“When Ishida beat Kirkland, we went and tried to make any fight we could, but nobody wanted to fight him. A lot of guys came back with ‘he’s too tall, he’s difficult, he’s awkward,’ this and that,” said Gomez.
“But Paul Williams was pretty much the only guy who stepped up. I want to thank Paul Williams for coming forward and taking this fight. He’s always been one of the few fighters who will fight anybody. Paul Williams does what he preaches, and he was the only guy who would take this fight.”
Gomez said even Kirkland turned down a rematch with Ishida (24-6-2, 9 KOs).
“We even approached Kirkland about a possible rematch and he’s our own guy,” said Gomez, whose Golden Boy organization promotes Kirkland.
“Paul Williams stepped up and said, ‘I want to fight Ishida. I don’t care who he is or who he has beaten.’ Ishida has never been knocked down before. This is going to be a great fight.”
Ishida will be looking to score his third straight knockout against Williams, having finished Edson Epinoza at 2:58 of his last fight in November.
“I think Paul Williams has a good chin and has a lot of power and is one of the top fighters in the world. I didn’t expect to get a knockout against Kirkland. You never really expect that,” said Ishida.
“I’m not sure about a knockout against Paul Williams, but I think I will get the win. I’m going to make it a very long night for Paul Williams.”
THE WAIT IS OVER AS WILLIAMS WELCOMES CHALLENGE
Williams is anxious to erase the stigma from his last bout in July, when he escaped with a disputed decision over Erislandy Lara, a fight many ringsiders thought Lara won.
“A fight is a fight, and after that Lara fight, I would have liked to have been coming off a big knockout and got right back to the gym and stuff. But for me it was same old, same old. Like clockwork,” said Williams, who has lamented his seven-month ring absence.
“It’s not us. We always want to fight. It’s finding the right opponent to say ‘yes.’ A lot of times, we don’t know who we are going to fight until the last month, or the last couple of weeks.”
Williams points to his resume as being among the reasons he has difficulty getting opponents to face him.