Paul Williams Crippled for Life, Taps for Johnny Tapia, Carl Froch in Resurgence
Paul "Punisher" Williams turns age 31 on July 27.
Unfortunately, doctors in Atlanta make it sound as though the former welterweight world champion will spend it and all successive birthdays confined to awheelchair.
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Boxing got hit with a double whammy on Sunday as news came out of Albuquerque that fearsome brawler and five-time world champion Johnny “Mi Vida Loca” Tapia’s crazy life had endedat age 45. Then came the awful revelation that Williams, 41-2 as apro, was paralyzed from the waistdown after a horrific motorcycle wreck near Atlanta where the fighter had gone to attend a brother’s wedding.
The only good news in the fight world this weekend was the ring revival of England’s popular Carl Froch, who knocded out previously unbeaten Lucian Bute in Froch’s ohometown of Nottingham. They’re saying that Bute-Froch attracted a record number of eyeballs to the UK telecast over Sky Sports. Legendary matchmaker Johnny”Wizard Of” Bos only knew the recovering drug addict Tapia by reputation but he was close to Williams and the boxer’s manager-trainer, ex-Washington, D.C., cop George Peterson. ( Note: Peterson just informed Rick Reeno, BoxingScene, that there is “no chance” that Williams will ever walk again.)
“It’s just terrible what happened to Paul, he is such a good kid andalways was. I’ve known him from his amateur days. You see how loyal he has been to George, he has been with George all the way from the amateurs to the world title and then to his comeback after getting blasted by Martinez.
“Paul is the kind of a guy who, if he sees you on the other side of an arena, he will walk over to sayhello to you,” Bos said. “I guess we’ll just have to hope for the best possible recovery. I just let matchmaker Harry Barnett, also close to the Williams camp, know.Harry is driving now from Fort Lauderdale back to Atlanta to seeGeorge and Paul. This really shook Harry up. Personally, I can’t say that I knew Tapia well, either. But, despite of or maybe because of all his personal tragedies (including drugoverdoses, the murder of his father and the rape/murder of his mother when he was a boy, etc.) the few times I saw the New Mexico boxer you couldn’t help but notice how fan friendly he was. Tapia’s demons were many and many are surprised he stayed alive to 45. But, another thing you have to say about Tapia is that lived his life the way he fought, fiercely. The never say quit demeanor he always showedinside the ropes truly resonated with fight fans. (Condolences to Johnny’s wife and manager, Teresa.) Unlike Tapia, Williams lives on buthe will never fight again and so will never get a chance to erase that blistering two round KO by Sergio Martinez. Williams had a mouth-watering matchup against Mexico’s whiz kid, Canelo Alvarez, set for Sept. 15.) But that’s a trivial matter becausewhat’s important now is the quality of PWill’s life, not his chosen profession. Taps for Tapia, prayers for the elongated Williams and an attaboy for Frochie.
Froch’s resurgence is the only sliver of sunlight in a stormy weekend.