Lem's Corner: Notebook
By Lem Satterfield
George Peterson believes Paul Williams will experience the intensity of being in the ring against when junior middleweight Justin DeLoach takes on Dillon Cook in an eight round bout as part of a "ShoBox: The New Generation" quadruple header from the Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, Oklahoma on Showtime on Friday (10:30 p.m. ET/PT).
Williams, a former two-division champion known as “The Punisher,’’ will be making his debut as a trainer as he works DeLoach’s corner. Williams will work the corner from his wheelchair. He was paralyzed from the waist down in a motorcycle accident in 2012.
“I expect that once Paul’s ringside and see his fighter getting into the rhythm and slipping punches,” said Peterson, Williams’ former trainer. “You’ll see him pretty much doing the same thing – throwing and slipping punches as if it’s him in there.”
Peterson said training the 22-year-old DeLoach (13-1, 7 KOs), who lives in Augusta, Ga., and is a friend of Williams, is just what the doctor ordered for Williams.
“When Paul went back for his two-and-a-half year checkup with the doctor who did the surgery, the doctor told Paul that his healing process is beautiful but that he had to wake up the muscles that had been asleep for the past few years,” Peterson said regarding a session five months ago. “He’s got to do something on a regular basis, and I’m hoping that this is the start of something because he’s fired up, and I’m seeing a burning desire that I haven’t seen in him for a while.”
There are very few trainers in boxing with physical disabilities – most notable is Freddie Roach, who suffers from the effects of Parkinson’s. And none at the top of the sport with the type of disability that Williams has. Peterson doesn’t think it will impede Williams from doing a good job with DeLoach or any of the other boxers he decides to work with in the future.
Peterson said he and others assist in doing mitt and pad work during training to DeLoach, whose direction comes from Williams.
“Basically the whole time I trained Paul, 99 percent of the time I was in a chair. I didn’t need my legs, he needed his legs,” said Peterson. “Paul can give instructions from his wheelchair, and on fight night, I’ll be the one climbing through the ropes and Paul will be ringside giving him instructions.”
Williams admits to having shied away from previous opportunities to train boxers.
“There have been others who have asked me to train them, but I was going through my own thing, mentally, because I was a beast in the ring,” said Williams, 34, who retired with a record of 41-2 with 27 knockouts. “I’d like to apologize because it’s been tough coming to grips with the fact that I’m not going to be in the ring anymore, but I’m finally accepting this as an opportunity and I’m rolling with it.”
Williams was ringside in San Antonio for DeLoach’s last fight, a four-round unanimous decision over Santos Benavides in December with Ronnie Shields as his trainer.
“Paul was at my last fight. We were chopping it up and having a great conversation and everyone saw the great chemistry that Paul and I had,” said DeLoach, whose hometown is just over a 30-minute drive from Williams’ native Aiken, South Carolina.
“After I fought, I was getting to the point where I really needed that one-on-one training. Ronnie Shields has [champion] Jamall Charlo and other guys, so Ronnie was fine with it.”
Now that Williams has warmed to the idea of training, he’s all in and anxious to see how things go with DeLoach on Friday night.
“Stepping into the training field is going to feel good for me, but I’m a different kind of thinker who has been in there, but the game plan that me and Mr. Peterson had was different than the one we’ll be using for DeLoach. I’m going to add some ammunition to his guns, and so far, he’s listening well and he looks good. We’ll see what he really has in a real fight on (Friday).”
MARCUS BROWNE, EDWIN RODRIGUEZ TRAINING TOGETHER
Light heavyweights Edwin Rodriguez (28-1, 19 KOs) and Marcus Browne (17-0, 13 KOs) are working out together in advance of their respective fights.
Browne will face Ukrainian Radivoje Kaladjdzic (21-0, 14 KOs) at Barclays Center on the undercard of a welterweight main event featuring Errol Spence against Chris Algieri on the PBC on NBC on April 16. Rodriguez meets Thomas Williams Jr. (19-1, 13 KOs) on the undercard of a welterweight rematch between Andre Berto and Victor Ortiz at StubHub Center in Carson, California on Fox and Fox Deportes on April 30.
“Edwin’s skills are perfect for me in preparation for this Kaladjdzic kid, and I just feel like Edwin is five to 10 times better of a fighter than this kid. I feel like this is world class work right here,’’ Browne said.
“Edwin has helped me out a couple of times before, but not as consistently as we’ve been doing it this time around. When he returns to Houston, Texas, where he’s working, I’m going to try to go there with him because you can’t get any better than this. This is perfect timing for the both of us.”
Williams and Rodriguez scored dramatic victories on the same card at the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi in November.
Williams believes working with Browne will give him an advantage.
“The sparring is great because Marcus is a very talented kid,’’ Rodriguez said. “He’s the real deal -- a southpaw with a lot of speed so it’s a great experience to be able to get that type of work in. There are not that many southpaws who are at this level. I believe that Marcus has a lot more skills than Thomas Williams,” said Rodriguez.
“My last fight, I put my opponent (Michael Seals) down really early, got really careless, turned it into more of a brawl than a boxing match and I paid the price. But I got up, finished the fight and I won. I learned not to underestimate my opponent, or to get overly eager and that every fighter can be a puncher in the pros. But I think that I’m an overall better fighter than Williams, who does not seem to be able to take a good shot, and I think I’m going to knock out him out early in the fight.”
CHARLES MARTIN SET TO ‘EXPLODE’ ON ANTHONY JOSHUA
IBF heavyweight champion Charles Martin and trainer Henry Tillman have broken down video of Anthony Joshua’s seventh-round stoppage of Dillian Whyte in December. They believe they have found flaws that will help Martin prevail when he meets Joshua at the O2 Arena in London on April 9.
Joshua (15-0, 15 KOs), a British boxing gold medal winner in the 2012 Olympics, survived being rocked by a left hook in the second round before stopping Whyte with a right uppercut.
The 6-5 Martin (23-0-1, 21 KOs) is coming off a third-round TKO victory over Vyacheslav Glazkov (21-1-1, 13 KOs) to become the sixth southpaw—and third American lefty—to win a heavyweight crown.
“This is going to be, for Joshua, hands down, a much tougher matchup against Charles than it was for him against Dillian Whyte,’’ Tillman said. “If Joshua comes out there and tries to jump on Charles, I really believe Charles is going to knock him out, I really do. If not, we’ve trained for this fight to win every round. Joshua’s going to have his hands full, because we’re going to come over there and put on a good show. “
Lem Satterfield is a writer for Premier Boxing Champions. Re-use of any or all of this material must contain proper attribution that reflects that.