Boxer Williams awaits surgery following crash

Boxer Paul Williams' longtime promoter said Wednesday the fighter is in good spirits in an Atlanta hospital as he awaits surgery after he was paralyzed in a motorcycle crash.

Promoter Dan Goossen told The Associated Press he did not know why a surgery planned for Wednesday was postponed. He says Williams is talking and remains upbeat and determined to regain movement and resume his career.

"Paul is in good spirits and speaking," Goossen said. "He has an attitude that is unbelievable, quite frankly. I've been down in the dumps the last three days but after speaking with him it gave me a new outlook on my belief in him overcoming what he says he's going to overcome."

Goossen said he did not know when the surgery would be rescheduled.

Williams, 30, severed his spinal cord when he was thrown from his motorcycle Sunday morning in Marietta, Ga. Police said he was driving too fast for conditions.

Williams' manager, George Peterson, said the former welterweight champion has no movement from the waist down.

Williams, known as "The Punisher," is from Aiken, S.C. He had been scheduled to fight Sept. 15 in Las Vegas against Saul "Canelo" Alvarez.

Williams won his first major welterweight title in July 2007 with a decision over Antonio Margarito.

At 6-foot-2, he struggled to land fights with the sport's biggest stars because of his pronounced size advantages, a high-volume punching rate and his relative anonymity. Even so, he was considered one of the world's top pound-for-pound stars.

He earned victories over Carlos Quintana, Winky Wright, Sergio Martinez and Kermit Cintron, but Martinez abruptly stopped Williams' rise in November 2010 with a second-round victory in their rematch. Williams ended up face-down on the canvas with his eyes wide open in perhaps the most spectacular knockout in recent boxing history.

Williams was unimpressive in his next two fights, but his bout with Alvarez — the popular young Mexican star — at Las Vegas' MGM Grand Garden was his return to the big time — and a chance to win Alvarez's WBC 154-pound belt.