A Real Champ’s Comeback

By Ted Sares on September 16, 2012
A Real Champ’s Comeback
"Whether I am walking or not walking, my game ain't over until the Lord takes my life.”

“My game ain’t over. Whether I am walking or not walking, my game ain’t over until the Lord takes my life.”—Paul Williams in Showtime interview

“It (the Canelo fight) was something we needed and a fight that Paul wanted…We were definitely up for it. We knew this was the biggest fight we could get, and we were already preparing for it. We were ready for a big fight…”—George Peterson, Williams’ trainer, manager, and father figure

Some might recall that Paul “The Punisher” Williams was the original opponent for Canelo Alvarez last night, but we all know why that was not the case. On May 27, 2012, he crashed his motorcycle in Georgia on the way to the Sunday wedding of one of his brothers. He swerved to avoid a car while traveling at about 75 mph on the motorcycle and was launched 60 feet, severing his spinal cord when he landed on his back. The accident came as the likable Aiken, South Carolina native was preparing for his much-anticipated clash and solid payday against Alvarez. The accident paralyzed him from the waist down, ending his boxing career with a great 41-2 record. Amazingly, he had no broken bones and thankfully retains full movement of his upper limbs

Dan Goossen nailed it when he said: “As it relates to physical injury to one of our fighters, it’s devastating, it’s shocking, it’s going to be something hard to me to deal with…I think of Paul as always smiling, always happy, tall, lean, bad-ass out there. He was able to switch that kindness and happiness into being one of the most exciting fighters in the last 10 years.”(“Boxer Paul Williams paralyzed in motorcycle crash,” by Bob Velin, USA Today),

Paul held wins over a number of notables such as Antonio Margarito, Carlos Quintana, Shambra Mitchell, then-undefeated Walter Matthysse, Sergio Martinez, Verno Phillips, Kermit Cintron, and Winky Wright. His last fight in February 2012 was a solid win over Nobuhiro Ishida who in turn had KOd comebacking James Kirkland in 2011.

Notwithstanding his current situation, the six-feet-two inch warrior possessing genuine country charm remains extremely optimistic about life. His enthusiasm and optimism is a marked example of inspiration to all those who have talked with him.

Paul was interviewed by Showtime’s Jim Gray as part of the Saul Alvarez vs. Josesito Lopez clash. During the interview (which was taped on Friday at the MGM Grand), the ex-champion candidly discussed the accident, his ongoing recovery and his plans for the future. While some might say he is in a bit of denial, I’ll go along with Gray’s assessment to wit: “It was amazing how someone who suffered such a life-changing event was so positive and so upbeat. This interview convinced me that Paul Williams’ greatness is in his future.”

The ever-smiling Paul will always be a champion in my heart.

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Jim Gray Interviews Paul Williams Post-Motorcycle Crash

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  1. the thresher 01:08pm, 09/19/2012

    God Bless

  2. Stacy Williams 10:14am, 09/19/2012

    I won’t be able to thank you fully for the articles on your web-site. I know you’d put a lot of time and energy into all of them and hope you know how much I appreciate it. I hope I could do the same for someone else sometime.

  3. TEX HASSLER 06:35am, 09/19/2012

    Paul Williams has maintained a good attitude in spite of his obvious setback. Our hearts and prayers go out for him and his family. As Mike Casey said, “A champion’s attitude indeed.”

  4. Don from Prov 08:17am, 09/18/2012

    Like some others, I was humbled by PW’s attitude—

    He is a strong strong man.

  5. JC45 02:51pm, 09/17/2012

    Williams was always an incredibly brave fighter so Im not surprised by his positive attitude. Thanks for the read Ted. Good to know the young bloke is still fighting hard and smiling.

  6. Joe 07:13am, 09/17/2012

    That was a tough one to watch but that’s the same attitude that got him to that Championship level..  God Bless this young man and I hope he wills himself out of that chair.

  7. john coiley 01:17am, 09/17/2012

    is Paul a “better” person as a result of this tragedy? more aware of the precarious nature of life, the give and take, win and lose, it seems his attitude proves he is, and life, if not just his, but others whom he “touches” will be better for it…God Bless…

  8. Bob 06:12pm, 09/16/2012

    “My game’s not over until the Lord takes my life.”  WOW.  I always thought Paul Williams was a little overrated as a champion, but will never have such thoughts again. His attitude, positive energy and perseverance is what separates him from ordinary mortals. My guess is he walks again, and does other great things as well, either in the ring or out. This man is a champion to his core, and nothing will ever change that.

  9. andrew 06:01pm, 09/16/2012

    i’ve gotta stop complaining,i’ve gotta stop sweating the small stuff..thanks paul i’ll think of your inspiring attitude when i’m down..then i’ll brush myself off and get the f@#k up.xo

  10. the thresher 05:05pm, 09/16/2012

    The boxing community is a small one and we sometimes hate and ridicule (I’m no exception), but when one of our own meets up with tragedy, we always pull together. This is one of those times.
    God Bless you, Paul

  11. FrankinDallas 02:12pm, 09/16/2012

    My estimation of Paul went up 1000% last night. I showed that interview to my wife and she was astounded. He’s a real role model for handicapped people or ANYONE for that matter.

    He’s a champ in my book!

  12. pugknows 12:00pm, 09/16/2012

    Well done, Ted. well done!

  13. John Howard 11:57am, 09/16/2012

    So true, Mike.  Nice piece Ted.

  14. Mike Casey 10:59am, 09/16/2012

    A champion’s attitude indeed, Ted. Many other men would have been permanently broken by such a cruel twist of fate.