By Rick Reeno
Former champion Paul "The Punisher" Williams, despite his tragic motorcycle accident, is still very much in high demand. The accident, which occurred in May of this year, left Williams paralyzed from the waist down.
At the time of the accident, Williams was scheduled to challenge WBC 154-pound champion Saul "Canelo" Alvarez at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
After two more opponents fell through, Alvarez reached an agreement to defend his title against Josesito Lopez. Showtime will televise the fight, which headlines a quadrupleheader being staged by Golden Boy Promotions.
Two miles down the road, at the Thomas & Mack Center, a former opponent of Williams, Sergio Martinez, will challenge Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. for the WBC middleweight title in an HBO pay-per-view headliner. Top Rank, along with Lou DiBella, are promoting the event.
Williams had two memorable battles with Martinez. The first, in 2009, saw Williams win a close twelve round decision in a war of wills, while the 2010 rematch saw Martinez pull off a vicious one punch knockout of Williams in two rounds.
With two events going to head to head at such a close distance, tensions have obviously been boiling over. And even Williams recently found himself in the center of a September 15th tug of war.
Last week, Alvarez told Mexican reporters that Williams accepted his invitation to sit ringside at the MGM Grand.
However, also last week, Martinez told reporters in Argentina that Williams would watch his fight from ringside at the Thomas & Mack.
Unless Williams mastered the art of teleportation, he obviously will not sit ringside for both main events.
BoxingScene.com spoke to George Peterson, the manager and trainer of Williams, who confirmed two items. Williams will indeed travel to Las Vegas on September 15th - and Williams will sit ringside at the MGM Grand to watch Canelo defend his title.
Peterson also confirmed that both Alvarez and Martinez reached out to Williams, during the fighter's hospitalization, and gave him their full support. And both fighters did extend invitations to their respective shows.
"Immediately after Paul's accident, Canelo reached out and gave Paul an invite and said that he would love to have him there with his family. Paul looked at that with the highest degree, appreciating that he extended that invitation. As a result of that, Paul told me from the very beginning....immediately after he heard that - he said 'I'm going.' This was when he was in his bed, in traction with all of those other things with the accident, and he said 'I'm going.' If Paul Williams says he's going, then he's going," Peterson told BoxingScene.com.
"Don't get me wrong, Paul has a like for both sides. [Williams and Martinez] have a relationship. Martinez did call him when he was in the hospital and wished him well. Paul received that very well. Paul has love for him also."
Williams is hoping Martinez and Canelo do very well in their upcoming fights, says Peterson.
Pushing the September situation to the curb, BoxingScene was happy to learn that Williams' tragic accident did very little to slow the fighter down. According to Peterson, his fighter is in very good spirits and very, very active.
"Paul is getting around, I'm having more trouble keeping up with him now. A very good friend of mine told me, 'when Paul had two legs you could keep up with him but now that he has no legs you can't find him.' Saturday night he was at a boxing match in Atlanta. They gave him a standing ovation and gave him an award. He really appreciates that. People are definitely coming out and showing their appreciation," Peterson said.