HBO's May 8 date for Paul Williams is close to being filled with an opponent, as Rick Reeno reports that Kermit Cintron is near a deal to fight Williams on that date. The fight will probably be at 154, but Cintron is willing to fight lower if Williams is serious about moving back to welterweight this year.
Williams (38-1, 27 KO) won two fights last year at 160, dominating Winky Wright in April and winning a very close decision against Sergio Martinez in December. Cintron (32-2-1, 28 KO) had a more up-and-down year, starting poorly with a gift draw against Martinez in February, but then upsetting Alfredo Angulo in May, and capping the year with an easy win over Juliano Ramos in Puerto Rico on October 24.
Williams is definitely the favorite here given his status as a P4P contender, but Cintron's power makes him dangerous. Williams can get sloppy defensively and allow himself to get hit too much, and as a southpaw, is vulnerable to Cintron's right hand. While Cintron has never beaten someone as good as Williams, let alone knocked out someone that good, his KO rate certainly suggests he could, though it doesn't prove it.
It's about as good a fight as Williams was going to get for May 8, what with Kelly Pavlik and Sergio Martinez squaring off on April 17, and there being so few legitimate contenders at 154 or 160 that were going to be approved by HBO. Even if Williams had dropped straight to 147 for this fight, Cintron was still probably the best option, as all of the top welters are busy, too.
No venue has been discussed.