Name: Paul Williams
Alias: The Punisher
Birthplace: Augusta, Georgia, USA
Hometown: Aiken, South Carolina, USA
Height: 6′ 1″ / 185cm
Reach: 79″ / 201cm
Boxing Record: click
Trainer: George Peterson
Manager: Al Haymon
Promoter: Dan Goossen
When school bus driver Lee Wells looked in his rearview mirror, he would regularly see an eight-year-old Paul Williams rampaging through his school bus as he drove the youngster and his fellow passengers along the streets of Aiken, South Carolina, to their homes. "I'd pull girls' legs," Williams sheepishly recalled, "jump up and down on the seats and maybe get in a few fights." One day, after pulling up in front of Williams' home, Wells, who was also a boxing coach, told Williams' mother, "Your son has all this energy. Why not put it to good use in boxing?"
For five years, Wells coached Williams. But then Wells died, and Williams drifted from the gym. "It wasn't the same no more," Williams said. "Some days I'd come to the gym and some days I would duck out and go do teenage things." Over a ten-year period, Williams fought an average of less than three times a year.
Trainer George Peterson met Williams when the latter was eighteen years old. Coming off a decision loss, Williams spoke to Peterson at the trainer's Final Round Gym in Aiken. "He gave me a sob story about how he wanted to learn to box better," Peterson said.
After Williams left, an office worker in the complex that houses both the gym and an insurance office, watched the tall, thin Williams stride out onto the street and then said to Peterson, "He doesn't have a muscle in his body. What are you going to do with that boy?"
Responded Peterson: "If he listens to me, I'm going to make him a champion."
Williams, who says he had 23 or 30 amateur bouts, turned professional six days before his nineteenth birthday.
"I didn't really take the amateurs seriously at all," he said. However, once he turned professional in 2000, Williams took a different attitude. "I realized this wasn't a game anymore, and I took the pros seriously."
- In his 29th professional bout, Williams won his first title, knocking out Sergio Rios (18-2, 16 KOs) in two rounds to win the WBC USNBC welterweight title on April 12, 2006.
- Williams stopped Walter Dario Matthysse (25-0, 24 KOs) in ten rounds to win the WBO NABO welterweight title on May 27, 2006.
- Williams knocked out former WBA super lightweight champion Sharmba Mitchell (57-5, 30 KOs) in four rounds on August 19, 2006. It would be Mitchell's last fight.
- On July 14, 2007, Williams defeated Antonio Margarito (34-4, 24 KOs) by a twelve-round unanimous decision to win the WBO welterweight title.
- In his first defense, Williams lost the WBO welterweight title to Carlos Quintana (24-1, 19 KOs) by a twelve-round unanimous decision on February 9, 2008.
- On June 7, 2008, Williams stopped Carlos Quintana (25-1, 19 KOs) in one round to regain the WBO welterweight title.
- Williams stopped former WBO and IBF junior middleweight champion Verno Phillips (42-10-1, 21 KOs) in eight rounds to win the interim WBO super welterweight title on November 29, 2008.
- On December 5, 2009, Williams defeated Sergio Martinez (44-1-2, 24 KOs) by a twelve-round majority decision in a middleweight non-title bout.
- Williams fought a rematch with Sergio Martinez (45-2-2, 24 KOs) on November 20, 2010. Martinez, in his first defense of the WBC and Ring Magazine middleweight titles, won by a one-punch knockout in the second round. It was named Ring Magazine Knockout of the Year.
- On July 9, 2011, Williams defeated future WBA super welterweight champion Erislandy Lara (15-0-1, 10 KOs) by a highly controversial twelve-round majority decision. Four days after the fight, the New Jersey Athletic Control Board indefinitely suspended all three judges.
- On February 18, 2012, in his last fight, Williams defeated former WBA interim super welterweight champion Nobuhiro Ishida (24-6-2, 9 KOs) by a lopsided twelve-round unanimous decision. All three judges scored every round for Williams.
- Williams finished his career with a record of 2-2 (1 KO) in world title fights.
- Williams finished his career with a record of 8-2 (3 KO) against former, current or future world titlists.
On May 27, 2012, Williams was involved in a motorcycle accident which left him paralyzed from the waist down. His spinal cord was not cut, but it was severely damaged.
"There's no evidence of any severing," Dr. Donald P. Leslie said following surgery. "he had a fracture of his spine. The fracture is of the bone. The bone encircles the spinal cord. The spinal cord was injured ... and that interferes with the transmission of nerves from above to below. . . . He is injured at the mid-chest level, the mid-thorax, and . . . was stabilized with instrumentation. His spine was fused."
Williams, who lived about an hour outside of Atlanta, had ridden his motorcycle from his home to Atlanta to attend the Sunday wedding of one of his brothers. The accident occurred around 8 a.m. as Williams was riding to another brother's home to get ready for the wedding, which took place later in the day.
Williams, who was wearing a helmet, rode out of his lane to avoid a car that was moving into his lane, but another car was coming toward him in the other direction. Williams swerved to avoid the oncoming car, wound up riding up a steep embankment and lost control of the motorcycle before flying several feet in the air and landing on his back on the road. One of the drivers of the other cars called 911.
Just one week prior to the accident, Williams had signed to meet WBC super welterweight champion Saul "Canelo" Alvareez (40-0-1, 29 KOs) on September 17 as the main event for a pay-per-view telecast.
On May 1, 2014, at the Boxing Writers Association of America's 89th Annual Awards Dinner, Williams received the Bill Crawford Courage Award from the BWAA and was given an honorary WBC championship belt by WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman.
- "Paul Williams: No longer a best kept secret" SecondsOut.com
- "Williams works his way up" Los Angeles Times, July 14, 2007
- "Paul Williams paralyzed after crash" ESPN.com, May 29, 2012
- "Paul Williams' future uncertain" ESPN.com, June 13, 2012
- "89th BWAA Awards Dinner A Screaming Success" BWAA, May 2, 2014
- Paul Williams' twitter account
| WBO Welterweight Champion
2007 Jul 14 – 2008 Feb 9
| WBO Welterweight Champion
2008 Jun 7 – 2008 Nov 12
Miguel Angel Cotto