Paul Williams in the Fight of His Life

Paul Williams in the fight of his life

The tragic news of the waist down paralysis of Paul “The Punisher” Williams has jolted the world of boxing into a universal outpouring of sympathy & a rare united voice in wishing Paul & his family well in the aftermath of this shocking development.

Paul Williams was of course scheduled to take on Canelo Alvarez in a fight he’d have entered as a distinct underdog but is now destined for the “what if” annals of boxing history. That, though, is a mere afterthought in the aftermath of a truly & devastatingly human tragedy – an athlete, a fighter, taken down in the prime of his life (if not necessarily the prime of his boxing career).

Boxing is a sport which draws a passion in its followers like few, if any, other sporting codes but news like that regrettably received this past Monday shock all involved with a somber dose of what really constitutes the necessities of the human condition – the simple/fundamental abilities that we are doomed to take for granted until they have been taken from us.

Whilst there is a collective feeling of devastation, horror & even reflected agony within the wider boxing world at the news of the effective loss to the sport of an elite level competitor we should not forget to honor the memory & offer thanks for the contribution of a fighter who graced us with several noteworthy performances at a world class level of competition. The destiny of a talented fighter is almost always to shine bright for a fleeting moment & then to be see their star dwindle – though legend grow – & in that sense the Paul Williams story is akin; if qualitatively disparate from that of so many world class fighters of the past – the differential being the utter randomness & cruelty with which his light was extinguished.

The thoughts of & boxing in general are with Paul & his family as they seek the courage, wisdom & faith to overcome this most severe of challenges. Paul, you were a champion inside the squared circle & there is little doubt among anyone who knows you that you will, with time, patience & dedication, rise to be a champion outside of it once more.

Matt Hamilton, for ESNewsReporting.