May 28th, 2012 By Pedro Fernandez

Paul "The Punisher" Williams


San Francisco, CA- Last night I got the call about the death of Johnny Tapia. Pronounced dead at least four times prior because of Drug overdoses, I thought to myself that Johnny’s “death wish” had finally been fulfilled. This morning, I have yet another tragedy to chronicle, and this while it’s not the end of Paul Williams’ life, his days of being a prizefighter or even walking again appear to be over. Paul was once the most avoided man in boxing until late 2010 when World middleweight (160 lb) champ Sergio Martinez knocked him out in such a devastating manner that the tall skinny kid from Georgia looked like he had fallen out of an airplane without a parachute and survived.


Five years ago earlier this month, Diego Corrales was killed on a motorcycle in Las Vegas, NV. In 1986, James Schuler, a once beaten middleweight contender, and just one week removed from getting drilled in one by Thomas Hearns was killed on a bike in Philadelphia. A fortnight ago, highly touted 168 lb. title contender Anthony Durrell escaped a motorcycle accident with only a severely broken leg and arm. The jury is out as to whether he can ever fight again.


Today, Paul Williams, who was set to fight Saul Alvarez in September, was hurt so seriously in a motorcycle wreck that not only is his boxing career history, Dr.’s say he is “totally paralyzed.” The only glimmer of hope is that Williams might be able to move his upper limbs, but as for walking, the last walk he apparently made as a human being was the walk he made to the motorcycle before mounting it. Although it is not known as to whom is at fault in the accident, I fault first the boxer himself, and then his management and promoter.


Most Major League Baseball players have a “clause” in their contract which prohibits them, at least on paper, from riding motorized bikes. Rarely is it the occasional guy who takes his bike out on the dirt roads that gets hurt or killed, it’s when you enter the concrete jungle and challenge automobiles for space on the road where the problems and tragedies occur. Emanuel Steward, trainer and TV analyst, told me flat out that he never wanted any of his guys on motorcycles, “But sometimes contract clauses and all the warnings in the world are ignored by fighters, some whom feel they are invincible.


After the loss to Martinez, Williams was out punched and out fought by Cuban Erislandy Lara. The decision was so putrid that the New Jersey Athletic Control Board banned the three judges involved and they haven’t worked a fight since that in July 2011. The decision was akin to three masked gunmen entering a bank and emptying the safe of all of its cash. Williams, although never entertaining the thought of a Lara rematch, for it appeared obvious that they could fight on 10 occasions and Lara would’ve beaten him 11 times, in February faced Japan’s Nobuhiro Ishida, whose claim to fame which drilling soft-chinned slugger James Kirkland in the blink of an eye.


Although the match wasn’t much of a fight per se, this seeing Williams shut the Japanese fighter out an all three scorecards, thus the 120-108 scores thrice, I remember Williams wearing a protective cup so high that he could have used it as a bib while eating his pre-fight meal. All kidding aside, the paralysis that Williams is suffering from is a result of several injuries to the spinal cord, one source said had been severed.


I know the late Christopher Reeves and his beautiful and now deceased wife spent millions of their own money in starting a foundation that sought to repair severe spinal cord injuries, still there has been little progress made in this area of medicine. In closing, Paul Williams was a gutsy fighter with a lanky torso that at one point challenged everybody from 147 to 160 lbs. His biggest win was a UD 12 over Antonio Margarito in 2007.


From that point forward, getting Williams fights was not an easy task. He fought four times in 2008, in two contests, losing controversially to Carlos Quintana, before beating him convincingly in a rematch. But he only fought twice in 2010, this because Kelly Pavlik, then middleweight champion pulled out of three, if not four fights with Williams, thus Pavlik instead fought and lost to Martinez who “chilled” Williams with one punch in November 2010. The fight with Lara was his only ring appearance in 2011 and the February fight with Nobuhiro Ishida will turn out to be the last pugilistic contest of his life.


Wishing and Hoping,” a top ten record by the iconic British singer and actress Petula Clark in the 1960s, is the only thing boxing fans and Williams’ family members can do. Truly a sad ending to what was once one of the most promising boxing careers of recent times. His final record is 41-2, 27 KOs.

