Paul Williams and veteran Kermit Cintron lock horns on Saturday night at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California, in a fight with considerable implications for the junior middleweight division. The winner might be in line for a rematch with red-hot Sergio Martinez in the future.

As it is, Williams-Cintron should be a corker, since Williams is rarely anything but action hero material, and Cintron has the kind of sledgehammer power that can change the course of a fight in a nanosecond. Williams, 38-1 (27), is coming off of a spectacular brawl with Sergio Martinez, scoring a Velveeta-thin decision over the Argentine in a close bout that was a firefight from bell to bell. Against Martinez, Williams suffered a knockdown, took punches that a Koni shock absorber might have struggled with, and bled freely from a cut above his left eye, but he never stopped charging and hailing punches.

For his part, Cintron, 32-2-1 (28), demolished Juliano Ramos in a forgettable tune-up last October in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Before that, Cintron scored a mild upset when he outboxed hyped Alfredo Angulo over 12 rounds on HBO. Somehow, the far more experienced Cintron was a 3 to 1 underdog going into that bout, but he moved well, picked his shots, and fought through exhaustion in the late rounds to earn the decision.

It was a nice win for Cintron, 30, who has been written off and downplayed several times over the years simply because he has never had a lifetime VIP pass to HBO banquets. Cintron never got to face junior lightweights or policemen on “The Heart and Soul” of boxing; the closest he has come to a freebie on the free spending network was when he faced Walter Matthysse, 26-1, at the time. It took Williams 10 rounds to stop Matthysse in 2006. Cintron, a welterweight banger with either hand, crushed him in two rounds a year later.

His last three opponents on HBO have been Alfred Angulo, Sergio Martinez, and Antonio Margarito. By facing Williams on Saturday night, Cintron will bring the combined record of his last five HBO opponents to 158-8-2. That, folks, is what a prizefighter is. Because he has never been on the HBO gravy train, Cintron has had to take risks and maximize his earning potential by regularly entering the ring as an underdog. He does not always win–nor does he always look good–but his track record, losses and lucky draws included – -is more impressive than the pristine ledgers of folks who routinely duck between the ropes against forty-somethings, journeymen, or “Asterisk Specials–” good fighters coming off of long layoffs or fighting out of their natural weight classes. For some reason, fighters get more respect these days for steamrolling policemen and Cosme Rivera than for facing legitimate competition regularly.

And Williams, 28, is as legitimate as it gets in the junior middleweight division right now. Williams comes out at the sound of the bell, throws punches with abandon, and usually outworks and works over his opponents. When he presses behind his jab, Williams can be an especially difficult proposition. With an absurd wingspan of 82” inches, Williams is the boxing equivalent of a condor with gloves on. His physical advantages make spatial ability that much more important for his opponent. Misjudging distance against Williams can be a painful error. Cintron boxed well from the perimeter against Angulo, popping his jab, hooking off of it, and throwing neat straight rights down the middle, but, compared to Williams, Angulo resembles a man who fights with one arm in a sling. If Angulo is a snowfall, then Williams is a blizzard. Williams, Augusta, Georgia, never stops throwing punches in combination and he has the kind of indefatigability that can shred nerves in the ring. There is very little time to think or breathe when Paul Williams is pursuing you. In addition, Williams is a southpaw, and this might make his barrages all the more difficult to handle.

Cintron has faced only one quality southpaw in his career–Sergio Martinez–and he did not fare particularly well against “Maravilla.” In fact, Cintron was knocked out by Martinez, but referee Frank Santore Jr. inexplicably changed his mind after counting “10” and allowed the fight to resume after a delay. To top it all off, Cintron was awarded an undeserving draw after Santore Jr. randomly docked a point from Martinez in the last round. Cintron, Houston, Texas, looked woeful against Martinez, but Williams is not the tricky southpaw type. Instead, Williams is a whirlwind puncher who looks to lay as much leather on his opponent as possible. For Cintron, who looked shaky under pressure against Antonio Margarito, and, at times, against Jesse Feliciano and David Estrada, it remains to be seen whether or not a cutie is preferable to a high-volume puncher like Williams. Probably not.

In the end, unless his power comes into play, Cintron does not seem to have the tools to handle a peak Williams. It seems unlikely that he will be able to adjust to the hellish pace Williams sets and go blow-for-blow the way Antonio Margarito did, nor does he have the footwork or quickness to keep “The Punisher” at bay from the outside. Although Williams looked shaky a few times against Margarito and was dropped by Martinez early, it looks like his ability to take punishment is not an issue. Barring a chin short-circuit on the part of Williams or a stoppage via cuts, Williams ought to be able to wear down Cintron for a TKO in the late rounds.

See Also:

Tornado Alley: Paul Williams W12 Sergio Martinez

Alfredo Angulo-Kermit Cintron Preview


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Tags: Antonio Margarito Condors HBO JUNIOR MIDDLEWEIGHTS Kermit Cintron PAUL WILLIAMS Policemen SERGIO MARTINEZ

  • johnpaulfutbol

    Great preview as always CA.

