Lem Satterfield

Q&A: Williams knows that retirement is near

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Paul Williams says he will only have about two or three fights left in his career after Saturday night’s Showtime-televised junior middleweight bout with Japan’s Nobuhiro Ishida, whose 6-foot-1 stature nearly mirrors that of his own.

And when it is time to hang up the gloves, Williams said he will be content with his boxing resume, secure financially, and have “no regrets” as he goes hunting and fishing in retirement.

“I won’t try to come back and stuff. I don’t think that I will miss boxing because I did what it takes, and I know that I’ve already given what it takes and that this is a sport about youth,” said Williams (40-2, 27 KOs) during an interview with RingTV.com last week at the Club One Gym in Millersville, Md., where the southpaw was training for Ishida (24-6-2, 9 KOs).

“When you get older and stuff, your reflexes slow down and your timing and you lose a lot of the instincts that you have when you first came out. When I first came out, I was like just turning 18 years old, and my body was faster on a lot of stuff. But now, I’m 30, so some of that has slowed down a little bit.”

Having suffered a sensational second-round knockout loss to RING middleweight champion Sergio Martinez in November 2010, followed by a disputed majority decision over Erislandy Lara that many ringsiders thought he lost, Williams is attempting to jump-start his career by vanquishing Ishida. 

If he is successful, Williams and manager/trainer George Peterson would target a potential rematch with Martinez, if not bouts against marquee fighters such as Floyd Mayweather Jr., Manny Pacquiao, Miguel Cotto or even Saul “Canelo” Alvarez before walking off into the sunset.

RingTV.com: Being secure outside of the ring, what is your timetable for the remainder of your career and can you speculate on how long you will continue to fight?

PW: I would say three more fights after this. I’ll talk to Mr. Peterson and we’ll decide how we’re going to do this. Because the fight is easy to me. The hardest is the training.

We’ll be in training camp to be in the best shape that we can possibly be in because we don’t know who we’re going to fight. It’s like that for the last month or so before we fight that we don’t know who we’re going to fight.

Everybody else, when they come to camp, they already know who they’re going to fight and they can focus on that particular guy.

Me, I come to camp just training and trying to get into the best shape that I can possibly get in, because we don’t know.

RingTV.com: If you could line up your next three fights after Ishida, who would you fight?

PW: If I could make them fights, I would do a Pacquiao, a Mayweather and then a Martinez. But I already know that a Pacquiao or a Mayweather fight will never happen, so I would probably do a Chavez, Alvarez and Martinez.

RingTV.com: After having fought at welterweight, junior middleweight and middleweight, do you feel that you have an ideal or preferred weight that you’ve been the best at?

PW: I was the best at, I would probably say, 147 or maybe at 154, or basically all of them. But if I could pick and choose the weight that I would rather be at, I would go to heavyweight. [Laughs.]

RingTV.com: Who would you fight at heavyweight?

PW: It don’t matter, man.

RingTV.com: Is it true that that you once sparred with Tony Thompson, who is a tall, left-hander who is a 6-foot-5 heavyweight?

PW: Yeah, I’ve sparred with him before, but, you know, I have to go after the best of the best. So everybody says that that’s the Klitschkos, so I would have to go after them.

RingTV.com: What do you love and what will you miss about being a fighter?

PW: Well, what would I miss? Definitely not the training. The fight is always the easiest part, but the training, it’s De Ja Vous all over again. It’s the same thing every day, same old, same old.

But it’s our job to get in shape and that’s what we’ve got to do. We’ve got to put that work in. What will I miss about boxing once I hang my gloves up?

I won’t have any regrets, and I won’t try to come back and stuff. I don’t think that I will miss boxing because I did what it takes, and I know that I’ve already given what it takes and that this is a sport about youth.

When you get older and stuff, your reflexes slow down and your timing and you lose a lot of the instincts that you have when you first came out.

When I first came out, I was like just turning 18 years old, and my body was faster on a lot of stuff. But now, I’m 30, so some of that has slowed down a little bit. So, you know, you’ve got to be smarter now when you go in there.

RingTV.com: Is there a signature win that you’re most proud of and which stands out most in your career?

PW: Actually, beating Margarito when Margarito was the top dog out there when I won the title from him and nobody wanted to fight him. So that was big for me and Mr. Peterson.

I came off of beating a world champion and I became a world champion for the first time. So, that was a big step for me and him.

RingTV.com: In retirement, would you consider any other way of being involved in the sport of boxing whether it be as a trainer, agent, promoter?

PW: I don’t know. Me, I can’t stand fighters. I mean, it’s very rare that you get a fighter like me, Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao, or somebody who is going to dedicate their time and separate themselves from a lot of other stuff that is going on. That’s very rare. You’ve got a lot of guys that try to do it, but it’s just a hard job.

I wouldn’t want to be involved with boxing again because I don’t want to get that feeling like, “man, I’m fixing to try this again.” I would rather just sit back, enjoy my bikes, go shoot my guns, go fishing, and stuff,
and just respect it and enjoy the time that I had in the sport and what I got out of it.

RingTV.com: So you woould hang up the gloves and walk off into the sunset?

PW: Yeah. Just like me and Mr. Peterson came in. We came in real quiet and we leave out real quiet. Everybody ain’t got to make a big fuss about it. People who know boxing, they know what we were about.

They know that “this guy definitely deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. Look at his resume. That will prove everything right there.” Of course, the sport will miss me, because they know that I’m a throwback fighter.

They love the fact that when this guy gets into the ring and gives the fans what they want to see. He gets in there and he is somebody who gives you action the whole night and you’re going to enjoy it.

RingTV.com: Can you give us a prediction on what’s going to happen between you and Ishida on Feb. 18?

PW: Well, I definitely know that I’m coming out there and I’m going to get an impressive win. The time that me and Mr. Peterson spent in the gym working on stuff, I’m definitely going to go out there and get a win.

That’s the only thing that I can say. Everybody goes out there and says that they’re going to win, but I just know that I really feel it.

Read more:

Exclusive: Paul Williams gym interview

Williams emulates old-schoolers like Hagler, aims to salvage career

Photos by Emily Harney, Fightwireimages.com

Lem Satterfield can be reached at lemuel.satterfield@gmail.com

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