When Paul Williams took on Antonio Margarito last year, Margarito was hailed as the "most feared" welterweight boxer in the ring. And it was to the surprise of many when the victory went to Williams, who out-punched and out-classed Margarito, moving into that much-hyped "most feared" spot. And tonight, like so many other shattered myths, carlos Quintana stepped up and snatched Williams'label away.
A fighter who is has both been no stranger to tough opponents or surprise victories, Quintana surprised many tonight by bringing exactly what Williams lacked -- aggression, rhythm and shifting strategies. Quintana showed a strong beginning and end to the 12 rounds against Williams, clearly winning the first two rounds but out boxing his opponent and landing the cleaner, more accurate punches.
Williams was unable in all but the middle rounds to put his gloves on Quintana or, more particularly, figure out Quintana's left hand, which found its mark enough throughout the night to leave a giant, fitting frown-shaped gash on Williams' right eye. With blood trickling down his face, Williams pressed the action enough to at least give HBO's unofficial scorer, Harold Lederman, the impression that he won the fight (Lederman had the fight 115-113, Williams), but not enough for the three ringside judges, who scored the fight 115-113, 116-112, 116-112, all for Quintana. Williams, fighting 18 pounds heavier than his Friday weight, showed a fighter who perhaps should be abandoning any welterweight hype and take up residence in a higher division.
As for Quintana, he is now a beltholder in a division full of quality stock, all hungry for or currently possesing welterweight fame: Kermit Cintron, Floyd Mayweather, Miguel Cotto, among others. Quintana has slain one of the guard dogs in the divison, but has already been beaten by Cotto, arguably the other "most feared" welterweight.
And if we are formulating equations for the welterweight division, surely Andre Berto's increasing numbers should be added up: 20-0, 85% of those victories by knockout, no big-name opponents, yet a growing name inside the boxing world. Tonight's sixth-round TKO victory over German Michel Trabant brought him one step closer to contending with the the Mayweathers and the Cottos, one step closer to being added to the mathematical problem of adding up all the talent.
Berto applied the same trademark pressure through the six rounds until forcing Trabant to retire from his corner that he has throughout his recent fights. Berto has been brought up slowly by his camp and you can see why: the 24 year-old is continually building his skill set against different types of fighters and he so far only picked fighters who pose little threat to his power and boxing skills. Tonight he sealed another win in easy fashion.
HBO BAD - Feb. 9, 2008
Berto vs Trabant