Sunday, April 02, 2023  |



The Ring All-Star Report Cards: Paul Williams

Fighters Network

Note: This feature originally appeared in the October edition of THE RING magazine. The November issue, with Floyd Mayweather Jr. on the cover, is on newsstands now. The cover story is titled: “10 Guys Who Would Have Kicked Mayweather's Butt.”

It was out with the old and in with the new as THE RING composed this year’s All-Star Report Cards. Gone from last year’s survey are such old warhorses as Bernard Hopkins, Roy Jones, Ricky Hatton, Shane Mosley, Juan Manuel Marquez, Chris John and Israel Vazquez. In place of those fighters were newer, fresher names like Yuriorkis Gamboa and Timothy Bradley, a sign that new blood is being pumped into the sport. Meanwhile, names like Sergio Martinez and Pongsaklek Wonjongkam show that our All-Star list always has room for veterans, provided they’re still producing in the ring.

Aside from the youth movement, other trends have emerged this year. For instance, there is a noticeable dip in Mexican or Mexican-American fighters among our 20 All-Stars. When THE RING first compiled this roster in 2003, there were five such fighters listed; this year, there is one. Also, the number of fighters born in the United States shrunk from 13 in 2003 to a measly four this year. Lopez and Miguel Cotto are U.S. citizens by way of Puerto Rico, but they didn’t learn their stuff in the American amateur system, so they can’t be counted. Brits are on the rise, though. There was only one Brit All-Star in 2003, but three made the list this year, sans Hatton.

Perhaps you’re wondering why some of your favorite fighters didn’t make the list, but rest assured that many other fighters were given close consideration. It’s just that some fighters seem to lose fights as we’re creating our list, and others just fall a bit short in terms of box office and general excitement value.

The 20 fighters who made it weren't chosen solely on their ability to sell tickets and attract cable customers but the ability to fill seats definitely plays a big part in our selection process. Some fighters, Nonito Donaire for example, might not yet be a legitimate star on the level of Floyd Mayweather Jr. or Manny Pacquiao, but we felt he can compete with the best in terms of talent, and is certainly on his way to stardom.

Those who were removed from last year’s list are gone because they simply didn’t do enough to merit inclusion this year. The one exception is the late Edwin Valero. He made it last time, and there was every reason to believe he’d repeat.

With that in mind, here are the 2010 All-Star Report Cards. The fighters are judged on talent, achievement, marketability, support system, and growth potential. They are presented in order of weight class, starting with the heavyweights.

Today: Paul Williams. Tomorrow: Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

Middleweight / junior middleweight
39-1 (27 KOs)

TALENT: Williams is proof that it’s possible for someone to be both extremely talented and overrated. While his physical gifts are obvious – he’s incredibly tall and throws a high volume of punches from crazy angles – he’s far from unbeatable. His loss to Carlos Quintana, plus two close wins over Antonio Margarito and Sergio Martinez, shows that he is not the nightmarish creature his fans and promoter Dan Goossen would have us believe. What he is, though, is a good fighter with enough flaws to make him interesting. He’s also been wobbled, cut and dropped, which doesn’t make him seem so invincible. Grade: B+

ACHIEVEMENT: His inclusion on this year’s All-Star list is a show of faith on our part, because he hasn’t been particularly special since last year around this time. He won a close, majority decision over Martinez, which many observers felt Williams lost, and he didn’t look great in winning a horrid technical decision over Kermit Cintron, when Cintron fell out of the ring and wasn’t allowed to continue. On the plus side, Williams’ bout with Martinez was a Fight of the Year candidate for 2009, which made Williams seem, for the first time, like someone we wanted to see again. Prior to that, Williams had notched wins over such veterans as Winky Wright, Verno Phillips and Sharmba Mitchell. Williams, who has had two brief, undistinguished turns as WBO welterweight titleholder, was also the first man to defeat European knockout artist Walter Matthysse, stopping him in 10. Williams avenged his only loss, KOing Quintana in one round. Grade: B+

MARKETABILITY: Williams was once branded “The Most Avoided Fighter in Boxing,” but that designation lacks the bite it once had, especially after his two most recent fights. Marketing this quiet, clean-cut fighter might be difficult. He has to keep winning and he has to be spectacular. He’ll have a significant opportunity to make a statement when he faces Martinez in a rematch on Nov. 20.Grade: B

SUPPORT SYSTEM: Promoter Dan Goossen is tireless and tiresome in his depiction of Williams as the most dangerous man in boxing. At times, it seems Goossen’s pipe dream of having Williams dominate across numerous weight classes might be doing more harm than good for Williams’ career. And why is Goossen so dumbfounded that small welterweights like Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather aren’t interested in an opponent who has a longer reach than most heavyweights? Trainer/manager George Peterson has been with Williams since the beginning and is nearly as boisterous as Goossen. It’s good for Williams to have such strong support, even if it borders on unrealistic. He has also pulled down a couple of decent paydays already, which means Goossen has actually succeeded in selling Williams to some degree. Grade: A-

GROWTH POTENTIAL: The same things that plagued Williams last year are problematic this year. He’s still too good and too unknown to warrant big fights with the big name fighters. Goossen believes Williams can be a star. The public might agree if Williams can rack up a few more impressive wins. At 28, he still has time. Grade: B+

Previous All-Star Report Cards

Wladimir Klitschko

Vitali Klitschko

David Haye

Tomasz Adamek

Andre Ward

Mikkel Kessler

Carl Froch

Lucian Bute

Sergio Martinez