Williams Seeks to End Margarito’s Reign
LOS ANGELES – In the annals of world history, July 14 is known as Bastille Day. On that fateful date in 1789 the people of France stormed and seized the dreaded Bastille, a prison beset by inhumane conditions in Paris as the first step in the French Revolution, which eventually overthrew the 17-year monarchy of King Louis XVI.
On Saturday, July 14, 2007, in the outdoor tennis stadium at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., undefeated and No. 1-ranked World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight contender Paul “The Punisher” Williams (32-0, 24 KOs) looks to commemorate the holiday of Bastille Day by ending another reign of terror – that of WBO welterweight champion Antonio “The Tijuana Tornado” Margarito (34-4, 1 NC, 24 KOs).
Billed as “Pride N’ Punishment,” the long-awaited, highly anticipated 12-round confrontation between arguably the hardest-punching, most bitter rivals in the 147-pound division is presented by Goossen Tutor Promotions and will be televised on HBO “World Championship Boxing.” The HBO broadcast starts at 9 PM ET/ 11 PM PT.
Margarito, who was born in nearby Torrance, Calif., and currently splits his time between Tijuana, Mexico, and La Habra, Calif., has been the WBO welterweight champion for more than five years. Referred to as “the most feared man in boxing,” Margarito has made seven successful title defenses. He has only lost once in the past 12 years – by technical decision to then-defending WBO light middleweight titleholder Daniel Santos —in a September 2004 battle that was stopped due to a cut on Margarito’s eyebrow caused by an accidental head butt.
Since that fight, Margarito returned to his welterweight roots and successfully defended his WBO crown against, most notably, Kermit Cintron (TKO 5) in April 2005 and, most recently, Joshua Clottey (UD 12) in December 2006.
An unusually tall welterweight at five-foot-11, Margarito possesses a relentless head and body attack and power in both fists. The 29-year-old brings Mexican “pride” and 24 KO victories into the eagerly awaited, grudge battle with Williams.
“Paul Williams has earned his shot at my title,” Margarito, who is co-managed by Francisco Espinoza and Sergio Diaz, Jr. and trained by Javier Capetillo, acknowledged. “He has dominated his opponents and the WBO has made him my mandatory. But he has never fought anyone with my ability, power and desire and I will defend my title with everything I’ve got and do it in front of all my Mexican fans in Los Angeles and those coming up from south of the border.”
Media from around the world have been touting Williams, the 25-year-old native of Aiken, South Carolina, as boxing’s hottest future superstar. A lanky six-foot-one with knockout power in both mitts, Williams has drawn favorable comparisons to a southpaw version of the legendary Thomas “Hitman” Hearns. Nicknamed “The Punisher” for his inclination to attack his opponents to the head and body before eventually taking them out, Williams has continually called out Margarito.
“I’ve been targeting Margarito for two years,” said Williams, who is managed and trained by George Peterson. “I do give him credit for signing to fight me for his title
instead of forfeiting it. However, I plan on punishing him big time – and taking his belt – for making me wait so long.
“This is the fight I need to prove my greatness. I am determined to prove to the world that I should be regarded as the most feared and dominant boxer in the world.”
On his pursuit to get Margarito, Williams has stopped his last five opponents, including then-undefeated Argentinean Walter Matthysse (TKO 10 to win the North American Boxing Organization (NABO) welterweight crown) in his first appearance at The Home Depot Center in May 2006. In his two most recent starts, Williams demolished former two-time world champion Sharmba Mitchell (KO 4) and tough Santos Pakau (TKO 6).
So, now the stage is set for what looms as the most explosive fight in recent memory, a throw back battle to the great ring wars of years past.
“This is a can’t miss ‘Fight of the Year’ candidate,” promoter Dan Goossen boldly predicted. “It’s exactly what fans want to see; two warriors throwing punch after punch in the middle of the ring, neither willing to take a step backwards. I know it will be one of the most exciting and thrilling fights in years, an all-out war.”
Goossen, who secured the promotional rights to “Pride N’ Punishment’ with a winning purse bid paying the fighters a total of $1.9 million and subsequent out-of-court settlement with Margarito’s promoter, Bob Arum, said The Home Depot Center was the perfect stadium for a fight of this magnitude.
“This is a fight everyone I know wanted to see,” Goossen said. “With Margarito’s Hispanic following in Los Angeles and Mexico and Williams’ fight last year at Home Depot Center, this stadium was the obvious No. 1 choice to host the event.
“With two big, strong and highly determined welterweights moving forward with similar, aggressive attacking styles and knockout proficiency, it will be ‘bombs away’ from start to finish, reminiscent of the great welterweight wars of yesteryear.”
The 8,000-seat tennis stadium at The Home Depot Center is one of the premier outdoor boxing stadiums in Southern California. Under the lights in Carson, the facility has hosted some of boxing’s most exciting matches, including Williams’ 2006 victory that earned him the No. 1 ranking in the WBO.
Home to the Los Angeles Galaxy and Chivas USA, The Home Depot Center is the nation’s most complete facility for training and events, and offers an electric atmosphere for boxing matches, concerts, soccer games, tennis tournaments, track & field and other special events.
Other significant bouts on the card will feature the sole United States 2004 Olympic Games Gold Medal winner, Andre Ward (12-0, seven KOs) in his first 10-round bout, and hard-hitting, highly touted, undefeated Mexican heavyweight Cristobal “The Nightmare” Arreola (20-0-18 KOs), a Riverside, Calif. resident who is coming off a KO victory over Malcolm Tann in Las Vegas this month.
Fight Previews • Weight Classes • Welterweight • Antonio Margarito • Paul Williams