Fresh off of his dominant victory by eight-round decision against veteran Dennis Sharpe last Saturday night on the Victor Ortiz-Andre Berto card at MGM Grand Theater at Foxwoods, IBF #6-rated junior middleweight Deandre “The Bull” Latimore (22-3, 17 KOs) has targeted Paul “The Punisher” Williams for a summer showdown, predicting a career-defining win by knockout for himself.
Williams (39-2, 27 KOs), once known as the most avoided man in boxing, reportedly needs a solid opponent for his July 9 return on HBO, in which he will attempt to rebound from his devastating Knockout of the Year loss last November to Sergio Martinez. Latimore is more than up to filling that slot if Williams is truly serious.
“I will knockout Paul Williams,” Latimore confidently forecasted. “I take nothing away from him. He’s still one of the best fighters in the world but I’m near my prime and still getting better every day. It’s time for me to break through and beating Williams on HBO is the way to do that. I think me and Williams makes for a great TV fight, one that fans want to see, and it should be easy to make, too.
"I’m looking for a big opportunity on one of the major networks to showcase the new, complete Deadre Latimore. Williams says he is the most avoided fighter in boxing. Well, I’m not avoiding him, and he needs to put up or shut up. Let’s do it!”
St. Louis-bred Latimore, who now lives in Las Vegas, stopped Sechew Powell (23-1) for his signature victory to date, nearly three years ago by seventh-round technical knockout, setting the stage for an All-St. Louis title fight April 24, 2009 between Latimore and Cory Spinks for the vacant IBF strap.
Spinks (36-5) won a controversial 12-round split decision (115-112, 113-114, 112-115) and two fights later in a rematch, Latimore dropped a 12-round majority decision to Powell in an IBF title eliminator. Powell, as the No. 1 contender, is now set to challenge IBF champion Cornelius “K9” Bundrage on June 25, ironically, right in Latimore’s hometown of St. Louis.
Latimore is co-promoted by Rumble Time Promotions and DiBella Entertainment.
“We know we have a finished Deandre Latimore,” Rumble Time Promotions President and CEO Steven Smith noted. “He went through a lot of trials and errors, but he’s with the right trainer now, Ray Franklin, who was Kenny Adams’ assistant when he trained Latimore. When Deandre turned pro, he had that big punch, but not a lot of movement.
"Now, he does it all using jabs, angles and defense with a lot of movement and, as the boxing world knows, he can flat-out punch. He’s also in the best cardio shape of his life because of Ray. When Deandre knocked down Spinks in the first round, he faded in the later rounds, but he doesn’t have that problem anymore. Ray absorbed everything when he worked with Adams and strength and conditioning has always been his major strength.
“Power and movement is why Deandre will beat Paul Williams. It is the same combination that Sergio Martinez used to knockout Williams. I think we’ll do the same thing with the same result. Paul Williams wasn’t just knocked out in his last fight, he was demolished, and we think he’s mentally done. A fighter never gets over something like that. As soon as he feel’s Deandre’s power, he will fold-up again. If Williams fails to accept our challenge, we’ll fight Erislandy Lara any place, anytime.”
The 25-year-old Latimore pitched a complete shutout against the battle-tested Sharpe, winning each of the eight rounds on all three judges’ scorecards by identical scores of 80-72. From start to finish, the stylish southpaw repeatedly displayed his full arsenal of punishing punches landing on Sharpe’s head and body, ranging from left upper cuts to right hooks and everything in between. Before entering the ring to fight Latimore, Sharpe had fought some of the top, young 154-pounders in the world such as Andy Lee, Pawel Wolak, Giovanni Lorenzo and Peter Quillin.
“I give myself an A+ grade for my last fight,” Latimore added. “I did everything we had worked on in training camp. I wanted to show HBO and everybody else what I can do; not only can I knockout people, I can box, move, not get hit and still be punishing. Paul Williams will find that out for himself if he fights me July 9th.”