 27 knockouts) was being considered against two opponents, either THE RING’s No. 5-rated junior middleweight Carlos Molina (19-4-2, 6 KOs) or the magazine’s No. 8-rated junior middleweight and IBF beltholder Cornelius Bundrage (31-4, 18 KOs), each of whom is a right-handed fighter.
Williams has faced adversity against fellow southpaws — a dominant decision over former beltholder Winky Wright notwithstanding.
Williams has split matchups 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 the southpaw 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. 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.
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com