Boxer Paul Williams severed his spinal cord Sunday when his motorcycle crashed outside of Atlanta. The crash left Williams paralyzed from the waist down, likely ending his career.
“From the waist down, he has absolutely no movement. He’s in very good spirits, though,” Williams’ manager George Peterson told the Associated Press. “He still believes he’s going to fight again.”
Police said the 30-year-old was speeding and unable to negotiate road conditions when his motorcycle crashed into an embankment Sunday morning in Marietta, Ga.. Williams was thrown from his bike and landed on his back and head. He was listed in serious but stable condition, according to Peterson.
Williams’ scheduled Sept. 15 fight against Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in Las Vegas has been canceled.
Williams, nicknamed ‘The Punisher,’ was trying to avoid a car in the next lane while going around a curve and then maneuvered to avoid an oncoming vehicle when he crashed.
“They’re saying he won’t walk again or box again,” Peterson told ESPN.com. “Paul is in denial right now. It’s been that way with him. You tell him he can’t or won’t do something, and he wants to prove you different. So whatever the doctors say, he’s not listening. But they say that (walking and boxing) is not going to happen.”
Still, like Williams — who is slated to undergo surgery on Wednesday — Peterson remains optimistic about his chances for recovery and a return to the ring.
“I want to think along with him, ’cause I’ve seen him do things in his boxing career that shouldn’t have happened,” Peterson said.
Williams, 41-2 with 27 knockouts in his career, has fought in three weight classes and was eying a return to prominence with his chance to take Alvarez’s WBC 154-pound belt.