A double-header is officially set for the AmericanBank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas, for February 18 on Showtime. In the main event, Paul Williams will return to the ring against Nobuhiro Ishida in a fight HBO turned down almost a year ago, and Tavoris Cloud will defend his IBF light heavyweight title against Gabriel Campillo in a fight Showtime turned down a few weeks ago. Dan Rafael of ESPN.com reports that it's all fully finalized and ready to go.
I've said before that I am not interested in the Williams vs Ishida fight at all, and that hasn't changed. I don't think Ishida is actually very good (he's alright) and I just don't think this fight is all that interesting.
This is a get-well fight for Williams (40-2, 27 KO) who is coming off of a bad second round knockout loss to Sergio Martinez, and an ugly robbery win over Erislandy Lara last July. There was talk that Showtime would double Williams and Lara on a January 21 card in order to set up a rematch, but there doesn't appear to be a lot of interest from the Williams side in making that rematch a reality, so Lara is fighting Ronald Hearns in another lousy fight on February 11 (the Ortiz vs Berto II undercard), and Williams is just moving over to Showtime for this fight anyway the next week.
As for Cloud vs Campillo, that's a really good fight, and is in no way going to be a gimme for Cloud, who is aggressive and generally fun to watch, but is being matched with a crafty guy who could, on paper, really trouble him by picking him apart with counters and simply using his ring IQ. Cloud has a lot of holes, and a guy like Campillo should be able to see them.
This was a fight that really should have happened on December 31, when it was offered to Showtime as a replacement for the scrapped Cloud vs Zsolt Erdei fight, but the network turned it down. In reality, it's just that Showtime had no true interest in doing a New Year's Eve boxing card, and they used their first chance to get out of it to, you know, get out of it. They've also rescheduled Rico Ramos vs Guillermo Rigondeaux for January 20 on ShoBox.
All in all, not a card I hate by any means. I don't think much of Williams vs Ishida, but I think Cloud vs Campillo is a very interesting fight that will either truly legitimize Tavoris Cloud, or "expose" him a little bit as a less-than-elite fighter, and I really do believe this is 50-50 on paper.