Paul Williams, a former two-time welterweight champion, was paralyzed from the waist down following a motorcycle accident on Sunday. George Peterson, Williams’ trainer and manager, made the somber announcement on Monday.
"They're saying he won't walk again or box again," said Peterson to ESPN. "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."
According to Dan Rafael, the crash occurred around 8 a.m. as Williams traveled to prepare for the wedding of one of his brothers. He reportedly had to veer out of his lane to avoid a car that was moving in, and ultimately lost control of his motorcycle before flying several feet off the bike and landing on his back.
He was wearing a helmet at the time.
This Wednesday, Williams will have surgery to steady the part of his spinal cord that will allow him to move the body parts above his waist.
"He's telling jokes and saying if he doesn't box again, he'll do stand-up comedy. He's in good spirits but he is also in denial," Peterson said. "But he's coherent. I had an excellent conversation with him. When I walked in the door (on Sunday) about 5:30 in the afternoon, he said he'd be ready to go back to camp on Monday. I guess I'm in denial, too, because I have seen him overcome so much adversity before and come back. We'll pray about the situation." Peterson said if Wednesday's surgery goes well, Williams would remain hospitalized for a few weeks before moving to a rehabilitation center.
"Hopefully, there will be no complications and he'll be out in a few weeks," Peterson said. "Paul would want all boxing fans to know that is not suffering and not in any pain. We appreciate their prayers."
This tragic incident comes a mere week after Williams agreed to fight junior middleweight champ, Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, in a Sept. 17 event.
(Kudos to ESPN)