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BOXING BLOG:

Williams defeats Wright

Arreola makes quick work of McCline

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Steve Marcus

Paul Williams (right) connects on Winky Wright during a middleweight fight at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.

Updated Saturday, April 11, 2009 | 10:30 p.m.

Willams-Wright

Paul Williams lands on the 1,000-plus punches he threw at Winky Wright in his unanimous victory Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. Launch slideshow »

Winky Wright had the crowd on his side.

But Paul Williams had speed, energy, and a never-ending barrage of punches.

In the end, Williams' intense activity easily won out as he earned an emphatic 12-round, unanimous decision victory over Wright Saturday night in front of 5,425 fans at Mandalay Bay.

"My 12th round felt like my first, and that was due to my hard training. Running seven miles a day helped my breathing, " said Williams (37-1, 27 KOs), who threw 104 punches in the first round and 106 in the 12th.

"I expected him to throw good shots and he did. We went 12 hard rounds and I anticipated it would be a tough fight.

Judges Jerry Roth and Robert Hoyle favored Williams 119-109, while Adalaide Byrd gave every round to Williams, 120-108.

Williams threw an incredible 1,086 punches, connecting with 23 percent, while Wright managed just 511.

"I just couldn't get my punches off," said Wright (51-5-1), who was fighting for the first time since he lost a decision to Bernard Hopkins in the same ring in July 2007.

"He was very tall and awkward with really long arms. He would throw a lot of punches, and they were coming from all different directions, and I didn't know how to dodge them. I had a long layoff, but I felt this was a great fight."

Despite the setback, Wright insists Saturday won't be the last time he steps in the ring.

"I had a long layoff but I felt this was a great fight," Wright said. "This is definitely not my last fight. I'm definitely coming back."

The next step for Williams, who avenged his lone loss to Carlos Quintana in February 2008 with a first-round knockout of Quintana four months later, is anybody's guess.

If the southpaw from Augusta, Ga. thought he was avoided before, its doubtful many boxers will want to face him now after dismantling Wright, whose known for his strong defense.

"There is nobody we wouldn't fight," said Williams' promoter Dan Goossen said. "This was a risky fight and he came out, as far as I'm concerned, as the elite pound-for-pound fighter in the world today."

Round-by-Round Updates (8:00 p.m.)

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Paul Williams celebrates with his son Paul Williams Jr., 6, and boxing promoter Dan Goossen after defeating Winky Wright in a middleweight fight at the Mandalay Bay Event Center in Las Vegas, Nevada on April 11, 2009.

Twelfth Round: Wright leads with combinations featuring jabs, straight lefts and shots to the body with both hands. A lively exchange in the middle of the ring fizzles with a series of clinches. Williams sets the pace, keeping Wright at bay with his jab, working in a right hook. No real last gasp of any powerful activity from Wright as the final minute begins with a clinch. The fighters exchange blows mostly on the inside, then hug as the bell sounds. Haney scores it 119-109 in favor of Williams.

Eleventh Round: Williams' height, reach, speed and sheer volume of activity, as well as an ability to land some stinging, clean, open shots, continue to take their toll on Wright. Williams looks fresh, even tireless; Wright looks as if he cannot wait for this ordeal to end.

Tenth Round: Williams comes out more furious than in any previous rounds, perhaps looking to end it with a knockout right here, bringing the fans to their feet in the Events Center. Wright withstands the storm but shows little sign of an ability to mount a sustained offensive attack. An extended, entertaining exchange in the center of the ring is marked by a lot of blocked punches by both men, with Wright looking considerably more tired than his younger opponent.

Ninth Round: Wright, who was knocked off-balance at times during the previous round, attempts to regain his composure but fails to keep pace with Williams' unrelenting attack. Wright lands one clean shot but does not build on it. Williams gets the best of an exchange in the middle of the ring then forces Wright against the ropes. Wright splits Williams' gloves with a straight left and opens up his game some, but cannot break through against Williams to inflict any notable damage.

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Winky Wright (right) takes a punch from Paul Williams Saturday night at Mandalay Bay Events Center.

Eighth Round: Williams is still using his considerable reach to give Wright trouble, mixing big roundhouse punches with uppercuts and jabs, giving Wright and his vaunted defense all he can handle. Wright lands an occasional clean shot but cannot sustain any sort of extended attack, nor has he been able to seriously hurt Williams. Williams makes Wright miss a couple of times, then snaps off some body shots that are at least partially blocked. There's no sign that Wright is about to wrest control.

