Open Thread and Live Coverage: Paul Williams vs Erislandy Lara

Tonight at 10:15 EDT on HBO, Paul Williams returns to the ring and to the junior middleweight division when he takes on Cuba's Erislandy Lara in the main event of a nice double-header.

Williams (39-2, 27 KO) hasn't been seen since his vicious November knockout at the left hand of Sergio Martinez, and his promoters tried to match him a little softer than this for a comeback, but HBO eventually turned down a fight with Nobuhiro Ishida, instead approving the fight with Lara (15-0-1, 10 KO). Lara last fought in March, putting in a lifeless performance against Carlos Molina, and the unbeaten Cuban prospect was lucky to escape with a draw instead of his first pro loss. Tonight, both fighters will need their A-games as they try to impress and get in title talks at 154 pounds.

The co-feature is a special treat, as Goossen Tutor super bantamweight prospect Rico Ramos (19-0, 10 KO) will face traveling titleholder Akifumi Shimoda (23-2-1, 10 KO). Shimoda is fighting for the first time in the United States, and only the second time in his career outside of Japan. It's a rarity to see one of the top Japanese fighters on American soil, so enjoy it while you can.

Bad Left Hook will be officially covering the Rios vs Antillon card instead of this one, but I know many of you will be watching HBO instead, so I thought I'd give you a place to talk about this show. Anyone who wants to score the fights, feel free to do so. It really is a shame that a couple of interesting, attractive cards got matched up head-to-head, but it happens.

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