Paul Williams was one of the best and most avoided welterweight champions over the past 10 years, but his career has been cut short because of a motorcycle accident. Photo by Eric Jaminson (AP)
Johnny Tapia was found dead at the age of 45, and a motorcycle accident left Paul Williams paralyzed from the waist down.
Tragedy has hit the world of boxing twice this past week. First, the sport lost one of boxing’s great fighter, and a true champion, when Johnny Tapia was found dead in his home in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Then came word that Paul Williams severed his spinal cord when he was thrown from his motorcycle on Sunday morning and he is no paralyzed from the waist down.
Williams is awaiting a surgery, and the doctors have said that he most likely will not walk again. But Williams is in good spirits and he plans to prove the doctors wrong by making a full recovery.
Williams was scheduled to fight on September 15 in Las Vegas against Saul Alvarez.
Known as “The Punisher,” the 6’ 2” Williams was a fighter that most of the world’s best boxers avoided, but he was still able to win the welterweight title in 2007. He defeated fighters such as Winky Wright, Sergio Martinez, Carlos Quintana, and Kermit Cintron.
Williams struggled after being defeated by Martinez in a rematch, but he was on the road to becoming a champion again.
Williams is a case of a career being cut too short, and a person who will most likely live with a disability for the rest of his life, but Tapia, his story was one of personal struggle that ended with an unsurprising death.
Tapia was one of boxing’s elite fighters of the 1990’s and early 2000’s as he garnered five titles in the super flyweight, bantamweight, and featherweight divisions.
As a ferocious puncher, he always stayed calm amid chaos he faced in the ring, and would always return fire with unbelievable accuracy. He would rely on grit, heart, and a desire to beat the odds. It was outside the ring where was often having difficulty.
As an 8-year-old kid, he witnessed his mother being raped, stabbed repeatedly with a screwdriver and chained to the back of truck. When he told other family members what he had witnessed, no one believed him.
Tapia was able to go through hell in the ring, and cope with it. It was what he went through outside the ring that he just could not handle too well.
As a real champion in the ring, Tapia compiled a professional record of 59 wins, 5 losses, and 2 draws, with 30 coming by way of knockout. In a career that spanned 23 years (over half his life), he definitely is Hall of Fame material.
In his autobiography Tapia wrote, “My mother was murdered when she was 32. I didn’t think I would out live her. I didn’t think I’d make it past my own 32nd birthday. After turning 31, I could feel that time was coming on.”
Tapia’s time finally came on last Sunday at 45 years of age. A spokesman for the Albuquerque Police Department said that his death did not appear suspicious.
In other boxing news, it was another exciting night of boxing out at the Marriott hotel in Woodland Hills last Friday night. An event that featured a return appearance by Tyrell Hendrix who fought Loren Myers in a semi main event contest that went the distance of eight rounds. This match up developed into a very grueling bout in which Hendrix suffered a broken right hand and a severe cut over his left eye. But despite all that, Hendrix improved his record to 9-1 as the ringside judges gave him a unanimous decision in this light heavyweight bout.
In the main event, Cleotis ” Mookie” Pendarvis fought Robert Frankel in a bout that went the distance of 12 rounds in a battle for the USBA jr. welterweight title. And although this too was a rough and competitive outing, at the end of twelve it was Pendarvis that was crowned the new champion.
This event was promoted by the Art of Boxing in association with Bash Boxing, Pit Bull Promotions, and Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles.
Coming this weekend at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Antonio Tarver will take on Lateef Kayote and Winky Wright will fight Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quiilan.
This is a youth vs. experience event in which we will see if Tarver and Wright both still have it to beat the young opponents that they both face. This event is being promoted by Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, and will be telecast live on the Showtime network.
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