Thomas Williams Jr. said he wanted to be the one to dethrone lineal 175-pound champion Adonis Stevenson. On Saturday night, the “Top Dog” certainly proved he’s worthy of a shot at the top of the division.
Williams, a 28-year-old from Fort Washington, Maryland, stunned Edwin Rodriguez with a monster left hand in the final seconds of the second round to score a knockout in their scheduled 10-round fight from the StubHub Center in Carson, California.
With the win, Thomas Williams Jr. put himself in position to challenge Stevenson, perhaps as early as this summer.
“Adonis here we come—we already got our passports, baby! See you soon,” an excited Williams said after upsetting Rodriguez. “I want the title—absolutely I want to fight Adonis Stevenson next. He’s the champ, and I want his belt.
“This fight was something to catapult my career, and I made a big statement.”
Did he ever.
There were a couple of moments early on when Williams (20-1, 14 KOs) looked like he’d finish the fight in Round 1, connecting with some strong right hands that hurt Rodriguez (28-2, 19 KOs) in the waning moments of the stanza.
The 30-year-old Rodriguez, who was looking for his fifth straight victory and fourth consecutive stoppage, regrouped to control the start of the second round. But that momentum was short-lived, as big rights from Williams once again found their mark toward the middle of Round 2.
Then as the frame was about to come to a close, Williams crushed Rodriguez with a monster left hook that landed flush. Rodriguez crumpled to the canvas as the bell rang, and although he beat the count, referee Wayne Hedgpeth concluded the former title challenger was unfit to keep fighting.
Rodriguez disagreed with the stoppage.
“I thought I could have continued. I didn’t know what the referee saw, but I could have kept going,” Rodriguez said. “I didn’t fight the fight I was supposed to. I was supposed to go in there and box, and I didn’t do it.
“I should’ve stuck to my game plan, and that’s my fault.”
Both Rodriguez and Williams had to climb up from the canvas from first-round knockdowns in separate bouts on the same card in November. And both fighters—along with Fox guest commentator and 147-pound champion Danny Garcia—predicted their bout would not go the distance.
It didn’t even come close.
“I countered him and hurt him with every punch,” Williams said. “I wanted to fight fire with fire and step to him and show these people that I’m a force to be reckoned with— that I’m one of the top light heavyweights in the world.”
For complete coverage of Rodriguez vs. Williams, head over to our fight page.
Unbeaten 122-pound contender Jorge Lara demolishes ex-champ Fernando Montiel
Anyone questioning undefeated Jorge Lara’s pedigree can do so no longer.
A 25-year-old native of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, Lara destroyed former three-division champ Fernando Montiel via devastating first-round knockout. After dropping Montiel (54-6-2, 39 KOs) three times in the first 90 seconds of the fight, Lara (28-0-2, 20 KOs) finished his fellow Mexican with a brutal short, right hook that left Montiel face down under the ropes.
While Lara has now stopped eight of his last 10 opponents, Montiel has lost consecutive fights for the first time in his 19-year pro career.