Seventh Round: Unless Wright scores a knockdown or a knockout, by our scorecard the best he can do is a draw. Williams opens with a fast and furious rally, stunning Wright with a series of punches from both hands. Williams keeps up his ferocious pace as Wright covers up and tries to force clinches ever more frequently. Williams' footwork is fancy enough that he appears to do a little dance step but still maintains the rapid pace he has been setting since Round 1.

Sixth Round: Williams lands a couple of heavy body shots and Wright shoots back with an open shot to Williams' face. Wright backs Williams up for a brief moment but cannot capitalize with any extended rally. The action again moves inside and tight with Williams' activity and rapid pace making the difference.

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Winky Wright (right) punches at Paul Williams, during a middleweight fight at the Mandalay Bay Events Center April 11, 2009.

Fifth Round: The round opens with a furious exchange in the middle of the ring that concludes with Williams drawing a warning from Cortez for going low, although Williams looks unhappy about it. The pace slows a bit compared with the previous round. Wright gets the best of an exchange that takes place in close quarters. Wright does enough to win the round this time.

Fourth Round: Williams is living up to his reputation as a guy who keeps on coming and keeps on throwing punches, overwhelming his opponent with sheer volume. Williams gets the best of a back-and-forth exchange alongside the ropes. A nice jab by Williams followed by a left and a right to the body. Wright is blocking some of the barrage of punches by Williams, but not all of them. Williams continues to force the pace in a good action round.

Third Round: Williams comes out firing again, active as ever, keeping Wright on the defensive. Williams snaps off a couple of crisp jabs. Referee Joe Cortez steps in to break up a clinch, and Williams lands a few more open shots to the body. Wright fires back with a 1-2 combination after Williams lands a flurry of punches. His rally is aborted, though, as Williams responds by hitting Wright hard with both hands. Wright again smiles and nods but his act is unconvincing as Williams was even scoring a bit in a late-round clinch.

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Boxers Winky Wright (left) and Paul Williams battle it out during a middleweight fight at the Mandalay Bay Events Center April 11, 2009.

Second Round: Wright tries to establish the jab even as he's kept busy trying to block Williams' shots. Williams lands some body shots including one or two that are borderline low. The crowd responds to a Williams rally. Williams continues to work behind his jab. Wright is covering up more frequently. Williams lands a pretty right hand to Wright's chin. Williams continues to dictate the tempo of the fight.

First Round: Williams goes off as a minus 220 betting favorite, with the "will go 12 full" round proposition a heavy favorite, thanks in part to Wright's propensity to avoid getting hit, let alone knocked out. Williams dictates the pace early and Wright smiles broadly to let us know those punches didn't really hurt. Wright backs Williams up against the ropes temporarily. Wright lands a clean right hand then a strong straight left. Wright blocks a series of shots. Williams is pushing the pace and is the busier fighter.

Main event

No one can avoid them tonight.

That's because Winky Wright and Paul Williams are facing each other tonight at Mandalay Bay.

With little fanfare, at least compared to recent matches in Las Vegas, and even fewer fans, the two middleweights made their entrances to the ring.

There's still some star power in the building though. Actor James Caan headlines a list of mostly athletes including boxers Ricky Hatton, Oscar De La Hoya, Mike Tyson, Shane Mosley, and Zab Judah. NFL players Donnie Edwards, Dwight Freeney, Willie McGinest, and Terrell Suggs are also in the house.

Just prior to the main event, there was memorial 10-count to honor Artie Curry, HBO's director of boxing talent relations, who was found dead in his New York City apartment Wednesday. Curry was 49.

Co-main event

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Boxer Chris Arreola celebrates his fourth-round KO victory over Jameel McCline during a heavyweight title fight at the Mandalay Bay Events Center April 11, 2009.

Jameel McCline's camp promised the more experienced fighter would take young NABF champ Chris Arreola into the uncharted waters of the late rounds.

Instead Arreola, a minus 360 favorite, disposed of the 38-year-old McCline in much the same way he has his previous 26 opponents — with a big knockout.

"I am fighting to be the best in the world," said Arreola, who knocked McCline out with 2:01 in the fourth. "First of all I want to convince you and convince the fans. In order to convince the fans, I have to fight the very best.

"In order to do that, I need to beat the best fighters and I believe Jameel McCline is."

McCline started showing his fatigue early in the second. By the time the fourth hit, Arreola was capitalizing with big combinations.

A big series right before the two-minute mark made all the difference as McCline (who connected with just 24 punches compared to Arreola's 72) could not beat the 10 count.

So what's next for the undefeated Los Angeles native?

"I will fight whomever they want me to fight," Arreola said. "I want the best. If they tell me I'm ready to fight Klitschko, I'll fight him. If not, I'll fight someone else."

