Quintana seeks another "lucky" break
By Lyle Fitzsimmons,
Contributing Boxing Editor
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
For those claiming Carlos Quintana's victory over Paul Williams was as much a product of Williams' poor focus as Quintana's superior prowess, trainer Jose Bonilla has a one-word answer:
Or, if you prefer...foolishness.
"I was down there in Puerto Rico when he was training, and we'd see him running every morning and working hard and getting ready," Bonilla said in a Thursday afternoon FitzHitz interview.
"They may be saying that, but I don't believe it's true. If he hadn't been in good shape the first time, it wouldn't have been that close. Carlos would have knocked him out."
Quintana gets a chance to back his corner man's sentiment Saturday night, when he faces the ex-champion in a rematch for the WBO belt Williams surrendered by unanimous decision on Feb. 9 in California.
The return bout takes place at Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Conn., as part of a championship doubleheader on Showtime that also features a WBC super welterweight title match between incumbent Vernon Forrest and reality TV alumnus Sergio Mora.
Carlos Quintana gets a chance to back his corner man's sentiment Saturday night.
The broadcast begins at 9 p.m.
And, in Bonilla's mind, the acclaim for Quintana should follow soon after.
"They may think Carlos was lucky, but he will prove that he's one of the best welterweights in the world," he said. "He's a lot stronger this time, and I wouldn't be surprised at all if he knocks this guy out."
Most would have expected a similar fate for Quintana the first time around.
Beaten badly by Miguel Cotto in a try for the vacant WBA crown just 15 months earlier, the Puerto Rican southpaw was lightly regarded when he stepped in after Williams' planned unification bout with then-IBF champion Kermit Cintron was scuttled by injury.
He'd fought just once after the Cotto loss, stopping journeyman Christopher Henry in four rounds on the Taylor-Pavlik I undercard at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. Williams, meanwhile, was defending for the first time since beating Antonio Margarito in suburban Los Angeles in July.
Quintana started quickly and hurt Williams early, then survived a late rally to sweep the scorecards by counts of 116-112, 116-112 and 115-113, on the California turf the previously unbeaten champion had called home for seven of his preceding 10 fights.
Williams entered the initial fight as a heavy favorite and maintains that status this time around in spite of the first result, coming in as a 9-to-5 choice to win by decision and an 11-to-5 bet to score a stoppage, according to World Sports Exchange -- www.wsex.com.
Quintanas odds sit at 3-to-1 for a decision and 5-to-1 to win by KO, TKO or disqualification.
"I'm sure they're going to try some different things. Maybe he'll be quicker or maybe he'll try to have more of a defense for Carlos' left hand," Bonilla said. "But we're working on some things, too. We'll be fighting him round by round and fighting a smart fight, moving side to side like the first time.
"I'm not sure Williams can do all that much that's different. He can't really change what he is. He comes forward and stays busy. He doesn't really throw a jab. He could try to box more, but that's not really what he's about when he fights. We know his strengths. We're working on his weaknesses."
FitzHitz says: Quintana by decision.
* * * * * * *
HBO throws its cable conglomerate hat into the ring as well on Saturday, with its broadcast of Kelly Pavlik's initial WBC/WBO middleweight title defense against unheralded Welsh import Gary Lockett.
Pavlik won the belts with a seventh-round TKO of Taylor in the aforementioned New Jersey main event, then downed Taylor by unanimous decision in a 164-pound catch weight rematch in February in Las Vegas.
Lockett is 30-1 with 21 knockouts and 14 consecutive wins, but has never beaten a highly-regarded contender and has never fought on this side of the Atlantic.
Nonetheless, outspoken trainer Enzo Calzaghe is expecting big things while directing venom at Pavlik's trainer, Jack Loew.
"Lesson No. 1, Jack, is don't count your chickens before they've hatched," Calzaghe said. "I find it disrespectful that they are talking as if Gary is just a stepping stone for Pavlik, but Gary is going to have them eating their words.
"Loew has already insulted my training methods by saying that I teach my fighters to slap and now they are ignoring Gary's credentials. Well, on Sunday morning they are going to be wondering where it all went wrong."
Pavlik is 33-0 with 29 knockouts.
Sharing the Boardwalk Hall bill with Pavlik-Lockett is a WBO junior featherweight bout between champion Daniel Ponce De Leon -- making his seventh title defense -- and No. 1 contender Juan Manuel Lopez.
The HBO broadcast begins at 10 p.m.
* * * * * * *
Making it a championship quintet on Saturday night in Venezuela is the WBA super bantamweight title bout between incumbent Celestino Caballero and No. 13-ranked challenger Lorenzo Parra from Centro Olimpico in San Juan de Los Morros.
A native of Panama, Caballero is making the fourth defense of a crown he wrested from Somsak Sithchatchawal by third-round TKO in October 2006.
He improved to 28-2 and scored career knockout No. 19 in his most recent outing, an eighth-round stoppage of Mauricio Pastrana in December.
Parra, meanwhile, was 25-0 and making his sixth defense of his WBA flyweight title when he was upset in three rounds by challenger Takefumi Sakata -- whom he'd already beaten twice as a pro -- in March 2007.
He's fought just once since, defeating Benjamin Rivas in two rounds in November.
Elsewhere on the week's title schedule is yet another doubleheader, set for Thursday in Tokyo.
Japanese native Hozumi Hasegawa risks his WBC bantamweight belt for the sixth time when he faces Uruguayan import Cristian Faccio at the Nihon Budokan.
Hasegawa won his title with a decision over Veeraphol Sahaprom in 2005 and has since scored two knockouts -- including a ninth-round TKO of Sahaprom -- and three decisions in five defenses.
Faccio, who's won four straight fights since a KO loss to Sergio Carlos Santillan 14 months ago, has never competed outside South America.
Also on the card is a WBA super featherweight bout between unbeaten defending champion Edwin Valero and No. 7 contender Takehiro Shimada.
Valero, who's making his fourth defense, got up off the canvas en route to stopping Vicente Mosquera in 10 rounds to win the title in August 2006.
He last defended in December with a third-round TKO of Zaid Zavaleta at the Plaza de Toros in Cancun, Mexico.
Shimada, a Tokyo native, improved to 22-3-1 with a third-round stoppage of Petchthongkam Sithprakaifah at Korakeun Hall in November.
He's 14-0-1 since a November 2000 loss to Rick Yoshimura for the Japanese lightweight title.
Lyle Fitzsimmons is a full voting member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He provides 'In The Ring' boxing commentary for Speeding Bullet Network (speedingbulletnetwork.com) and can be contacted via e-mail at email@example.com.