Unlike some boxing fans and experts, I'm not ready to write off Paul Williams just yet.

Yes, he received a gift via a 12-round majority decision victory over Erislandy Lara at Boardwalk Hall's Adrian Phillips Ballroom. The sparse crowd of 2,176 was justified in showering the ring with boos over the decision. Most ringside observers, including myself (116-114), had Lara winning the fight.

Williams did not look good for most of the fight, or afterward for that matter. He received stitches for a cut above his left eye and also had a bloody nose and lower lip. Lara's face wasn't exactly unblemished, however. He endured his share of bruises and sported a golf-ball sized lump on his left temple the conjured images of Hasim Rahman against Evander Holyfield in Atlantic City nine years ago.

To suggest Williams should retire is ludicrous. Last night was not Arturo Gatti-Alfonso Gomez, folks. Let's see him fight Lara again or maybe have that third go-round with Sergio Martinez before we start writing about his demise.

If he loses a rematch against Lara or gets hammered by Martinez (whom Williams beat the fight time they met), then maybe it will be time to suggest he step away.

Until then, let's give him a break.

***

Williams-Lara capped an extraordinary night of boxing in Atlantic City. Both world title fights were exciting for different reasons.

WBC featherweight champion Jhonny Gonzalez delivered a brutal beating to Tomas Villa before finally using a body shot - the most under-utilized weapon in boxing - to score a fourth-round TKO.

The most shocking end to a bout came in the Rico Ramos-Akifumi Shimoda WBA super-bantamweight title fight. Ramos was trailing badly after six rounds before flattening Shimoda with a left hook in the seventh that produced a roar from the stands.

Too bad there weren't many fans there to roar. Given the quality of fights, the number of empty seats was disappointing.

 

 

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