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Robbery and a New Champion On the Atlantic City Boardwalk

By Alec Kohut


Paul Williams had hoped tonight to put behind him last November’s second round knockout at the hands of Sergio Martinez. Instead Erislandy Lara completely put his draw with Carlos Molina in the rear view mirror as he pounded out a clear victory over Williams in every set of eyes in the world but the three judges at ringside. In one the most egregious decisions in recent history, Paul Williams was somehow handed an undeserved gift by way of majority decision by scores of 114-114, 115-114 and 116-114.


A busier Lara won the first round clearly landing more punches as Williams was looked nothing like the 100 punch a round fighter we’ve become so used to. Lara did land an almost perfect left to Williams jaw, but was unable to hurt Williams. Williams became more active in round two, but the result was the same, Lara landed more, and better punches. Toward the end of the round a Lara straight right caught Williams off-balance momentarily appearing to have hurt Williams.


Lara maintained landing the better punches as round three progressed, but Williams seemed to be absorbing the punches without much difficulty as his punch count increased. Round four was Williams first productive round as he started to look like the high punch volume fighter we’d seen in the past. The fourth round also saw the first signs of fatigue from Lara.


It was starting to look more and more like a Paul Williams fight as round five progressed as Williams worked to fight in close quarters out working Lara and avoiding the overhand left that Lara was landing in earlier rounds. Williams continued to be more active and this writer’s opinion evened the fight on the scorecards, and it seemed the momentum had turned towards Williams.


Lara used round seven to again land numerous overhand lefts to the Williams’ head and stopped any momentum Williams had build. Lara also continued to avoid big shots by Williams by holding on, or moving. Round eight saw Lara again scoring effectively with his left through out the first half of the round, and although Williams may have done better in the second half, it was likely not enough to win the stanza.


By the middle of round nine it was becoming clear that Paul Williams’ only chance to win was going to be by knockout. Lara continued landing the harder, better punches as Williams was looking more and more like a defeated fighter. Over the last three rounds, nothing changed. Williams’ longtime trainer/manager George Peterson implored to Williams that he needed a knockout to win, and he was right.


As the fight wound down, Williams finished the fight bloody and defeated, yet somehow, beyond anything this reporter can comprehend a cadre of completely incompetent judges robbed Erislandy Lara of his rightful victory.


Ramos Wins WBA Strap in Dramatic Fashion


After falling far behind on all three scorecards and looking not quite ready for prime time, Rico Ramos used one left hook to get Akifumi Shimoda’s attention, and another to send him to the canvas and win the WBA super bantamweight world championship.


A very tentative first round saw Shimoda stake his claim to the center of the ring with Ramos content to circle the Japanese champion as each men did little more than feel each other out. The second round continued with Shimoda maintaining his place in the center of the ring keeping his right hand outstretch sizing the shorter Ramos up. Midway through the round Shimoda landed a counter roundhouse left to the ducking Ramos that seemed to do some damage as held Shimoda before being pushed to a knee and it being ruled a slip. Later in the round the first of several head butts occurred.


Round three continued with Shimoda keeping his place in the center of the ring, and now starting to throw his punches with more authority. Ramos continued circling as Shimoda become more aggressive starting to build a lead on the scorecards. Rounds four and five saw Shimoda continued to win rounds and land more punches than Ramos who seemed to have little answer for Shimoda pressing style. Another head butt in round five opened a cut over Ramos right eye.


As round six came to a close, the story remained the same, Shimoda busier, landing more punches and making it look like Ramos was far from ready to face world championship opposition.


Then came round seven.


Although starting the same, with Smimoda controlling both the center of the ring, and the action, Ramos began moving both his feet and hands more, throwing more hard rights and fighting with greater purpose. It was with 30 seconds left in the round when Ramos landed the first left hook that stopped Shimoda in his tracks and pur Ramos on the offensive landing a straight right, before a roundhouse left hook that Shimoda never saw landed flush sending the Japanese champion to the canvas. Despite his attempt to rise at the count of nine, he staggered and was clearly unable to continue and the bout was halted at 2:46 of the seventh round.


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