Paul Williams (41-2-1, 27 KOs), still reeling from a public backlash which followed his controversial win over Erislandy Lara, a fight that few outside his immediate circle felt he deserved, returned to his winning ways against Japan’s Nobuhiro Ishida (24-7, 9 KOs) – a fighter recognized in the states as the man who defeated James Kirkland. Williams used his patented left, right, shoeshine combos to outwork Ishida over the course of 12 rounds, en route to a shutout unanimous decision. Ishida was up to the task of challenging the fighter once regarded as a pound for pound elite, however, he lacked the power and skill to pose any serious threat.
The main event of Showtime’s Championship Boxing 2012 debut, emanating from Corpus Christi, Texas, was a performance that will not brush aside the naysayers that have plagued Williams, but it does allow him to move on from a very rough 14 months and into contention for a money fight, where his name value is a prized commodity. Williams appeared more disciplined in his punching selection, a departure from his formerly frenzied offense, although, it was not enough to ever place Ishida in any type of imminent danger. Ishida managed to counter several of Williams’ lazy left hands but the feather-fisted contender was, likewise, incapable of hurting Williams. Williams rode this through a very workmanlike victory that did not excite nor disappoint. Ishida, relatively unknown to fight fans, will not be a highlight on his career but he wasn’t expected to be; he provided the opportunity for “The Punisher” to shake off any rust that has been lingering and ideally move himself into a bigger payday on the horizon.
Despite its role as the co-feature, Tavoris Cloud’s title defense against Gabriel Campillo (21-4, 8 KOs) was the fight that managed to garner the majority of the fan’s attention. Cloud, a fighter who wondered aloud if he was being ducked, managed to escape Texas with a highly controversial split decision against Campillo – a common victim of abhorrent judging throughout his career. Cloud started the fight with a scorching first round in which he dropped Campillo with a straight right hand that had the native of Spain struggling to survive. Cloud continued to hound Gabriel who managed to save himself from a stoppage by collapsing onto the ropes, a decision that led the referee to declare a second knockdown within the round. It appeared it was only a matter of time before the fight was stopped, however, Campillo came back with sharp combinations, attacking the body and head of Cloud from varying angles.
Campillo, who had the handicap of a 10-7 first round, managed to handle the aggression of Cloud effectively, busting the champion up into a macabre caricature of the bull that charged out in the first round. Despite a few rounds in which Campillo appeared to coast, it was evident that the Spaniard was the better man on this night, showboating throughout the championship rounds, confident of his chances. Those circumstances made the official judging such an abhorrent tragedy; incompetence even for the blind mice that judge Texas boxing. Denny Nelson, the one rational observer, scored the bout 115-111 for Campillo, he was countered by Jose Elizado’s 114-112 card for cloud, and the most abominable officiating was reserved for the inexperienced David Robertson, he managed to see the fight 116-110 for Cloud. Following the announcement of the decision, the crowd rained their displeasure down onto the ring.
In the headlining fight of Showtime Extreme’s preliminary card, Chris Arreola(35-2, 29 KOs) continued his winning streak and resurgence by starching, the over matched and ill-prepared, Eric Molina(18-2, 14 KOs) in the first round with a thudding right hand. The action started immediately out of the gate, with Molina building some confidence with a set of crisp 1-2′s, however, they managed to be futile in the face of Arreola’s hammering right hand. Molina was quickly dropped, while Arreola continued his highlight his brash streak by taking on the high-haired Don King. After the fight, Arreola took to the Showtime airwaves launching a heated diatribe against King, promoter of Eric Molina, calling him a racist and a “f**king a**hole” — the language was in reference to Don King’s use of the word “wetback” at a pre-fight press conference.
Also on the undercard, undefeated American heavyweight, Malik Scott (33-0, 11 KOs) showed little rust from his three year layoff, dispatching of journeyman Kendrick Releford(22-15, 10KOs). The native of Philadelphia used his jab and speed to soundly outwork his opponent en route to a unanimous decision. Scott, despite showing little knockout power, exemplified why some observers were high on him prior to his injury, his jab, reflexes, and foot work are a class above many in the current crop of American big men. Now, the onus is on Scott’s handlers to move him up in preparation for a significant fight.