Williams wants revenge -- and his welterweight title back

Updated: May 30, 2008

Craig Bennett/FightWireImages.com

Was Williams' mishap in the first fight a weight problem, a tactical problem … or a Quintana problem?

Williams aims to regain title

Paul Williams announced his arrival on the welterweight scene last summer by outpointing Antonio Margarito to win a piece of the title in a grueling fight.

With that strong victory to his credit -- along with a lanky 6-foot-2 frame, 81-inch reach, strong chin and southpaw style -- Williams looked like he might emerge as a dominant force at 147 pounds, and he was a significant favorite going into his first defense against Carlos Quintana on Feb. 9.

Puerto Rico's Quintana, 31, had been blown out in five lopsided rounds by Miguel Cotto while fighting for a version of the welterweight crown in December 2006 and was viewed by many as a speed bump on Williams' way to greatness.

But Quintana, also a southpaw, stunningly outboxed and outslugged Williams, who was cut over both eyes, to win a clear decision in an upset-of-the-year candidate.

While Quintana (25-1, 19 KOs) fought a virtually perfect fight, Williams (33-1, 24 KOs) had little snap on his punches, seemed lethargic and was easily hit. To many, it appeared reaching 147 pounds had taken a tremendous toll on Williams and he surely would move up in weight. But Williams, 26, surprised many by exercising his rematch clause and insisting on making 147 again.

We'll find out whether Williams made a smart decision when Quintana makes his first title defense against Williams in the rematch June 7 (9 p.m. ET/PT, Showtime) at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn.

"It will be cool to get my title back," Williams said. "I'm just going to go out there, do my job again and get my belt back. I have to go back and take that back from him."

Quintana, Williams

AP Photo/Francis Specker

Quintana, left, routinely beat Williams to the punch during their first go-round.

A confident Quintana said he doesn't plan to change much from February. "In the last fight, I had good defense, and I'm going to keep that up in this fight. Whatever new tactics he brings, I'll be able to adjust to them."

Nobody was as shocked by the outcome of the first fight as Dan Goossen, Williams' promoter.

He had been touting Williams as a future superstar.

"Feb. 9 was a stunner," Goossen said. "It just shows me how crazy this business is. No one gave Quintana a shot, and he pulled out a major upset. I am chomping at the bit to get out there next week. I'm anxious to do everything we can to get this thing turned around."

In the main event, Vernon Forrest (40-2, 29 KOs) will defend his junior middleweight belt against Sergio Mora (20-0-1, 5 KOs), winner of the first season of "The Contender."

Williams insisted making weight wasn't the reason for his poor performance. He said he never seriously considered moving up after losing.

"I gave a little thought to it but not that much," he said. "But the weight's no problem. It's not tough for me to make. I just didn't get in my rhythm last time."

Goossen did think weight was a factor, but he didn't press Williams to move up.

"We discussed it with [trainer] George [Peterson] and with [adviser] Al Haymon, and the bottom line was that it was going to be left up entirely to Williams and Peterson, because they're the ones that have to deal with it every day," Goossen said. "We certainly gave them every opportunity to say it was a problem. But they insisted it wasn't the weight. Based upon that, you move forward.

"His actions next Saturday will dictate where everything is -- if the weight was good, bad, or if it was a rhythm problem, or just a Quintana problem."

Lou DiBella, Quintana's co-promoter, believes Williams suffered severely making weight and suspects he will again.

"I'm interested as a fan, honestly, whether the weight is going to be an issue for the former champion, because it was certainly an issue last time," he said. "I want to see if Williams feels comfortable at 147 pounds still. If he is comfortable at 147, it's going to be a great, great fight. I can't wait for it. If he's not comfortable at 147, he'll have a real problem.

"Whenever I see a guy who is as tall as Williams and has as much reach as Williams, he's struggling to make weight. It's an issue. I was really surprised with a champion of Quintana's quality that Williams would want the rematch. But, I promoted Jermain Taylor, and he was having problems making weight. He could have taken an easier route and used weight as a reason not to take the rematch, but he insisted on fighting Kelly Pavlik [again]. It doesn't shock me that [Williams] wants to get right back to the guy that beat him. I think the result is going to be the same."

Decision time for Casamayor

Don King, co-promoter of unified lightweight titleholder Nate Campbell (32-5-1, 25 KOs), won this week's WBO purse bid for the mandatory fight with Ring magazine champion and WBO interim beltholder Joel Casamayor (36-3-1, 22 KOs). Winning bid: $1.22 million. Casamayor promoter Golden Boy was the only other bidder at $571,000.

Casamayor, Santa Cruz

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

It's time to get back in there, Joel Casamayor.

Campbell and Casamayor are each entitled to 50 percent of the winning bid ($610,000); signed contracts are due back to the WBO by 4 p.m. ET Tuesday. King said the fight will be Aug. 27 in Florida, England or Las Vegas.

