Paul “The Punisher” Williams, a two-time welterweight boxing world champion, is paralyzed from the waist down after a motorcycle accident in which his spinal cord was 90 percent severed.
Williams, 30, will have surgery today to stabilize the upper half of his spine and doctors said he probably won’t walk again, according to Dan Goossen, his promoter.
“This man has got a bigger fight ahead of him than he ever had in the ring,” Goossen said in a telephone interview. “He’s handling it the way he did when he prepared for fights inside the ring -- determination and the positive mental aspect that he’s going to overcome everything.”
The accident occurred two days ago outside Atlanta, where Williams was to attend the wedding of one of his two brothers.
Williams moved to avoid a car drifting into his lane driving the same direction and then had to swerve across the roadway to miss hitting another car head on, George Peterson, his trainer and manager, said in an interview with boxingscene.com.
Williams, who was wearing a protective helmet, went down an embankment on the motorcycle, flew into the air and landed on his back. His spinal cord was 90 percent severed, leaving him without movement from the waist down, Peterson told the website.
“He’s in good spirits and a positive mindset,” said Goossen, who has promoted Williams’s fights for seven years. “What that reflects to me is exactly the type of person he was preparing for fights and leading into fights; he always had a smile on his face, always happy, always respectful.”
The 6-foot-1 Williams had a 41-2 record with 27 knockouts and won the welterweight title for the first time in July 2007 by beating Antonio Margarito. Williams lost to Carlos Quintana in his first title defense in February 2008 and then regained the belt four months later by stopping Quintana in the first round.
In his most recent fight, Williams scored a 12-round unanimous decision over Nobuhiro Ishida in a super welterweight bout. Last week, Williams was signed to a Sept. 17 fight against junior middleweight champion Saul Alvarez in Las Vegas.
To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Matuszewski in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at email@example.com