    I’ve been sort of hard on Cintron, mainly due to the fact that he just doesn’t seem to be very fluid and I don’t really enjoy watching him fight. Also, the fight with Martinez rubbed me the wrong way for several reasons….the KO, his corner getting in the ring and the decision. But, you make really great points regarding the level of competition he’s faced in comparison to some of the other HBO favorites.

    I’m not the biggest Williams fan either. However, he’s definitely a tough proposition. He certainly came to fight against Martinez, dealing with the cut etc….to constantly press the fight. His workrate is crazy, but he doesn’t seem to sit down on very many of his punches. I’ve sometimes referred to it as fistic fillibuster, but that’s probably unfair because it’s effective…but, I’m a smartass and what the kids call a “hater.”

    I’m rooting for Cintron, but picking Williams. Cintron is a very strong guy, perhaps he can walk through some of Williams punches…especially if he’s not snapping his jab. I think I remember him getting lazy with it at times. If he can, perhaps he has the chance to land a big shot…that either brings the walls down or seriously discourages Williams from throwing so much. I doubt it though. Williams will probably be too skilled, have too much movement, angles and workrate for Cintron. But, I can only hope.

    Sorry, was on a mini strike and missed some good posts. When Floyd wins I retreat to my bachelor pad in Mordor.

    • Carlos Acevedo

      Hi JPF,

      I hear you on Cintron. I think I remember reading that he was a very late starter in boxing, so that might explain that stiffness when he fights . But I always back the guy who, basically, to boil it down simply, GETS IN THE RING. He’s fought much better competition than Andre Berto, for example, yet Berto can retire tomorrow if he wanted to and live a life of luxury somewhere in the Caribbean. And Cintron does have a good knockout record and some of his KOs have been masterpieces in brutality: Matthysse, Elio Ortiz, etc. The Martinez thing I don’t hold against him, because it wasn’t his fault and although his behavior was loopy during/after the 10 count, we can chalk it up to him being buzzed. He did continue to fight and try to win after the “do over!” My thing is that there are a handful of prizefighters today, folks without the proper connections, shall we say, who have to work harder than the “stars” to earn a living.

      Paul Williams is an exciting fighter, a whirlwind type, and very good at what he does. I like his demeanor–”Let’s fight, I don’t care who, I don’t give a fuck about the blood, etc.” He did also sign to fight Pavlik, so we know he basically wants to “bring it” in the ring. I’m surprised you’re not a fan, considering his bad ass attitude. I suspect it has to do with all the nonsense floating around him, with P-4-P crap, and “the most feared man ever to lace up gloves and breathe heavy in a ring,” etc. But that’s not his fault and these days, with all the hoopla, it’s almost impossible just to be viewed as a good, exciting fighter…That’s why you should stick to THE CRUELEST SPORT, where not everyone who wins a fight is an instant Hall of Famer!

      Anyway, he does slap occasionally, seems to get hit a lot by southpaws, and can be outboxed, but he likes to put on a good show, and that’s important these days when you think about how many guys only want to grab their HBO checks and run… I think Cintron has a puncher’s chance, and Williams winning is not an automatic, but I just don’t see Cintron outboxing or outbrawling him….Will he turn counterpuncher and try to land one big shot? I don’t know…See, I even say “I don’t know” here.

      Man, Mordor must be like a second home to you then…at least over the last few years…

      • johnpaulfutbol

        Hey Carlos,

        Yeah, you pretty much nailed it in regards to why Williams rubs me the wrong way. I really shouldn’t let that bother me as much, because in a lot of ways he’s what I like in a fighter. He proved a lot to me in the Martinez fight, dealing with the cut and all. Still gonna root for Cintron though!

        My frequent trips to Mordor drive my wife crazy….in all the wrong ways.

        • Carlos Acevedo

          Hi JPF,

          You’re gonna have to stop reading about boxing completely (except TCS, of course) if that kind of stuff is going to get you down about fighters…because everyone is a star these days or on the road to redemption or a savior….It’s ridiculous, of course, and the experts out there who dribble on in “mailbags” about their secret knowledge are, strangely enough, almost always wrong.

          Anyway, modern boxing is almost completely about hype and if someone is actually interested in critical thought, equanimity, and reality, then he is going to be one very frustrated boxing observer. You know, I write for other sites too, and some of the negative feedback I get from those sites seems to stem from the fact that I don’t run around saying this is great, that is great, etc. and that I rarely if ever use the word “I.” They get very offended when I criticize a lame Top Rank Live show or something because, you know, they think a “fan” is someone who has no discrimination whatsoever. That’s not a fan, in my opinion, that’s just a dumbass, and the black ink promoters generate is created by folks like that….(These fans also, apparently, dislike words with more than two syllables and the use of metaphors and similes.) So, they perpetuate hype by a) actively supporting bozos in the media who think everything is great and b) economically supporting bad product, which gives said product a higher profile than it deserves…

          I don’t actively root for or against fighters here; I just hope to see a good fight, and if Cintron wins, then good for him–he’ll put to rest all the nonsense spewed forth by experts. My picking against him is based on (attempted) rational assessment and nothing personal or egotistical. That’s how I make money occasionally betting on fights. In fact, Cintron won me $350 against Angulo last year, so he’s all right by me!