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Boxing | International

Paralysed Paul drove 'too fast'

Former world champion Paul Williams has been paralysed in a motorcycle crash in Atlanta. Doctors say it is unlikely he will box again.

"From the waist down, he has absolutely no movement. He's in very good spirits, though," his manager, George Peterson, said on Monday.

"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 in Marietta, Georgia, on Sunday morning.

Police say Williams was driving his modified sport motorcycle too fast for conditions when he crashed into an embankment.

The accident happened a day after IBF junior featherweight title contender Thangtong Kiattaweesuk, his wife and two nephews were killed in a road accident in Thailand.

And it happened a day before former five-time champion Johnny Tapia was found dead in Mexico.

Peterson said Williams had been listed in a serious but stable condition at an undisclosed hospital.

Williams, who was in the area to attend his brother's wedding on Sunday afternoon, tried to avoid a car in the next lane and then had to swerve to avoid an oncoming car.

"He's going to make a statement after surgery on Wednesday, because he's that kind of person," Peterson said. "He's 100 per cent coherent and still has the will to want to get back on the motorcycle."

Williams was scheduled to fight Saul "Canelo" Alvarez in Las Vegas on September 15 but the tournament has been cancelled, his longtime promoter, Dan Goossen, confirmed on Monday evening

"Right now, there's no thinking about any fights except for the fight that's facing Paul; to get movement back in his body and keep the movement that he has above his waist," Goossen said.

"I want to think along with him, because I've seen him do things in his boxing career that shouldn't have happened," he said.


But Goossen told USA Today that Peterson had told him Williams was not expected to walk again.

Williams is also a former interim junior middleweight world champion and has a record of 41 wins, two defeats and 27 knockouts.

He is among the most versatile and unusual athletes in boxing, making him a highly undesirable opponent for the world's best fighters.

He has competed in three weight classes against much shorter foes, even comfortably making the welterweight limit despite his 1.88 m frame.

He 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 was considered one of the best boxers in the world.

He beat Carlos Quintana, Winky Wright, Sergio Martinez and Kermit Cintron, but Martinez stopped his rise in November 2010, beating him in the second round of their rematch.

Williams ended face-down on the canvas with his eyes wide open in perhaps the most spectacular knockout in recent boxing history.

He was unimpressive in his next two fights, but his bout with Alvarez, a popular young Mexican star, in Las Vegas was his return to the big time.

"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."


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