May 28th, 2012 By Pedro FernandezON EVE OF JOHNNY TAPIA’S DEATH, PAUL WILLIAMS PARALYZED!
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.
MOTORCYCLES & BOXERS HAVE NASTY RELATIONSHIPS
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.
PAUL WILLIAMS ALIVE, BUT HE’LL NEVER 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.
RIDING A MOTORCYCLE LIKE JUGGLING SWORDS
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.
WILLIAMS BOXING CAREER AT A GLIMPSE!
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.
LAST THING I REMEMBER WAS THE HIGH CUP PAUL WAS WEARING
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.
SPINAL CORD INJURIES NOT SOMETHING YOU RECOVER FROM
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.
NOBODY, ESPECIALLY PAVLIK WANTED TO FIGHT PAUL!
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.
LIKE THE PETULA CLARK SONG!
“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.