With Paul Williams having an HBO date set for May 8, the most rumored opponent thus far has been junior middleweight contender and former welterweight titlist Kermit Cintron. But promoter Dan Goossen told Rick Reeno of BoxingScene.com that Williams is "seriously considering" a return to the welterweight division, which could open up a lot more options.
"In our next fight, we're either going to make a statement at 147 or we’re going to fight someone at junior middleweight. Right now we’re looking at Collazo, Cintron and several undefeated welterweights with Don King. The key is George Peterson. He said all along that Paul can still make 147, and at this point a lot of people doubt that," Goossen told BoxingScene.com.
It's true that Peterson (Williams' trainer) has been adamant that Williams can still make 147, a weight at which he has not fought since June 2008, when he wiped out Carlos Quintana in the first round of their rematch. Since then he's fought three times at middleweight and once at junior middleweight. We're talking about almost a two-year run outside of the welterweight division.
I still don't think Williams can comfortably make 147, but surely I could be wrong about that. Paul and George Peterson know the real deal, and they say it can be done with no problem. If it can, it would be a gate-crashing sort of thing for that division, where Manny Pacquiao will meet Joshua Clottey in March, and Shane Mosley and Floyd Mayweather Jr. lock horns in May.
HBO is said to be interested in Williams returning to the division, and that makes sense. If Pacquiao and Mayweather both win their upcoming fights and still can't come to terms to fight one another, there's almost nobody left at 147 that makes dollars and sense for them as opponents, save for WBC titlist Andre Berto. Williams is not the biggest draw or the biggest star, but he's a highly-respected pound-for-pound contender, and now has HBO full-square behind making him a name. He's proven to be an exciting fighter who can make compelling fights, and his height and reach made him hell at 147 already.
It's all about styles, and a comfortable welterweight Williams would be a huge challenge for anyone currently at the top of the welterweight ranks.
More likely, I'm guessing, he'll fight at 154 against Cintron (who hasn't been telling anyone he wants to return to 147), and then if the money fight at 147 comes along, he might give it a go before the end of the year. I sort of figured a couple of years ago that Tall Paul would be out of the 147-pound ranks by now anyway, but we'll see.