Pedro Fernandez


  1. They say there are two types of Motorcycle Riders, those who’ve gone down and those who are going to go down… This is why I will never ride.

    Jack Dunne on May 28th, 2012 at 3:49 PM
  2. Damn…damn!!! A career that ends too soon and a life that will forever be changed. Paul, keep your head up son. “YOU KNOW WHAT I’M SAYIN'”

    La Migra on May 28th, 2012 at 4:17 PM
  3. “Wishin’ and Hopin'” was by Dusty Springfield, not Petula Clark.

    Toky Rosenthal on May 28th, 2012 at 4:40 PM
  4. Toke, thanks. BUT Petula Clark did it as well, including when I saw her in concert. Here it is.

    Pedro Fernandez on May 28th, 2012 at 5:53 PM
  5. Well said, Jack. Any consistent rider will see taste the ground at some point. Not if but just a matter of when. Its also said that motorcycle riders get no respect on the roads but more times than not they’re driving very erratic. Swerving in and out of lanes and driving just very carelessly if not downright arrogantly. Anyhow, wow, either way, poor Paul Williams! Very sad indeed.

    Wilhelm on May 28th, 2012 at 7:08 PM
  6. I had a gsr 600 for a few years, and eventually got rid of it. . . I was either going to kill myself, or get a ticket for going like double the speed limit, or some kind of reckless driving for doing wheelies, etc and lose my license, and go to jail. . . I can’t resist the urge. . . I got the need for speed. . . Also, I do trust myself more than I trust other drivers. . YOu just never know. . .

    I now just ride my dirt bike (klx250), and made it street legal. . . It can get up to 75-80. . . But it’s so light, you don’t want to ride it on the interstate (lol wind from passing cars blows you all around). . . So I just ride it around town, or back country roads whne I do take it on the road. . . I’m WAY more of an “off-road” man anyway. . .

    NOTE: It sounds like Williams was not even at fault, though. . . SO once again, it’s the other drivers I’m always more worried about. . .

    GMAN on May 28th, 2012 at 8:52 PM
  7. I wish him a quick recovery.

    KP on May 28th, 2012 at 10:27 PM
  8. How was the first Quintana fight controversial? It was a very easy fight to score. Clear victory for Quintana.

    Emilio on May 28th, 2012 at 11:32 PM
  9. Some people didn’t think Quintana won, that’s why I broached tthe subject. Thanks

    Pedro Fernandez on May 29th, 2012 at 7:08 AM
  10. So sorry PW. Thank god ur alive and got the heart u have I know ull fight this and overcome!!!!!!

    Makiveli on May 29th, 2012 at 9:39 AM
  11. Pedro,
    What’s up with all this Boxing tragedy? Paul’s best days may have been behind him, but no one should have to suffer that fate. Jack Dunne is right about the 2 types of Bike riders. Pro athletes should not risk their careers and lives on a crotch rocket.


    SKERGE on May 29th, 2012 at 12:34 PM
  12. Julio Gonzalez, ex light-heavy champ, recently passed for the same reason…

    Jesus de Calecia on May 29th, 2012 at 1:04 PM
  13. Forgot about Julio. Thanks

    Pedro Fernandez on May 29th, 2012 at 1:16 PM
  14. I remember when James “Black Gold” Shuler went down, because within the SAME week, highly touted Philly light heavy prospect Andre “thee” Prophet got killed on a bike.

    David in Dunedin on May 30th, 2012 at 7:59 AM
  15. Edwin Valero may also be a death due to motorcycles. His mood swings may have been the result of the head trauma and brain surgery.

    Emilio on May 30th, 2012 at 11:11 AM
  16. So sad to hear about Paul’s accident. This guy gave us so many great moments. I just hope that he’ll recover and be able to walk.

    todaline on May 31st, 2012 at 8:29 AM
  17. Damn shame. A real good boxer.

    RMS on June 2nd, 2012 at 7:22 PM

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