Paul Williams vs. Erislandy Lara
2011-07-09 : Paul Williams 153½ lbs beat Erislandy Lara 153 lbs by MD in round 12 of 12
- Location: Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA
- Referee: Samuel Viruet
- Judge: Donald Givens 116-114
- Judge: Hilton Whitaker III 115-114
- Judge: Al Bennett 114-114
- Paul Williams 39-2 (27 KOs) vs. Erislandy Lara 15-0-1 (10 KOs)
- Williams entered as the # 4 middleweight in the world according to The Ring Magazine. Lara, a 2.8/1 betting underdog , was unranked by the same publication. 
- Bout was a WBC Middleweight Title eliminator.
- Williams and HBO originally agreed to a main-event bout with Nobuhiro Ishida, who was coming of a big upset win over then-undefeated James Kirkland. After receiving criticism for the matchup, however, HBO withdrew its approval. 
- Williams entered the fight coming off a brutal 2nd round knockout loss to Sergio Gabriel Martinez. Lara entered having been held in his previous bout to an upset draw by fringe contender Carlos Molina.
- Williams rehydrated to 170 lbs. and Lara to 160 lbs.
- Lara worked with trainer Ronnie Shields for eight weeks leading up to the bout. Shields, however, was not in Lara's corner for the bout as he was with Kermit Cintron who had a previously scheduled bout on the same night.
- Prior to the bout a memorial ten count was held for the recently deceased Bouie Fisher, Billy Costello and George Kimball.
- HBO's Harold Lederman scored the bout 117-111 in favor of Lara.
- Following the bout the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board conducted a full review with all three judges and although they did not find any evidence of fraud or intentional wrongdoing, they did suspend all three judges indefinitely pending additional training. 
Williams came out throwing his rangy jab and straight left hand. Lara, despite a big size deficit, was able to land effectively and caught Williams with a par of nice power left hands. Lara was warned near the end of the round for a punch that landed to the back of Williams's head. Williams had a stronger opening to the 2nd round stepping up his aggression. Lara continued to fire the straight left hand down the middle with some success. Williams was warned in the final minute for holding. In Round 3, Williams outpaced his opponent and came forward. Lara, who was outpunched statistically, likely landed the cleaner shots. Action was paused early in Round 4 as a punch from Williams strayed low. In the 5th, a clash of heads opened a cut above the left eye of Paul Williams and a large knot appeared to Lara's left temple. Williams continued to come forward through the remainder of the bout and threw a higher volume of punches but landed infrequently. Lara, who threw less than Williams, landed at a higher rate and battered Williams repeatedly and round after round with the overhand left.
- "This fight has taken some real years off of Paul Williams life. This is the type of fight that causes real problems when a guy leaves the game." - Roy Jones Jr.
- "This is what's wrong with boxing... Paul Williams knows he didn't win that decision. If that was Sergio Martinez again we'd be in the hospital right now with Paul Williams." - Roy Jones Jr. on the judges' decisions
- "Lara's right there with anyone in the 154lb. divison... That stinks... This decision is indescribably bad. This is an incompetent decision in my opinion." - Max Kellerman
- "I don't know how in the world Paul Williams won the decision... It's a joke. Paul Williams thought he lost the fight." - Bob Papa
- "They brought in three judges with very little experience... as long as they keep using inexperienced judges in big fights you're going to keep getting bad decisions." - HBO's Harold Lederman
- "The New Jersey State Athletic Control Board was responsible for assigning all three judges who scored this contest and decided the outcome. At the conclusion of the contest, this agency had concerns about the final scores. Due to these concerns we decided to conduct a full review of the scoring. As part of this review, the NJSACB called in all three judges to our Trenton offices and conducted a full analysis of the scoring of each round. Davis said that the review of the fight was complete and the NJSACB "has not found any evidence of bias, fraud, corruption or incapacity on the part of any of the judges. However, we remain unsatisfied with the scoring of the contest even after hearing the explanations from the judges. The NJSACB does not have the legal authority under these circumstances to invalidate the official result. This is due to the fact that all scoring is a matter of subjective judgment. In a similar fashion we cannot mandate a rematch. However, our opinion is that a rematch may be warranted. This agency has placed all three judges on indefinite suspension. Further, all three judges will be required to undergo additional training prior to their return to professional boxing judging." - New Jersey commissioner Aaron M. Davis in a letter to Golden Boy Promotions and Dan Goossen