Paul Williams is a boxing judge’s dream—a high volume fighter with absolutely no defense. As such, he will almost always outwork his opponents round by round (read relatively easy to score for). The lack of defense, however, allows judges to see the clean blows against him, which are almost always evident by the fact that his head spins around like Regan MacNeil from The Exorcist (read infliction of damage against him has more evidence than the Casey Anthony trial). In fact, when Williams fought Sergio Martinez in November, his melon was nearly removed altogether.
Tonight he faces Erislandy Lara in what HBO bills as “Redemption Awaits.” In sixteen fights, Lara has won all ten by stoppage, with an overwhelming percentage coming in the first round. As such, there is nothing Lara needs to “redeem,” unless it’s the lackluster majority draw against Carlos Molina (who faces Kermit Cintron tonight) back in March. As neither fighter is engaged in a redemption rematch, the Redemption tag sucks. It’s too late now, but “Relevance” would have been more appropriate.
The difference perhaps is that Lara is 5’9” and Williams is an understated 6’1”. As a good counterpuncher, Lara will not outscore Williams; therefore, his only chance, which incidentally is a good one, is to land a fight changing blow early while Williams is working out the nerves. Lara will have opportunities if he has prepared for Williams’s 100 punches per round output. Williams tends to fight small, so Lara must fight smart—which he will. The "difference" is, therefore, not necessarily relevant.
Additionally, nobody knows how gun shy Williams will be in his first fight back from co-starring in the 2010 Knockout of the Year. Some fighters simply cannot adapt and return to the ring as fractions of who they once were. Frankly, for a first fight back, it doesn’t make sense to put the Williams in with a power punching southpaw when guy was tagged repeatedly and dropped by the southpaw Martinez in the first fight and, as discussed above, destroyed by southpaw Martinez in the second fight.
Look for Lara to come out defensive and extend too far (which he has a habit of doing) to reach Williams in the early rounds; however, Lara will figure it out in round three and begin to land. Williams will go down, more than once, and the fight will end by way of stoppage before the 8th—Redemption denied. Naturally, if Lara just shells up and gives us a repeat Molina performance, then the judge's dream will get the lopsided decision. Not likely.