Former World Champion Paul Williams Paralyzed After Motorcycle Accident
Paul “The Punisher” Williams was preparing for one of the biggest fights of his career when he signed on the dotted line to face Saul “Canelo” Alvarez last week. Williams was thought to be a huge challenge for Alvarez, thanks not only to The Punisher’s high-volume punching but also because of his 6’2″ frame and 82″ reach. Anyone that has faced the former WBO welterweight champion knows that Williams (41-2, 27 KOs) is as difficult a draw as they come.
Unfortunately, a tragic motorcycle accident early Sunday morning has taken away Williams’ opportunity to fight Canelo, and will likely keep him away from the sport he loves for the rest of his life. The 30-year-old was allegedly speeding on his modified sports motorcycle in Marietta, GA whenattempted to swerve out of the way of one vehicle but was unable to keep from hitting the embankment. Once he collided with the embankment, Williams was thrown from his motorcycle and landed on his back. The accident resulted in Williams severely injuring his spinal column and paralyzed the former world champion from the waist down. Surgery was performed on Tuesday to stabilize the uninjured part of the spine but the damage was already done.
George Peterson, Williams’ manager, trainer and father figure spoke to ESPN about the devastating injury that has ended Williams’ career.
“They’re saying he won’t walk again or box again,” said Peterson, who flew to Atlanta from Washington, D.C., where they were training for Williams’ next fight, on Sunday. “Paul is in denial right now. It’s been that way with him. You tell him he can’t or won’t do something, and he wants to prove you different. So whatever the doctors say, he’s not listening. But they say that (walking and boxing) is not going to happen.”
Williams’ career was highlighted by victories over the likes of Sergio Martinez, Antonio Margarito, and Winky Wright. He has won both the WBO welterweight and light middleweight title. His freakish physical advantages made him a tough draw for any fighter and he rarely had a boring moment in the ring. It is an unfortunate incident that apparently hasn’t fully set in on Williams yet.
“He’s telling jokes and saying if he doesn’t box again, he’ll do stand-up comedy. He’s in good spirits but he is also in denial,” Peterson said. “But he’s coherent. I had an excellent conversation with him. When I walked in the door (on Sunday) about 5:30 in the afternoon, he said he’d be ready to go back to camp on Monday. I guess I’m in denial, too, because I have seen him overcome so much adversity before and come back. We’ll pray about the situation.”