However, it remains to be seen whether Casamayor will accept the fight. He has an offer from Golden Boy that will pay him an undisclosed amount, but more than $610,000, to face ex-unified titleholder Juan Diaz in September.

Diaz, of course, lost to Campbell on March 8, and many believe he doesn't deserve a crack at Casamayor's Ring championship before Campbell. But Casamayor and Diaz both are promoted by Golden Boy, which also owns Ring.

"We're waiting for the contract from King," Golden Boy's Eric Gomez told ESPN.com. "It would be more money for Casamayor to fight Diaz, so we're waiting for his answer on what he wants to do. He feels more confident with Campbell, who he already beat once, but there's more money to fight Diaz."

Malignaggi has hand surgery

Junior welterweight titlist Paulie Malignaggi has a history of injuries to his right hand, so when he said he broke it during his rematch victory against former titleholder Lovemore N'Dou this past Saturday in Manchester, England, he knew what he was talking about.

An exam Tuesday by his hand specialist, Dr. Steven Margles, confirmed Malignaggi's self-diagnosis: He fractured his right hand. Malignaggi underwent surgery Wednesday to repair the clean break. Malignaggi told ESPN.com that two rods were inserted into the hand and he will be in a cast for about six weeks.

Malignaggi, N'Dou

AP Photo/Fred Beckham

Lesson learned: You can expect a more focused Paulie Malignaggi, left, the next time he steps into the ring.

Malignaggi (25-1, 5 KOs) said the injury will not interfere with his planned November HBO showdown with champion Ricky Hatton, who defeated Juan Lazcano in the main event Saturday.

"I knew it was broken in the fight," said Malignaggi, who has had four surgeries on the hand. "It's the same thing that has happened to me before. The knuckle was pretty bad. Even my palm was black and blue. But I will definitely be ready to fight Hatton. We're fighting."

Said promoter Lou DiBella: "I spoke with Dr. Margles after he examined Paulie, and the prognosis is good. This should not affect Paulie's big fight this fall against Ricky Hatton in any way."

OK, so what about Malignaggi's hair extensions, the long braids that ultimately had to be cut off during the fight because they wouldn't stay tied up and kept getting in his eyes?

"It was a hairy situation," Malignaggi said.

Malignaggi said he decided to put the extensions in for fun and he had seen fighters such as Lennox Lewis and Bryan Adams, his pal, fight with braids tied back. But he regretted the decision.

"The fact that my hair was flying all over made it look like I was getting hit, and it was a rhythm breaker," he said. "A lesson learned. At 27, it's time to be a little more mature. I should have known better. Luckily, it didn't cost me the fight."

Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.


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• The opponents discussed for former middleweight champ Jermain Taylor's fall fight have ranged from Felix Trinidad to Ricardo Mayorga to Brian Vera of "The Contender." Now add ex-super middleweight titlist Jeff Lacy -- Taylor's 2000 U.S. Olympic teammate -- to the mix. "We've made them an offer," Taylor promoter Lou DiBella told ESPN.com. "They have not accepted yet, so we'll see." Golden Boy's David Itskowitch added, "We're negotiating the fight. Lou made an offer, and we're fine-tuning it, but it's a fight we're interested in." Whether it happens or not, Lacy plans to fight in July. Golden Boy is talking to ESPN2 about a date.


• Junior bantamweight champion Cristian Mijares (35-3-2, 14 KOs), who unified 115-pound titles by outpointing Alexander Munoz on May 17, would love a showdown with Mexican countryman Fernando Montiel to further unify the division, but that fight will wait for the time being. While Montiel defends his title against Luis Maldonado on Saturday in Mexico, Mijares returns against an opponent to be named Aug. 2 in Mexico, co-promoter DiBella told ESPN.com. DiBella said they will pursue a Montiel fight after that. "After the August show, I am almost positive he will come back on American premium television," DiBella said. "HBO and Showtime have expressed interest. Mijares and Montiel could be a 'little guy' mega-fight. I think the fight is inevitable, maybe early next year."


• When Top Rank's Bob Arum puts on one of his "Latin Fury" pay-per-view cards, they usually are on a Saturday night. However, Arum told ESPN.com he is planning one for Sept. 16, a Tuesday, to celebrate Mexican independence day. He said junior middleweight prospect Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. will headline the show at Mexico City's Azteca Stadium. Arum said he could face Hector Camacho Jr., a fight that would come almost 16 years to the day after Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. easily outpointed Hector Camacho Sr. in a 1992 junior welterweight title defense. Chavez Jr. will first fight July 12 in Mexico, Arum said.

