When it comes to tonight's Williams vs Ishida fight on Showtime, much of the debate this week has been about one question: Is Paul Williams shot?
Most feel that, at most, the evidence is inconclusive (I'm merely talking about rational people here, not including the loonies on either side of the fence). A minority feel that he is -- they might even be picking, for some reason, a 36-year-old Nobuhiro Ishida who when last seen in public, was beating up some guy making his pro debut in Mexico. A few feel Williams is anything but shot, and is going to prove tonight he's still a top fighter.
The problem with either of the latter two theories is that it all depends, so to speak -- on how the fight is won or lost, and what we really see. It's conceivable that Williams could win this thing 120-108 on the cards, and still leave a lot of doubts about his future. This is an odd fight for someone in Tall Paul's position: Ishida isn't terrible, but he's not very good. Ishida has the tools to make him look bad if he's shot, but Paul could still look iffy even if he's not, and even if he wins easily.
Oddsmakers expect Williams to get the "get well" win, which, let's be honest here, is exactly what this fight has been booked to be. That Ishida got a little lucky and knocked out a horrible, non-Wolfe version of Jimmy Jam Kirkland last year is kind of a moot point. That wasn't really James Kirkland in that ring. Seriously, go back and watch it, and take note of how poorly Kirkland does everything. He's a mess.
If anything, these odds may be a bit light in Williams' favor. Even if he's past his best (and he probably is), he's got to be considered a better fighter than Ishida. Like I said, it's an odd fight: Williams could look great, or not, and either could come with a dominant win. It's going to be about really watching him physically, how he responds, if he's made any adjustments (which would be a first, given that Paul isn't the sharpest tool in the shed once in the ring and trainer George Peterson is a pure enabler, either because he doesn't know better, or because he doesn't know how to fix anything so he just pushes the idea that nothing's wrong).
Bad Left Hook will have live coverage tonight.