Of the 14 fights Humberto Savigne has logged as a pro, 11 have concluded before the final bell (including two losses). So one need not possess a Ph.D. to decode the Cuba native’s game plan heading into tonight's 175-pound battle with Thomas Williams Jr.
Indeed, there’s little doubt that Humberto Savigne (12-2, 9 KOs) is coming to fight at the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi (Spike TV, 9 p.m. ET/PT).
Williams’ response? Bring it on.
“I think he will try to be aggressive,” Williams says. “But when I touch him, his whole game plan will change.”
Thomas Williams Jr. (18-1, 12 KOs) will end an 11-month ring absence against Savigne, having last fought in Chicago on December 12, when he won all but one round in a 10-round unanimous decision over Michael Gbenga.
The victory followed Williams’ surprising fifth-round TKO loss to former champion Gabriel Campillo in April 2014—the only time the “Top Dog” has tasted defeat in his five-year pro career. In that contest, Williams suffered a cut over his left eye that eventually led to the stoppage.
That setback aside, Williams—like Savigne—has displayed quite a bit of finishing power, with two-thirds of his victories coming by way of knockout. That includes a sensational stretch from May 2012 to March 2013, when the 28-year-old southpaw stopped nine of 10 opponents, including six in a row at one point.
Williams understands that, to assure he’s the last man standing in this matchup of 6-foot-1 brawlers, he’ll have to set, dictate and sustain the pace—and use the 36-year-old Savgine’s aggression against him.
“I plan on going in there and just letting him make his own mistakes,” Williams says. “But I definitely think my knockout streak can pick back up with this fight.”
At the same time, Williams must also be mindful of defensive lapses, such as the kind that nearly cost him in a January 2014 victory over Cornelius White. Shortly after the opening bell of that bout, Williams floored White, then got reckless and hit the canvas himself before rising and finishing off White for a thrilling first-round TKO.
Williams insists he’s since buttoned up his defense. Still, Savigne plans to eye Williams like a lion waiting for his prey to get careless. And if that happens, Savigne, who knocked out four of five opponents prior to his TKO loss to then-unbeaten Craig Baker in Feburary, plans to pounce.
“If Williams lets his guard down against me, I will knock him out,” Savigne says. “I’m not calling for a knockout: We’re ready for whatever. But this can absolutely end in a knockout in my favor.”
To prepare for his opponent’s southpaw style, Savigne has brought into his camp former left-handed champion John David Jackson, trainer of current 175-pound titleholder Sergey Kovalev. Jackson and Derrick Santos will join Savigne’s regular cornerman, Maury Ramos.
Williams isn’t exactly convinced that Jackson will make much of a difference, saying of his opponent, “I’m not sure how he will handle my [southpaw] style."
Savigne seems unconcerned.
“I’ve seen plenty of southpaws as an amateur, so I have no fear of them,” Savigne says. “We both have something to prove, but this is a make-or-break fight for me. I’m going to leave it all on the line and make a statement, whether by knockout or decision.”
Williams is equally determined to make his own statement: that he has completely overcome his defeat to Campillo and is back in the mix in what has become a loaded 175-pound division.
“That loss is behind me, and I am focused on the task at hand,” Williams says. “Come [tonight], the world will see a rejuvenated Thomas Williams Jr.”
For complete coverage of Williams vs Savigne, be sure to check out our fight page.