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Saturday, June 02, 2012
Punishing Lessons

What the Boxing World at LargeCan Learn from the Paralyzing of Paul (The Punisher) Williams

ThisMemorial Day weekend, the boxing world saw two of its great warriors go downfollowing decorated and distinguished careers in unarmed combat. First, troubled five-time world championJohnny (Mi Vida Loca) Tapia was found dead in his home in Albuquerque, NewMexico. Then, former two-timewelterweight champion Paul (The Punisher) Williams, who recently signed for tofight Mexican sensation Saul (Canelo) Alvarez for the WBC Light MiddleweightTitle, was reportedly paralyzed from the waist down following a motorcycleaccident en route to one of hisbrother’s weddings in Atlanta. Williamssurvived, but was already advised that he will likely never walk, and thus box,ever again. Relatively speaking, Tapiawas not as lucky. While Tapia’s story isone that was unique to his tortured life, one marked by the murder of hismother when he was eight-years-old, drug problems, and the death of his brother-in-lawand nephew while they were on their way to visit him in the hospital followinga 2007 cocaine overdose, there are several lessons that can be learned fromWilliams’ plight, including what steps those handling the careers ofprofessional athletes can take to try to avoid such sad endings to theircharges’ careers. I initially addressed those lessons back on October 13, 2010 shortly after then-unifiedbantamweight champion Fernando (Cochulito) Montiel suffered an injury to hisright leg when a dirt bike on which he was a passenger crashed in Alamos,Mexico. To avoid redundancy, butreiterate those lessons in wake of Williams’ accident, I direct you back to“The Lesson to Learn from the Montiel Ordeal,” which available at: With that, I thank Tapia for many greatboxing memories and pray that he finally finds peace going forward and wish a speedyrecovery to The Punisher, who was perhaps the most physically unique top-leveltalent in the sport today.


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