Monday’s Weekend Boxing Notebook

By Francis Walker
Updated: November 30, 2008

Gloves NEW YORK — A pair of fighters from the Gooseen-Tutor Promotions stable posted impressive victories on Saturday. Paul Williams (36-1, 27 KOs) won the interim WBO junior middleweight title by handing Verno Phillips (42-11-1, 21 KOs) only the second TKO loss of his career.

Undefeated heavyweight prospect Chris Arreola (26-0, 23 KOs) positioned himself for an eventual title shot by knocking out Travis Walker (28-2-1, 22 KOs) in spectacular fashion.

Both Williams-Phillips and Arreola-Walker were televised on HBO’s Boxing After Dark from the Citizens Bank Arena in Ontario, California.

Williams, at 6-foot-1, with an 82-inch reach, the 27 year-old southpaw from Aiken, SC, was avoided by nearly every fighter in the welterweight division for years. Miguel Cotto, Shane Mosley, Zab Judah, Joshua Clottey, and Andre Berto all declined to fight Williams.

In boxing, nobody is afraid of anybody. These fighters endure too much in training camps to simply dodge challengers. Perhaps more importantly, if it doesn’t make dollars, it doesn’t make sense.

However, boxing is a business and Williams, although he has fought on HBO, Showtime, the Versus network, and ESPN, simply doesn’t bring enough to the table and is simply too difficult a fighter. Also, Williams isn’t really a welterweight and should be competing at 154 and even in the middleweight division.

To Williams’ credit, he did end Antonio Margarito’s five-year reign as WBO welterweight champion in July 2007. Williams’ promoter Dan Goossen did offer Margarito and Arum $4 million for a rematch after Margarito punished Cotto this summer.

Margarito wasn’t sure if he’d be able to fight again in 2008 because of the brutality of the Cotto fight and Arum felt that there’s more money to be made against other opponents.

Therefore, Margarito is scheduled to face Sugar Shane Mosley on January 24, 2009. Margarito’s WBA welterweight championship will be on the line.

Plus, Arum did offer Goossen and Williams the serves of WBC/WBO middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik months before Pavlik accepted a catch-weight fight with Bernard Hopkins. Goossen and Williams turned that fight down.

In order to get fights, Williams vows to stay busy. Williams has fought four times this year. Williams, who lost the WBO 147-pound crown to Carlos Quintana (L 12) before regaining it with an emphatic first round KO in an immediate rematch in June, knocked out Andy Kolly in his middleweight debut before fighting Phillips.

Phillips, in his last fight, surprisingly won a 12-round decision against IBF 154-pound champion, Cory Spinks in Spinks’ hometown of St. Louis, MO in March. It was Phillips’ first world in more than 16 years.

Williams was much taller than the 5-foot-7 Phillips, whose 69-inch reach put him at a distinct disadvantage. But an accidental head butt occurred in the opening round when Williams surrendered his height and reach advantages while looking for Phillips.

Phillips boxed pretty well by moving around Williams’ massive height. Phillips had success on the inside with his right hand, but Williams was dominant when he pressed forward behind his reach and combination punching.

Williams did everything well. He hooked off his right jab, threw a lot of punches to Phillips’ body, and Williams kept the older fighter moving straight back against the ropes instead of allowing Phillips to move from side-to-side.

Williams’ pressure and combination punching was too much for Phillips. In rounds four and five, Phillips didn’t move around as much and became more of a stationary target which became the story for the remainder of the fight.

The end came at the end of the eighth round when Phillips decided that he had enough and quit on his stool.

Arreola KOs Walker

Chris Arreola became the IBF No. 2-ranked contender following a come-from-behind knockout of Travis Walker in what might have been the most exciting heavyweight fight of 2008.

Walker had the fight in his hands early. Walker attacked Arreola, who maintained his position against the ropes in the first round. Walker threw combinations and hurt Arreola with a right hand. In the second round, Walker actually dropped Arreola in the second round off a single right hand.

That’s when the real fight began.

It was after getting dropped on the canvas when Arreola pressured Walker. The result – two knockdowns in the same round that Walker dropped him. The third and final knockdown against Walker signaled the end of the contest at 13 seconds of round three.

Arreola earns title shot?

With an IBF No. 2-ranking, add Arreola’s name to a growing list of contenders that are willing to fight Wladimir Klitschko. HBO is interested in a Klitschko-Arreola fight, but will first televise Klitschko’s sixth defense of the IBF heavyweight title against Hasim Rahman on December 13, in Germany.

Should Klitschko beat Rahman (as expected), Wladimir will have nine months to face mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin, who is recovering from an in jury he suffered last month.

Also, David Haye, the former WBC/WBA and WBO cruiserweight champion is looking to fight Wladimir sometime next year, but it looks like older brother Vitali, the WBC champion, is the more likely candidate.