'Weight is Over' for Aiken boxer Williams

With month after frustrating month spent trying to lock down the next fight on the schedule, boxing promoters spend a lot of time tinkering with slogans.


Dan Goossen, the marketing man behind Aiken boxer Paul Williams, seems particularly tickled with his latest effort. While Williams vs. Kermit Cintron at 154 pounds on Saturday isn't a title fight, the fight's title tells the story -- "The Weight is Over."

It provided a nice double meaning. Williams and Cintron have been talking about meeting in the ring since 2006 when they were trying to unify their welterweight titles. And both fighters will fight at above their preferred weight class.

"When everything is said and done Paul is a 147-pounder," said Goossen this week.

Try telling that to everybody else in boxing. None of them seem to trust this high-tech device known as a scale. During a pre-fight teleconference, Williams and his camp fielded one question after another about the validity of his welterweight claims.

"If you are still that much in doubt then watch us eat breakfast before the weigh-in," said trainer George Peterson. "That's what we do."

The same story has been dogging Williams ever since he claimed the WBO welterweight title from Antonio Margarito in 2006. With his 6-foot-2 frame and freakishly long arms, he inherited the mantle of boxing's most avoided figure as his fellow welterweight stars refuse to even acknowledge his existence.

It's enough to irritate a man who is consistently one of the most entertaining champions in the sport as he is forced to accept whatever fights he can in higher weigh classes.

"I've been asked the same questions so many times about fighting in different weight classes, if I feel I am getting slighted, that sort of stuff, that my answers are almost like turning on a recorder and listening to it play, but only with my mouth moving," Williams said. "But, make no mistake -- I don't mind getting the attention and all the questions. I am confident and comfortable fighting in different weight classes and I will continue to do so for as long as I can and it is feasible.

"To me it's kind of fun. People can't really categorize me. It's hard because you can't get anybody to fight you. It takes discipline because once you finally pick a weight you've got to get up or down in weight. I kind of like it. It isn't killing us so far. Everything's good. So if it's not broke don't fix it."

Goossen, however, wants to fix it.

This broken theme is created by a unified filibuster by the name stars in boxing's most glamorous weight class. Floyd Mayweather Jr. is the money-maker everyone wants a piece of, and Peterson doesn't believe it will ever happen.

But Goossen maintains hope -- at least in his dialogue.

"It's not Paul's fault that he's 6-foot-2 and has a longer reach than the Klitschkos," he said. "But what has never left us is that we're looking to crack that super stardom and the way to do that is to make the super fight. The fights that we would like to make with a win Saturday night is the (Manny) Pacquiaos, is the Mayweathers. ... There are three welterweights that are out there today and they should all be mentioned in the same breath and that's Pacquiao, Mayweather and Williams.

"To be the best and to be the greatest and to be No. 1, I don't believe anyone can really say that until they get in the ring with Paul Williams. It may not be today or it may not be tomorrow but eventually Paul Williams will get his opportunity to show what we've been saying for the past two or three years."

Saturday night on HBO is just another appetizer. Cintron is a former IBF welterweight champ with his own issues trying to secure opponents. He's a ferocious puncher whose only career blemishes are a pair of losses to Margarito.

Like Williams, Cintron believes the media hasn't done enough to goad the top fighters to compete in the best fights.

"You all have the pens and the microphones," Cintron said. "When you see guys fight and you're talking about fights they should take you never mention my name. I think the media and the networks will have to start pushing those guys to fight the biggest and best fights."

Williams and Cintron has the ingredients to be as enthralling a matchup as Williams' last fight against Sergio Martinez. Neither man is known for backing down.

"We know what we're gonna get Saturday night and that's our money's worth when Paul Williams steps into that ring to go out there and show that he's the best fighter pound for pound in the world today," said Goossen.

Williams isn't taking it lightly.

"Right now, Cintron is my main focus," he said. "The guy right in front of me is always my main focus. I don't think about any other possible fights. If I'm asked, I'll talk about it, but otherwise my sole concentration is my next fight."