Paul “The Punisher” Williams to return to boxing as a trainer March 25
Former two-time world champion Paul Williams, who retired in 2012 after a motorcycle accident left him paralyzed from the waist down, is returning to the sport as a trainer.
Williams is set to make his training debut with Justin DeLoach (13-1, 7 knockouts) in an eight-round junior middleweight bout against Dillon Cook (16-0, 6 KOs) in a March 25th Showtime ShowBox telecast, it was announced on Tuesday. The show will feature four bouts from Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, Oklahoma. DeLoach is the first fighter that Williams will train as he comes back to a sport he once dominated.
“I’m scared all over again, like this is my first fight,” the 34-year-old Williams said in a press release. “Now, I have to think about everything that (my former trainer and manager George Peterson) was thinking about when I was fighting. I have to try and teach Justin what I knew how to do.”
Williams (41-2, 27 KOs) was regarded as one of the most avoided fighters in boxing because of his height (6-2), southpaw stance, boxing skills and ability to take a punch. He won welterweight and junior middleweight titles and holds victories against Antonio Margarito, Erislandy Lara, Winky Wright and Sergio Martinez before he was injured on May 27, 2012 as he was preparing for a pay-per-view bout with Canelo Alvarez later that year.
“I was the fighter the press labeled as ‘Most feared in boxing,'” said Williams, who has been working with DeLoach for around three months. “But that’s over for me now. I’m jumping into a whole new thing. It’s been an adjustment but I’m glad I’m doing it.”
Williams had to overcome his own bitterness about what happened to him when he was thrown off his bike to avoid a swerving car that ended his promising career. “I guess I was being selfish at first,” Williams said. “I didn’t want to deal with the fight game. I wanted to be the one fighting. But that changedÔÇªLook, I always feel good,” he went on. “What’s happened has happened. It is what it is. This is my first time stepping back into the world. I love boxing.”
Williams was persuaded by Peterson to return to the sport as a trainer, he said. Williams and DeLoach will train in a private gym in Williams’ hometown of Aiken, South Carolina, the release said. During the fight, Williams will be ringside confined to his wheelchair, shouting instructions.
“You know me, I really didn’t want to do this,” Williams said. “But finally after three or four years of George practically begging me to try and do it, this opportunity came along and I decided to give it a shot. Everything is about timing,” he went on. “I started thinking about it, George kept asking me and messing with me about it. One thing led to another, and I finally said I’d take a stab at it.”
Williams reflected on the type of trainer he wants to be- someone who has the best interests of the fighter first. “What I don’t want to see is a fighter getting hurt,” he said. “This is a hard sport. I know when I was in there I was always going for broke. But I want Justin, all fighters actually, to come out of the ring the same way they came in. Win or lose, I don’t want to see anybody get hurt.”
A former amateur standout, DeLoach and Williams grew up just 30 minutes down the road from each other, DeLoach in Augusta, Georgia and Williams in Aiken, South Carolina. The Showbox card is headlined by Regis “Rougarou”Prograis (16-0, 13 KOs) against Aaron “The Jewel” Herrera (29-4-1, 18 KOs) in a lightweight bout.
“Me and Paul, we’ve known each other our whole lives,” DeLoach said in the release. “I’m from Augusta, Georgia and he was right across in Aiken. We knew each other when I was coming up as an amateur. He came to my last pro fight that was in San Antonio. When I saw him, I got so excited. We started to talk and I said something like, ‘Hey, Paul, wouldn’t it be cool if we got together?’ It’s an unbelievable feeling to be able to work with one of my favorite fighters.”