Boxer Paul Williams was paralyzed on Sunday after being involved in a motorcycle crash in the Atlanta suburbs, and doctors said it is unlikely he would continue his career, his manager said on Monday.
“From the waist down, he has absolutely no movement. He’s in very good spirits though,” George Peterson said from his home in Aiken, South Carolina. “He still believes he’s going to fight again.”
Williams, 30, severed his spinal cord after falling on his back and head when he was thrown from his motorcycle on Sunday morning in Marietta, Georgia, Peterson said.
Williams was listed in serious, but stable condition on Monday at an undisclosed hospital, Peterson said.
The crash happened on Sunday morning in Marietta after Williams tried to avoid a car in the next lane that was negotiating a bend and then had to maneuver to avoid an oncoming car. Williams was in the area to attend his brother’s wedding on Sunday afternoon, Peterson said.
“I know he’s going to make a statement after surgery on Wednesday, because he’s that kind of person,” Peterson said. “He’s 100 percent coherent and still has the will to want to get back on the motorcycle.”
Williams was scheduled to fight Saul “Canelo” Alvarez on Sept. 15 in Las Vegas, but that event has been canceled, Peterson said.
His longtime promoter, Dan Goossen, confirmed the cancellation of the fight on Monday evening.
Williams won his first major welterweight title in July 2007 with a decision over Antonio Margarito. He struggled to land fights with the sport’s biggest stars because of his pronounced size advantages, a high-volume punching rate and his relative anonymity, but he was considered one of the world’s top pound-for-pound stars.
He earned victories over Carlos Quintana, Winky Wright, Sergio Martinez and Kermit Cintron, but Martinez abruptly stopped Williams’ rise in November 2010 with a second-round victory in their rematch.
Williams’ bout with Alvarez in Las Vegas was his return to the big time and a chance to win Alvarez’s belt.
“We want his fans to know he’s going to be all right and he’ll be back,” Peterson said. “He said if he wasn’t going to be boxing, he’s going to be a stand-up comedian.”