The Ring and WBC Diamond middleweight champion Sergio Martinez publicly expressed sadness for former two-time WBO welterweight king Paul “The Punisher” Williams who severed his spinal cord and was paralyzed from the waist down in a motorcycle crash Sunday morning in Marietta, Ga.
“Upon learning of Paul’s injuries, I was deeply saddened,” said Martinez, 37, who is actively involved in domestic violence and anti-bullying causes. “When you are in the ring with a real champion, you know it, and Paul Williams was a very great champion, in every sense of the word. Paul and his family are in my thoughts and prayers through this very difficult time.”
Williams (41-2, 27 KOs), who has trumped world champs such as Winky Wright, Martínez, Kermit Cintron, Carlos Quintana and Antonio Margarito, was listed Tuesday in serious but stable condition at an undisclosed hospital.
Just last week, Williams inked a contract to fight Mexican superstar and WBC light middleweight titleholder Saul “Canelo” Alvarez for his belt on Mexican Independence Day weekend at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Obviously, the 6-foot-2 “Punisher,” an awkward southpaw long considered one of the most avoided boxers in the sport, was forced to cancel the September 15 bout against Alvarez (40-0-1, 29 KOs).
Martinez (49-2-2, 28 KOs), the 2010 “Fighter of the Year” who is currently ranked by Ring Magazine as the third preeminent pound-for-pound pugilist in the world, lost a narrow majority decision to Williams in December 2009.
Approximately a year later on November 20, 2010, the 37-year-old Martinez, an Argentinean who also dabbled professionally as a cyclist and soccer player and only began boxing at the late age of 20, avenged his defeat by rendering “The Punisher” unconscious with a brutal second round knockout triumph.
The jarring blow earned Martinez The Ring “Knockout of the Year” award.
Roger “Pitt” Perron is an extremely respected boxing trainer from Brockton who worked as an assistant in Marvelous Marvin Hagler’s corner in the 1980s.
“Sergio is a great, great fighter,” said Perron. “He’s seemingly an even better person.”
Sergio Martinez “is a great, great fighter” and “Paul Williams was a very great champion, in every sense of the word.”
Hopefully, “The Punisher” will somehow manage to get “through this very difficult time.”by