Boxer Paul Williams, who recently signed a lucrative contract to fight Saul (Canelo) Alvarez on Sept. 15 in Las Vegas, was seriously injured from a motorcycle accident near Atlanta. Preliminary reports said the fighter is paralyzed from the waist down— after crashing the bike early Sunday morning— and his career is over.
Nicknamed the "Punisher" because of his incredible work-rate, Williams is scheduled to have surgery on Wednesday to stabilize his spinal column— which suffered traumatic damage, according to his longtime manager George Peterson.
The two-time welterweight champion is facing the career-ending injury after he reportedly swerved to avoid contact with a vehicle after driving back from his brother's bachelor party around 7 a.m. on Sunday.
Peterson said Williams flew about "65 feet into the air." "He was doing about 75 mph on the motorcycle. When he came down on his back he severed his spinal cord. He's paralyzed from the waist down. In terms of him walking again... that will never happen."
The 30-year old Williams, who was scheduled to fight the Mexican star and the WBF super-welterweight champion, Alvarez, at the MGM Grand has no feeling below his waist another Williams associate, promoter Dan Goosen, said on Monday.
Asked if he had been told if his left-handed fighter would ever get into the ring again, Goosen replied, "Our thoughts aren't there right now. He's undergoing this procedure, and we're hoping he can get back on his feet after that. That's all we're hoping for."
The 6-foot-1 Williams (41-2, 27 knockouts) prided himself on being an active punching southpaw who could fight anywhere between welter and middle weights.
Williams first rose to prominence after beating Antonio Margarito in 2007 before losing a surprising decision to Carlos Quintana. He stopped Quintana in the first round of their rematch. His career dipped after he was knocked out by current middleweight champion Sergio Martinez in 2010 after winning their first fight.
The fight with with Alvarez was highly anticipated and Williams hoped it would get him on the comeback road. For Alvarez, it was to be the Mexican's first pay-per-view show. Williams got the Alvarez fight over James Kirkland.
Peterson said he had a number of conversations with Williams about the dangers of riding his motorcycle before the crash but claims his fighter knew of the dangers.
"It's the same old Paul," Peterson said. "As I was walking out his door [to talk with reporters], he said, 'Believe me, if I don't ever box again, I'm going to do some stand-up comedy.' He's not suffering."