Williams, Mora Make Their Marks

By Tom Donelson
Updated: June 10, 2008

GlovesIOWA CITY, Ia. — Paul Williams needed a victory to put his career back on track and to do so, he had to beat the man who ended his undefeated streak. Carlos Quintana took Williams to school in their last match, but this night would prove different.

For Williams, he had to listen to the various pundits about how he was “exposed” in their last match.One loss and suddenly, Williams was not just no longer a elite Welterweight but overrated.

Within a period of two minutes, all talk about Williams being overrated dissipated as he knocked Quintana twice. In a furious exchange, Williams’ right hook sent Quintana down. He rose back up but Williams nailed his Puerto Rico opponent with two jabs before a left came crashing down and ending the fight.

For Williams, he established his own credibility with two victories over top notched welterweights and with Floyd Mayweather retiring or apparently retiring; the door are open for big bouts with Oscar De La Hoya and maybe Miguel Cotto.

Sergio Mora would be the third Contender Series fighter to fight for a title and so far; the Contender fighters proved to be pretender. Joe Calzaghe stopped Peter Manfredo, Jr. and Oscar De La Hoya had a sparring round session with Steve Forbes in his last fight. Most critics dismissed the Contender fighters as nothing more than reality show fighters.

Mora had turned down a chance to fight Jermaine Taylor but he jumped at the chance of fighting Vernon Forest. Forest has been a good fighter but at 37 years; Forest was the most vulnerable of the big names for Mora to fight.

He spent his career as a Middleweight; but against Forest, he would be moving down in weight. In the early round, Mora appeared to be suffering from the Contender curse and Forest took four of the first five rounds with sharp jabs and snappy right.

Mora couldn’t find a solution to Forest’s jab but in the sixth round, he changed the fight with some popping rights that landed and suddenly, Forest strength began to wane.

From this point, it was Mora who pressed the action and Forest’s jab disappeared. In between the later rounds, Forest told his corner that he was winded and Mora relentless moved forward.

Mora’s jab became the difference maker and setting up in right and allowing him to move inside to punish Forest with his body attacks. The fight was close and Mora won on a majority decision but it was decision that no one argued with, not the least Vernon Forest.

After the fight, Forest stated, “Mora was the better fighter tonight.” For Mora, there have been talk of moving back to Middleweight but Mora best weight may be junior Middleweight.

Not a fighter blessed with great power, Mora may be more suited to the smaller division and besides, there are fewer elite fighters in the junior Middleweights.

Mora will have a better chance of competing with the best of the junior Middleweights as oppose to the best of the Middleweight. Mora became a true contender and no more pretender labels for him.

Kelly Pavlik is the man in the Middleweight and last night, he simply showed why he is becoming one of the best pound for pound. Sharp jabs followed by accurate devastating rights produced a short night against Gary Lockett.

After a three round pounding, Lockett’s corner threw in the towel.

Juan Manuel Lopez faced one of the better junior featherweights in Daniel Ponce De Leon but in the time it took to get the nachos out of the microwave, Lopez was the new WBO champion.

The sharp punching Puerto Rico nailed his 20th knockout in 22 fights as he knocked down De Leon twice and stopping the Mexican fighter before the first round saw its end.

De Leon, who had been the WBO champion for three years found himself caught in a buzz saw as Lopez straight more accurate punches essentially hit everything that he aimed at.

Lopez is now ready to join Miguel Cotto as Puerto Rico boxing icons and the door is open for Lopez to join the ranks of the elite featherweights and junior featherweights.

For Lopez, he is lucky to be in division that includes two of the better smaller fighters in Israel Vazquez and Rafael Marquez; giving the opportunity to have big money fights with some great fighters, only enhancing his future legacy.