By Jackie Kallen
54 is too young to die. But Carl “The Truth” Williams died the way he lived– as a fighter. He fought a tough and valiant battle against esophageal cancer. But he lost. He got KOed.
Carl Williams turned pro in 1982. He fought his first nine fights at the legendary Madison Square Garden’s Felt Forum. No one remembers the guys he beat back then, but he knocked them all out.
Accepting a fight with Larry Holmes after just 16 professional bouts was a daring move. But The Truth feared no one and he gave it his all. He ended up losing a controversial decision that night in Reno in 1985. Some ringsiders still feel he won. His jab was just as sharp and he gave Holmes all he could handle. It was an epic battle.
He rebounded with a win against Jesse Ferguson, but was stopped in the second round in 1986 by Mike Weaver. That was a loss that hurt William’s pride and some fans believe he was never quite the same. He went on to beat Bert Cooper and Trevor Berbick, but the shine was off.
His 1989 Atlantic City fight against Mike Tyson was horrific. The Truth got destroyed in the first round, which embarrassed him and disheartened him. He always felt that the referree stopped it too soon. He begged for a rematch but never got it.
From that night on he labored as a journeyman boxer. He became a stepping stone for aspiring heavyweights like Tim Witherspoon, Tommy Morrison and Frank Bruno. He finally retired in 1997 with a 30-10 record.
The rest of William’s life was no walk in the park. He fell on hard times financially and lost his 12-year old daughter Nijah to leukemia. For a time he worked as a security guard at Ground Zero.
In recent years, few people knew that the man in front of them had fought giants like Tyson and Holmes. He rarely spoke of his career in the ring and was a humble and hard-working man. For those who knew and loved The Truth–he will be sadly missed.
Jackie Kallen is a boxing manager who has been in the business for over three decades. Her life inspired the Meg Ryan film “Against the Ropes” and she was a part of the NBC series “The Contender.” www.JackieKallen.com, www.facebook.com/JackieKallen