Friday, May 15, 2009

Mark's Top 40 at 40: (7-6)

Mark Lyons is back, and he's down to numbers 7 and 6 on his top 40 favorite fighters countdown.

If you've just stumbled upon Mark's list for the first time, make sure to check out his previous entries (links at the bottom of this one).

7. Paul Williams

Career Record: 37-1 (27)

Three favorite Fights: Antonio Margarito UD12, Carlos Quintana LUD12 & KO1

Photos © Ray Kasprowicz

Heading into the final round, down on the cards, blood streaming down both eyes, yeah I'm going to get him now. That might be my favorite Paul Williams moment, and its from his only loss. He took it like a man ten times over. No excuses about taking him lightly, no excuses about the last second change in opponents, just lets run it back. And when they ran it back Quintana got crushed like a bug.

I pinpointed this guy for stardom long before he fought Margarito. But his appeal for me goes far deeper than that...this guy will face anybody, anywhere, anyplace, no excuses from a loss and just the overwhelming desire to run it back.

Paul Williams picture should be next to boxer in the dictionary. Supreme bad ass with every intangible you could possibly invent.

The criticisms are loud and the dissection of his faults are even louder. But if you look closely, the guy has IT. He will overcome any weakness and stare any challenge in the face. There may be more talented fighters and there definitely are more charismatic fighters. But there isn't another man in the fistic world willing to dig down as deep as Paul Williams. And when you really get down to it, that is probably the most difficult skill for an opponent to overcome.

"Antonio Margarito throws 100 punches a round!"

"LOL, not against me he doesn't. I throw 100 punches a round against everyone and I'll fight anybody spanning across four weight classes!"

Anybody that doesn't like that attitude, has taken one too many shots to the head.

Recently Bernard Hopkins, one of history's greatest fighters, expressed an interest in meeting Paul. That would be until he saw Paul treated Winky Wright like the wrong side of the pillow. The reality is Paul Williams throws 100 punches a round against everybody and Bernard Hopkins forgot his name one second after the Wright fight was over.

I don't blame Hops for stepping away or anybody else, because this kid is the best thing going and will retire any older champion or stifle any aspiring one. Quite simply he is the best fighter in the world and is going to set his own rules. I reserve the right to move Paul up this list at anytime.

6. Pernell Whitaker

Career Record: 40-4-2 (17)

Three Favorite Fights: Diosbelys Hurtado TKO11, Julio Cesar Chavez D12, Jose Luis Ramirez II UD12

1/24/97 & 2/20/99 are really the two dates that tell you all you need to know about Pernell Whitaker. That's not when he was making the world's best look second rate and it's not any of the dates of his out of the ring troubles.

The first is when he needed a knockout to win against Diosbelys Hurtado and he went out and got it with devastating efficiency. The second is when he fought Tito Trinidad, he didn't win, didn't even come close to it, but he walked through one of the welterweight divisions most violent assassins to try and secure that one last victory. That's what Pea was all about, winning the damn fight.

In today's internet age, there are a ton of experts at every turn. Many spit out Whitaker as a boring fighter that danced and tentatively boxed his way to wins. Those "fans" couldn't get laid in a whorehouse with a $1,000 bill. Pernell was a punching machine. He routinely landed in the neighborhood of 500 punches.

This man has absorbed more corrupt decisions in big fights than any fighter I can think of. His first title shot against Jose Luis Ramirez he maybe lost 2 rounds and somehow dropped the decision. No sweat, brush the dirt of your shoulder and shut him out in the rematch.

Chavez? LOL, that was like a man vs a child. The best part was when Pea drilled him with a hard left mid fight and had Chavez hurt.That was the beauty of Whitaker, no knockout record, can't punch? ask his opponents to tell you that. He always discouraged everyone he faced to step to him. Say what you will, that means something when Chavez is afraid to advance.

The Golden Boy, blaaaaaaaaaah, ridiculous decision, Pernell dominated that fight from start to end. Yeah, he gave away the last round, because he could afford to. Funny that he needed a knock out to win. That decision is one of the sickest I have ever seen. Whitaker threw more, landed more and landed harder, yet he got robbed by the BS side of the sport.

Pernell Whitaker was all man, if you wanted to box or brawl, no matter what state of mind he was in, he was one of the greatest to ever lace them up in this or any other era.

Hit him clean. I dare you. And if you do, he will fire right back. War Sweet Pea!

Mark's previous entries: Intro, 40-36, 35-31, 30-26, 25-21, 20-16, 15-13, 12-10, 9-8.

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