Paul Williams returns on February 18 against Nobuhiro Ishida. (Photo by Craig Bennett/Goossen Tutor Promotions)
"I'm excited to be given this opportunity and to be able to prove myself again. I love that because it's just more motivation and that come Feb. 18 I'm going to put on a helluva show for my fans and the people who aren't my fans."
How long did it take you to get back in the gym after what happened in the Lara fight?
"Really about two weeks. A fight is a fight and after that Lara fight I would have liked to have been coming off a big knockout and got right back to the gym and stuff but for me it was same old, same old. Like clock-work."
How did you feel after the judges in the Lara fight had been suspended by the New Jersey Commission because they felt like they had done a bad job with the scoring?
"I thought that was bull crap. It's not like the judges were off by more than one point. It was one point. Why would they want to make a big deal about that? I thought that was bull crap.
"I have no reason to fight (Lara) again. He didn't get any fame and glory for winning that fight. All he got is me having a bad night. That's about it. If he had gone out and gotten a title then I would definitely like to fight him again."
Has it been your plan to be inactive for so long since your last fight?
"It's not us. We always want to fight. It's finding the right opponent to say yes. A lot of times we don't know who we are going to fight until the last month or the last couple of weeks."
Is Ishida as good as advertised?
"(Against Kirkland) that was his night. You can't fault anybody for coming in there like he did and he won and he knocked him out. I have to give him his props for that. He did what not a lot of guys have been able to do. Coming up on this fight on the 18 I know he's in the best shape and he's going to try and go out and repeat that again.
"I'm going to show my fans that I'm not done. They will always try and write you off but I will show them that I'm not done.
"Every time I get into the ring I try and make a statement."
"Thank you for the opportunity to fight this fight. I appreciate it very much.
"Paul Williams will fight anyone and I thank him for that.
What is your assessment of Paul Williams?
"I think Paul Williams has a good chin and has a lot of power and is one of the top fighters in the world.
"I didn't expect to get a knockout against Kirkland. You never really expect that. I'm not sure about a knockout against Paul Williams, but I think I will get the win. I'm going to make it a very long night for Paul Williams."
DAN GOOSSEN, Williams' promoter
"Corpus Christi has always been a great fight town and we expect a great crowd out there on Feb. 18. Texas has always been a great state for our sport tand we thank Dicky Cole and all their commission.
"You look at a fighter like (Miguel) Cotto and It's really a shame that two losses in our sport and people are writing you off. Media, the experts, all these people think that you're through. Cotto as we know suffered two losses to Pacquiao and Margarito and obviously he has shown that he isn't through. I have the same impression after the Sergio Martinez and Lara fights for Paul. I heard the broadcasters halfway through the Lara fight say that Williams should retire. But I didn't see a fighter against Martinez or Lara who I thought was through. I saw a fighter that's ready to go out there and prove himself to these naysayers that believe he's still the Punisher. He's a three-division fighter the same as Cotto was. He's got two losses as Cotto and he will be back as strong as Cotto after the 18th."
ERIC GOMEZ, Vice President and Matchmaker - Golden Boy Promotions
"For years Paul Williams has been considered one of the greatest pound for pound fighters out there. This is a big opportunity for Nobuhiro Ishida. He had a great win over James Kirkland who everyone knows is a hot fighter again and Ishida came in and knocked him out in one round. He obviously wants to repeat that again. You know, he wants to make it here in the U.S., to fight the big names and to win. He has a tall task in facing Paul Williams and it's going to be exciting.
"When Ishida beat Kirkland we went and tried to make any fight we could but nobody wanted to fight him. A lot of guys came back with he's too tall, he's difficult, he's awkward, this and that, but Paul Williams was pretty much the only guy who stepped up. I want to thank Paul Williams for coming forward and taking this fight. He's always been one of the few fighters who will fight anybody. Paul Williams does what he preaches and he was the only guy who would take this fight. We even approached Kirkland about a possible rematch and he's our own guy. Paul Williams stepped up and said, ‘I want to fight Ishida. I don't care who he is or who he has beaten.'
"Ishida has never been knocked down before. This is going to be a great fight."