A. Peterson

• Despite litigation pitting brothers Anthony and Lamont Peterson and co-manager Barry Hunter against co-manager Shelly Finkel, the brothers have their next fights planned, their first since signing with Top Rank, the move earlier this month that ignited the bad blood. Junior welterweight Lamont has been shifted from the June 26 Versus headliner to the July 5 Showtime card headlined by Ricardo Torres' junior welterweight title rematch with Kendall Holt. Lamont (24-0, 11 KOs) will face an opponent to be named. Top Rank's Arum said he made the switch at the request of Showtime, which wanted to feature the 140-pound division. It also made sense because Arum told ESPN.com that if Lamont wins, his next bout could come against the main-event winner in the fall. Lightweight Anthony (26-0, 19 KOs) was shifted from Showtime to the Versus main event. If Anthony wins his fight -- his opponent has not been set -- Arum said he will put him on either the July 26 HBO PPV Miguel Cotto-Antonio Margarito undercard or in the co-feature on HBO's Aug. 2 "Boxing After Dark" card headlined by the Joshua Clottey-Zab Judah welterweight title bout. Arum said Anthony would step up in competition for that bout, possibly against ex-lightweight titlist Julio Diaz or "Kid Diamond" Almazbek Raiymkulov.


• Junior flyweight Giovanni Segura (19-0-1, 15 KOs) of Bell Gardens, Calif., will get his overdue mandatory title shot against Brahim Asloum (23-2, 9 KOs) on July 26 in Asloum's native France, Top Rank's Todd duBoef told ESPN.com. Segura, 26, became the mandatory last June, but it took months until the WBA ordered the fight.


• Samuel Peter's mandatory heavyweight title defense against Vitali Klitschko, which was agreed to a couple of weeks ago, will take place Oct. 4 or Oct. 11. The date depends on a television deal for the fight as well as a venue. One possible site, however, is the O2 Arena in Berlin, which is scheduled to open in the fall. Organizers have it on hold for Oct. 4. Peter manager Ivaylo Gotzev is in Nigeria, Peter's home, exploring potential sites.


• A right shoulder injury to featherweight titleholder Jorge Linares (25-0, 16 KOs) forced him to withdraw from Saturday's defense against Feider Viloria in Chetumal, Mexico. Linares hasn't fought since December, when he scored a spectacular eighth-round knockout of Gamaliel Diaz but severely sprained his ankle early. The show Saturday will go on, however, with Colombia's Viloria (21-2-1, 15 KOs) facing ex-junior featherweight champ Oscar Larios (60-6-1, 37 KOs) for an interim title approved because of Linares' injury. The fight will be Larios' second since suffering a brain bleed during a 10th-round TKO loss to Linares for the vacant belt in July 2007. Larios is on the permanent suspension list in Nevada because of the injury and is unable to get a license in the United States. Linares will have to face the Viloria-Larios winner upon his return.


• Junior middleweight prospect Ronald Hearns (18-0, 14 KOs), son of legend Thomas Hearns, has been added to the big June 20 "ShoBox" (Showtime) card in the Cayman Islands. Hearns will face Jose Luis Gonzalez (12-3-1, 10 KOs). Super middleweight Andre Ward will face his stiffest test in Jerson Ravelo in the main event. Showtime probably will offer highlights of the Eddie Chambers-Raphael Butler heavyweight undercard bout.


• Cruiserweight champion David Haye's imminent arrival at heavyweight means he'll need an opponent for his November debut, his first fight since signing this week with Golden Boy. Leading British promoter Frank Warren has offered Haye, one of the few top British fighters he doesn't promote, $1.187 million to face Commonwealth champion Matt Skelton, who lost a decision Jan. 19 in a world title fight to Ruslan Chagaev. "This is a massive payday for Haye and a great opportunity to see if he is the real deal in the heavyweight division that he tells us he is," Warren said. "Skelton is the best in Britain and pushed Chagaev all the way in their world title fight. If Haye is serious about the heavyweight division, he should fight Skelton first."


• Super middleweight titleholder Lucian Bute (22-0, 18 KOs) has re-signed with Canadian promoter InterBox, the Montreal-based company announced. Bute's old deal expired in March. "I am extremely happy and proud of this new agreement with InterBox," said Bute, who is from Romania but lives in Montreal. "InterBox helped me achieve my dream of winning a world title. I relied on the support of Quebec boxing fans, and they did not let me down. The ambiance during my fights at the Bell Centre is extraordinary. These elements weighed heavily in my decision. I was adopted by the people here, and I have adopted Quebec. I wanted to continue to defend my title in front of my fans." Bute, recovering from a leg injury, is slated to fight mandatory challenger Librado Andrade in the fall.


De La Hoya

"Golden Boy Promotions has been waiting a long time for the right opportunity to get involved with the heavyweight division, and in signing David Haye, that time has come. David is not only a great champion, but with his personality and charisma, I know that he will take the heavyweight division by storm. He will give this once glorious division a much-needed facelift and give fight fans around the world heavyweight fights to look forward to, just like the great Muhammad Ali once did. All heavyweights out there should beware, as there is a new sheriff in town." -- Golden Boy Promotions president Oscar De La Hoya, on the signing of cruiserweight champion David Haye, who is moving up in weight.