Paul Williams Opponents Narrowing Down for July 9 HBO Return

Paul Williams (right) returns on July 9. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

BoxingScene.com's Ryan Burton reports that Paul Williams is focusing right now on two possible opponents for a return to the HBO boxing airwaves on July 9. Nobuhiro Ishida and Deandre Latimore are the names being given strong consideration.

Williams (39-2, 27 KO) will be moving back down to the junior middleweight division for the fight, his first since a brutal second round knockout at the hands of Sergio Martinez last November. Overall Williams fought under six full rounds in 2010, as his fight last May with Kermit Cintron was cut short in the fourth round following a bizarre situation that involved Cintron tumbling out of the ring to the floor and then being taken out on a stretcher.

Ishida (23-6-2, 8 KO) suddenly finds himself in demand thanks to the notoriety he gained by flooring James Kirkland three times in the opening round on April 9, stopping the feared Texas slugger in just one minute, 52 seconds. There have been some discussions about Ishida facing Kirkland in a rematch, but the Williams date is probably worth a little more money, and he'd be in an HBO main event.

As for Latimore (22-3, 17 KO), he has already said he's ready for the fight:

"I will knock out Paul Williams," Latimore stated. "I take nothing away from him. He's still one of the best fighters in the world but I'm near my prime and still getting better every day. It's time for me to break through and beating Williams on HBO is the way to do that.

"I think me and Williams makes for a great TV fight, one that fans want to see, and it should be easy to make, too. I'm looking for a big opportunity on one of the major networks to showcase the new, complete Deadre Latimore. Williams says he is the most avoided fighter in boxing. Well, I'm not avoiding him, and he needs to put up or shut up. Let's do it!"

Which fight would you prefer between the two?

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