Paul Williams during his 2009 fight against Winky Wright. (Eric Jamison / Associated…)
In his first public comments since arriving Friday in Las Vegas for a fight he was supposed to headline, Paul Williams expressed hope he can recover from the paralysis he sustained from the waist down in a May motorcycle accident.
Williams, 31, emerged as friends pushed him in a wheelchair through an elevator at the MGM Grand minutes before his originally scheduled opponent, Saul "Canelo" Alvarez of Mexico, weighed in at the Grand Garden Arena for his super-welterweight title fight against Josesito Lopez.
Asked how it was to return to a major fight card, Williams said, "I feel good. This ain’t nothing.
"This is a small thing for a giant."
The 6-foot-2, former world welterweight champion Williams (41-2, 27 knockouts) was announced in May as the 154-pound opponent of Alvarez in what was supposed to be a pay-per-view fight.
Top Rank Chairman Bob Arum, who’s promoting the middleweight title fight between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Sergio Martinez on Saturday night at Thomas and Mack Center, has said Williams’ involvement would’ve caused him to move Chavez-Martinez to Oct. 6.
Williams’ injury instead started a string of replacement opponents for Alvarez.
Williams expressed hope that he’ll be able to walk -- and fight -- again.
"I’ll come back, give it a year or two," he said. "If I get to be 34, maybe I won’t come back and fight, but I’ll get back in there if I’m 33."
Williams’ friends then wheeled him away to the weigh-in.
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