Carl Williams (tied for 184)
Belle Glade, Florida, USA
November 11, 1959 – April 7, 2013
6’4” / 83” reach / 205-242lbs
30-10-0-1(21) from 1/22/1982 to 10/30/1997 (15y9m)
1-5-0-0(0) against the top ten
0-2-0-0(0) against linear champions
0-2-0-0(0) against hall-of-famers
2 fights for the linear championship – 0-2-0-0(0)
Top ten opponents: W-UD-12 Trevor Berbick, L-UD-15 Larry Holmes, L-TKO-2 Mike Weaver, L-TKO-1 Mike Tyson, L-SD-12 Tim Witherspoon, L-TKO-8 Tommy Morrison
-2 total score (1 + -4 + 0 + 1)
Carl “The Truth” Williams was a legitimate top ten contender from the mid eighties to the early nineties. He came along in the heavyweight division when Larry Holmes was beginning to lose his grip on the top of the division, and as Mike Tyson took over. The Truth managed to get two shots at the ultimate crown, and while he fell short both times, he remained an important name for more than half a decade. At his best, he was a tall, rangy boxer with an excellent jab and good power. He could get sloppy on defense, and didn’t always use his height to his advantage, especially when attacking. But he was a strong, imposing force, and he could give most fighters all they could handle.
Williams turned professional in January 1982, and reeled off sixteen straight wins over the next three years, culminating in a wide decision victory over former contender James Tillis in October 1984. That win put Williams on the map, and earned him a shot at the World Heavyweight Champion, Larry Holmes. Despite the massive gulf in experience, the 16-0(12) Williams gave the 47-0(34) champion his toughest fight in two years. He officially won at least 5 rounds on every scorecard, and his height, reach, and excellent jab gave Holmes fits. Larry talked about wanting to take a long break after the rough night Williams gave him. Some boxing experts considered Holmes to be the recipient of a gift decision that night. Carl was indeed The Truth.
Williams would be back three months later, stopping 13-0 prospect Jesse Ferguson in the tenth. But he would run into adversity in his very next fight, when faded veteran Mike Weaver caught him with a left hook in the second, and dropped him hard. Williams had been controlling the bout, but got ahead of himself after hurting Weaver, and negated his reach advantage by banging inside. A beautiful counter hurt Williams and put him down. Two more follow up knockdowns, and Williams would be the victim of a second round knockout.
Williams took more than a year off, then returned in June 1987 with a knockout win over promising prospect (and Joe Frazier protege) Bert Cooper. Two more knockout wins over journeymen led to a fight with top contender Trevor Berbick in June 1988. Williams used his solid jab to pile up points and negate Berbick’s attempts to rough Williams up on the inside. Williams won a wide decision, jumping up in the ratings. He would also knock out 6’7″ prospect Mike Rouse to end the year, and finished with a lofty Number 2 ranking, just behind top contender Evander Holyfield.
Williams had fought his way back to another shot at the top, and in July 1989, took on Mike Tyson for the lineal Heavyweight Championship. Unfortunately for Williams, he didn’t get to make much of a fight. A counter left hook just a minute into the fight dropped Williams hard. He was up at 8, but referee Randy Neumann didn’t like how Williams responded to his questions, and despite protests from The Truth, Neumann waived the fight off, giving Tyson a first round knockout victory, and sending Williams back down to the back of the line.
Williams took another year off, and returned to the ring July of 1990, stopping fringe prospect Melton Bowen in five. Almost eight months later, he had another shot at a contender, this time against the talented yet inconsistent Tim Witherspoon. Williams fought reasonably well, but lost a split decision to Terrible Tim.
After that, Williams started to fade from contention, losing as often as he won. A surprise loss to journeyman Jerry Jones was sandwiched in between wins over Marshall Tillman and Ossie Ocasio. In January 1993, Williams waged an exciting war with Tommy Morrison. Morrison dropped him twice early on, but Williams returned the favor, putting Morrison down twice in the fifth. Morrison came on strong in the eighth however, and the referee stopped the fight with Williams hurt along the ropes.
The Morrison fight would start a four fight losing streak, with a late knockout against Frank Bruno, a seventh round knockout to Alexander Zolkin, and a decision loss to Melvin Foster. Carl would fight on, producing a four fight winning streak against less than stellar opposition in 1996… and finally ended his career with a technical knockout loss to journeyman Anthony Green.
The Truth would retire from boxing, and work as a security guard and security supervisor, until his death from esophageal cancer in 2013. As a fighter, he had two shots at the ultimate prize. It eluded him both times, one time much more narrowly than the other. But simply having those shots meant that for a while, he mattered in boxing.