Boxing: Williams Overwhelms Wizened Wright

Saturday night's middleweight bout between aging former world champion Winky Wright and up-and-comer Paul Williams was nothing short of painful to watch. Williams began round one at a frenetic pace that tested Wright's trademark defense to its limit. At first, Williams' average 100 punches a round did little connecting, but by the end of the second round, Wright's right eye began to swell and his fight began to unravel. Round three found Paul Williams' six foot two-inch frame bearing down on Winky Wright, throwing six and eight-punch combinations with a gargantuan reach equivalent to that of heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko.

A short rally from Wright in round four prefaced a solid showing in the fifth, the only round that it appears most of the judges awarded him. He got in several good body shots and was more active than he'd been throughout the fight and arguably throughout most of his career. The trademark Winky Wright fight consists of Wright's impenetrable defense slowly wearing down his opponent, Wright counterpunching solidly as the enemy wastes his energy throwing punches that don't connect. This method failed him against Paul Williams, who continually shot straight through Wright's gloves.

Wright appeared to panic in round six, dropping his hands, throwing caution to the wind, and obviously going for a knockout punch to try and end the fight in his favor. Throughout the next three rounds, Williams answered ferociously as a desperate Wright attempted to fend off punches continually numbering 80-100 a round, including an incredible 105 in the tenth. There was much less activity on the parts of both fighters in the eleventh round, as Williams appeared to let up the pace just a bit and a beleaguered Wright managed to hang on through the round. As soon as the twelfth round bell rang, Paul Williams jogged to the center of the ring looking as aggressive and refreshed as if it were the first. Wright stood toe-to-toe and traded punches with the much younger opponent right up until the end, but lost in a unanimous decision.

Paul Williams has been forced to change weight classes four times just to find someone willing to fight him. He has been touted as the most avoided man in boxing, a dubious honor to be sure, and his victory over veteran Winky Wright might make his prospects even slimmer. Hopefully, however, the boxing world will recognize that Williams' combination of boundless energy, tremendous volume of punches and impressive speed place him among the top contenders in the middleweight class, not to mention welterweight, light middleweight, and probably any other class he chooses.

As for Winky Wright, at 37 years of age and coming off two big losses with a 21-month layoff in between, it might be time for him to just sit back and wait to be inducted into the hall of fame. There's no denying that Winky Wright has had an impressive career and deserves every bit of the respect he's been given, but now it may be time to step aside for some new blood.

In the case of undercard bout winner Chris "Pizza Tits" Arreola, everyone might want to step aside - and don't get in front of the donuts. Arreola beat fellow heavyweight (emphasis on the "heavy") Jameel "Value Meal" McCline in a lackluster bout that preserved Arreola's undefeated record but was entirely unmemorable otherwise. Both fighters were so out of shape and untalented that even imagining the Stay-Puft Marshmallow guy and the Michelin Man in the ring together didn't make it interesting.


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