Round-by-Round Updates (7:00 p.m.)

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Referee Tony Weeks counts out Jameel McCline after he was knocked out in the fourth round by Chris Arreola during a heavyweight fight at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, April 11, 2009.

Fourth Round: Arreola opens with a wide-open straight right hand. Arreola blocks a shot then lands a left and a right. An exciting combination by Arreola features an uppercut that buzzes McCline. Arreola scores the fight's first knockdown with another series of punches that includes an uppercut to McCline's chin, and referee Tony Weeks calls an official end to the bout when McCline fails to beat his count. Another victory for Arreola, the latest next best hope for the heavyweight division. The knockout officially comes at 2:01 of the fourth.

Third Round: McCline still looks to be breathing heavily through his mouth. McCline fires off some jabs; Arreola covers up. Arreola mixes in a jab himself then connects with a combination. He follows with a straight right, then a left to the body of McCline. Arreola is getting the better of it as they mix it up in the center of the ring. McCline jars Arreola with a left hook. McCline connects on several jabs and lands a crisp left late to pull out the round.

Second Round: McCline appears slightly winded. Are appearances deceiving? McCline keeps jabbing, but Arreola remains composed. McCline is throwing more punches early, but is knocked slightly off-balance by an Arreola right hand. McCline lands a combination but Arreola responds with a flurry of his own. Arreola lands a big straight right, a couple of body shots and an uppercut. A good right by McCline but Arreola fires back. The mid-round rally was enough for Arreola to take this one.

First Round: Arreola starts with the sign of the cross in his corner and throws the first couple of solid shots as the heavyweights feel each other out. A couple of clinches ensue as Arreola attacks the body of McCline. McCline lands a jab and there's another clinch. McCline continues to work the jab. Arreola works in an uppercut, a couple of body shots and a strong straight right. Arreola takes the round.

Undercard results (6:30 p.m.)

Danny Garcia vs. Humberto Tapia

Garcia, junior welterweight from Philadelphia, added to his perfect record (12-0) with an eight-round decision (80-72, 80-72, 79-73) in the last bout before the HBO telecast begins.

Shawn Estrada vs. Omar Coffi

Estrada (4-0, 4 KOs) — a 2008 U.S. Olympian — was pushed past the first round for the first time, but recorded the stoppage of Coffi in the third.

Jose Rodriguez vs. Pablo Montes De Oca

Rodriguez, a New Yorker with one loss claimed a 10-round majority decision against the Las Vegas-based De Oca. But the judges were all over the place. One scored it a draw, the other 98-92 for Rodriguez and the third had it 96-94.

Craig McEwan vs. Alexis Division

McEwan, an undefeated prospect from Edinburgh, Scotland, made quick work of Division dropping him just 1:49 into the first round.

Michael Dallas vs. Terrance Jett

The 22-year-old Dallas outpointed the Las Vegas journeyman 40-35, 40-35 (twice) in their junior welterweight bout.

Juan Dominguez vs. Ramon Flores

Dominguez made short work of Flores, flooring him by TKO in the first round.

Rico Ramos vs. Gino Escamilla

Ramos opened the show with a victory by unanimous decision to keep his perfect 9-0 record intact.

Prefight

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Former heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson attends the Winky Wright-Paul Williams fight at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.

HBO better hope more people are watching its boxing telecast tonight at home than are showing up inside Mandalay Bay.

Maybe 1,000 people are inside of the Event Center with less than hour to go before HBO's coverage kicks in for a heavyweight battle between current NABF champ Chris Arreola and Jameel McCline.

A big black curtain has been put up in the back and is cut down the arena's capacity considerably.

The main event between Winky Wright, who is making his return to the ring for the first time in almost two years, and Paul Williams looks entertaining enough on paper.

The two fighters, who are among the most avoided in the sport, have differing styles that seems to make the match-up an exciting one.

The six-foot-2 Williams (36-1, 27 KOs) is more offensive, while the former junior middle weight champ Wright (51-4-1, 25 KOs) relies on his defense and timing.

A couple of media outlets reported late in the week that less than 2,000 tickets have been sold. So far that estimate seems completely accurate.

However, that doesn't necessarily mean the event is a bust. The live fights are being packaged with two other programs on the giant TV network.

HBO is debuting its documentary, "Thrilla In Manila," about the legendary rivalry between heavyweight boxers Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali.

Following that is the first installment of “Pacquiao/Hatton 24/7,” HBO's award-winning all-access series that takes viewers inside the training camps ofreigning pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao and his British counterpart Ricky Hatton leading up to their May 2 showdown.

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