Former welterweight titlist Paul Williams has been paralyzed with a prognosis to never walk again after a motorcycle accident Sunday morning in Atlanta.
According to Williams’ manager George Peterson, the accident happened at 8 a.m. when Williams was thrown from his vehicle after swerving to avoid a head-on collision.
The 30-year-old Williams was wearing a helmet but had to undergo surgery to stabilize his spinal cord. At press time, Williams is conscious but expected to remain hospitalized for the next several weeks before beginning rehabilitation.
“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 told ESPN. “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.”
The accident eliminates Williams from a lucrative contract to face undefeated Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in September at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand for the WBC light middleweight title. The championship would have been Williams’ first pay-per-view main event.
This has been a horrid holiday weekend for boxing fans. Sadly, I was just pricing my trip to Vegas for this fight yesterday here in Atlanta. Williams had a very good career with his best wins over a then feared and avoided Antonio Margarito, the rematch blowout of Carlos Quintana and the first battle with Sergio Martinez. Nonetheless, it’s a cruel fate to see his biggest chance at the spotlight against Canelo being snuffed out this way.
The only bright spot is that reportedly Williams has been very smart business-wise with the money’s he’s made thus far, so hopefully he won’t struggle in making the transition. As for the Punisher never walking again, I wouldn’t bet against him based on the heart he’s shown in the ring.