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Williams’ unfortunate boxing predicament

This past January, Sherman “Tank” Williams had his finest moment in the ring.  A boxer for most of his life, Williams left a rather successful amateur career and opted to turn professional in 1997.

Here we are 14 years later, and he finds himself with a solid 34-11-2 (one no-contest) record in 48 professional bouts.  He has been a good competitor.  Williams has been an ambassador of his country, wearing the national colors every time he fights.  He has indeed lifted the sports power image of his country.

On January 22, this year, in a ring in West Virginia, Williams outclassed multiple world light heavyweight and heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield like few others have.  It was just three rounds of boxing.  However, the Bahamian was so much in charge that Holyfield took the easy route.  Holyfield’s corner appealed to the referee to stop the fight before the start of the fourth round due to a small cut over his left eye.

The referee stopped the fight.  Because the rule states that a bout must go four rounds to be official, instead of getting a gigantic win, Williams had to accept the no-contest verdict.  He clamored long and aggressively for a return match or for the World Boxing Federation (WBF) to declare the championship vacant and give him a demand match for the title against another contender.  The WBF apparently preferred being associated with a champion with legendary status and did not strip Holyfield.

So, there was Williams, being shunned by Holyfield with good reason.  The WBF champ was bothered greatly by Williams’ style and at 49, no doubt he prefers softer fights unless he can land a bout with either of the more noted world champions, brothers Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko.

Williams hasn’t been able to get a fight with anyone else either.  Is his fate sealed?

Well there are some unfortunate but true factors.  At 39, with no real clout in the business, his market value is limited.  Other camps would want him primarily as a sparring partner or as a stepping-stone opponent for rising boxers.

Although still capable of managing himself very well in the ring, at 39 and turning 40 in September of next year, his skills are obviously not getting sharper.  It’s understandably difficult for him to get his body in the tip top shape of his prime years.  Williams had hoped that the Ministry of Tourism would step in and stand responsible for the big note it would take to spotlight him here in The Bahamas but the financial mountain was too high.  The ministry could not justify committing to the kind of funds needed to bring about a major boxing show.

In the past, Williams has gotten government financial assistance.  This time though the order was too tall.  It is sad indeed that the good showing against Holyfield has not been rewarded.  He just finds himself in a real boxing predicament.  Williams has fought just three times in the past three years, once in 2008, once in 2009 and not at all in 2010.

I wish him the best but he is at that point on the career road where the good options are diminishing.  Hopefully he’ll still get lucky and get a few more good ring opportunities before he calls it a day.

(To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at [email protected])

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