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article imageOp-Ed: Paul 'The Punisher' Williams accident final fight in career

By William Charles Baker     May 29, 2012 in Sports
Marietta - We saw it happen to Brooklyn Dodgers catcher Roy Campanella. We saw it happen to soul singer Teddy Pendergrass. Now we must deal with the tragedy involving boxer Paul Williams. Not just a guy in the sport but the two time Welterweight champion.
The NYDailyNews reports: “The boxer Paul Williams, who recently signed a lucrative contract to face Saul (Canelo) Alvarez in September, was in a career-ending motorcycle accident on Sunday in a suburb of Atlanta that left him paralyzed from the waist down, his longtime manager George Peterson told the Daily News on Monday.”
To paraphrase the great playwright Edward Albee “Sometimes you have to go a long way out of your way to come back a short way the right way”. Nobody knows this better than Paul Williams ex champion, ex front page boxing sensation, ex feared and revered ring legend. The Sergio Martinez KO was not the end for Williams but the beginning of the short way home.
His win over Nobuhiro Ishida and Erislanda Lara, as well as, his upcoming match with Canelo Alvarez were all sign posts that there was a short way to the top. It was only his natural skills and effort that were needed to take him all the way.
If the last train leaves from Augusta Georgia or Las Vegas Nevada if you miss it then you missed it. There is nothing to do but get back on line for the next one. When you pass by from the back of the train instead of the back of the limo the public forgets you. They forget the long list of good to great fighters that were beaten along the way. Just so we don’t forget: Sergio Martinez, Kermit Cintron, Winky Wright, Carlos Quintana, Antonio Margarito and so on.
The great soul singer Bobby Womack had a hit song entitled “Nobody Knows You When You Are Down And Out”. Most of us know this from life experience but a very good fighter knows this from ring experience as well. The ring he could conquer on the short way home but now begins the real battle and we can only hope that this one will have more love and support.
Where were all the headlines as Paul Williams made his comeback Saturday July 9th 2011 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City New Jersey and on HBO boxing? Erislandy Lara was the opponent and what was supposed to be a walkover fight turned into a contested win for Williams. He took a beating but of more importance was another step in redemption for the brutal knock out by Sergio Martinez in their second fight.
A lot of truly great fighters have gotten off the canvass after suffering knockouts. They have gotten up to be better than before. The fans had faith in their champions and they did not let them down. Maybe the true mark of a great champion was to do what Paul Williams did by fighting Lara who was there as the test of Williams future in boxing.
Manny Pacquiao did it, Joe Louis did it, Lennox Lewis did it and need we say more.
We know a lot about physical boxing skills and who can do what best. Southpaw, jabs, hooks, uppercuts, take a punch, give a punch and so on. But the mental side of the game as defined by the heart we do not know as well. Not like what beats in the chest but what exists in the psyche.
Why one guy can erase a devastating knock out and another guy cannot. Why the flinch and the clinch and the lack of aggression when the next fight comes around. Why another guy comes back and returns the favor with a more devastating performance or catches the source of his misery later on in the fight game.
The fight with Canelo Alvarez was a definite and the date set for September 15th 2012. There were major expectations for Pay per View audience proceeds because of the young champion in Alvarez and return of the dangerous opponent in Paul Williams.
ESPNBoxing reported: “Junior middleweight titlist Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, the Mexican star who has been brought along slowly with a series of fights against opponents given little chance to win, will next face a tall order: powerful 6-foot-1 southpaw Paul Williams.”
The fight and the drama and the skills involved will not happen on September fifteenth or any other day. It takes two men to make a boxing match and they say that Paul Williams will never fight again. It comes off the page and hits you between the eyes and then in the heart and memories come back of Roy Campanella and Teddy Pendergrass and the neighbor down the street and then fighting doesn’t matter.
It would be enough to see him walk again we know that he can fight.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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