By Tim Kudgis
Ricardo Williams Jr. was considered one of boxing's brightest young stars when he emerged from the 2000 Olympic Games as a silver medalist. Williams, who is known as "Slicky Ricky", garnered national attention from the media and fans alike. In 2005, the young stars boxing ambitions were halted when he was convicted of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and was sentenced to three years in prison.
Reminiscing about how things went wrong Williams explains - "A lot of what happened is my fault. A lot of kids growing up with their parents have a hard head and start boxing. That is what happened with me. Being hard headed, not being focused and not using the talent God gave me. Thank God he gave me another chance and I am taking full advantage of it."
Since his return to the ring from prison he has faced up and downs alike. There is one thing he is certain of.
"The most important thing my father & my promoters Antonio Leonard and Dan Goosen say is my conditioning must go along with me talent. That was something I wasn't doing out of the Olympics. I was a 19 year old kid with a big signing and it all went to my head. Anyone could tell. I am older now and have a kid and a wife to watch over, The most important thing is to match my conditioning with my talent. If I can do that the sky is the limit."
Even though "Slicky Ricky" had trouble staying focused with a signing bonus he doesn't feel young boxers should not be prevented from obtaining large signing bonus' when turning pro.
"I figure a young kid should look at my situation and learn from it. You have some guys that are really talented and earn it. They quit everything. Like a kid like me I never had a childhood. I never went to my High School prom or did the things that kids my age did. It was boxing, boxing, boxing from the time I was 7 years old until then. Actually up until now it is boxing, boxing, boxing. If they put everything into it and perform at the top level they should get some type of compensation for that" explained Williams.
Even if he becomes World Champion, Williams discusses - "If I could go back I would change a lot of things. I was 19 and I made a lot of dumb childish mistakes. The main thing I would have changed was staying focused the whole time. I would do the same thing that got me the signing bonus. The same thing that had people paying attention."
On December 15th 2011, Williams challenged a surging Carson Jones in Jones' home state of Oklahoma. Jones proved to be too much on that night for Williams stopping him in the 4th round. The loss was not entirely negative. Williams explains "I want to avenge my loss to Carson Jones but it was a good experience for me. It let me know that I am too little to fight at 147. Going to 140 is something that I should have already done. It was a gift and a curse. You have take the bitter with the sweet and that's what I am doing."
One thing is for sure, Williams is very happy with his team.
"I am promoted by Dan Goosen & Antonio Leonard. My manager is James Prince. He has been an awesome manager to me and has stuck by me through thick and think. I want to thank him. My trainer has always been my father and I work with Everett Jackson who also works with Andre Ward. I take my hat off to my father for letting me train with other trainers that he feels can take me to the next level."
Since his loss to Carson Jones, "Slicky Ricky" has achieved back to back victories. Defeating Anthony Lenk via Majority Decision and highly touted Golden Boy prospect Luis Ramos when the Doctor called a halt to the action. There were question raised about the way the fight ended.
"I have no problem giving a rematch to Ramos since he gave me an opportunity" says Williams.
Williams doesn't have a particular hit list at 140 but he says "whoever gives the best opportunity for myself. I will be in the best shape and come out victorious. It's open game for anyone at 140!"
Williams also reveals "I think I am fighting on March 9th. I am just waiting to hear from Dan Goosen and James Prince. I am ready. I am keeping my body ready and waiting for a phone call!" Whether "Slicky Ricky" will be able to overcome adversity and become world champion, remains to be seen. On thing is for certain Williams is expecting to stay busy in 2013 on his quest for a world title.
Tim Kudgis is a co-host/producer for ATG Radio which can be heard every Monday & Wednesday night from 7-9pm PST on ATGRADIO.com. He also proudly covers the AZ boxing scene for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached via email at [email protected] or on twitter @BigTimeTimmyATG.