It seems a long time ago that Danny Williams was being clubbed to the canvas by Sinam Samil Sam, five years in fact. Since when he’s enjoyed fluctuating fortunes, weight and interest in a boxing career that may yet feature a peak many thought the oft-distracted Londoner would never reach. Victory over Scott Gammar, which like it’s preceding performance versus Audley Harrison, shouldn’t be over-valued given Gammar’s limitations, has certainly injected some belated fuel into a spluttering career. A shot at European champion Vladimar Virchis beckons.
Vladimir Virchis is a beatable heavyweight too. OK, so many felt the predictable Sam could be overcome and he proved too much for a mentally fragile Williams, but the trials and tribulations since that night have made Williams a more rounded professional and at a weight of 225-235 pounds he cuts a far more athletic figure. Weight isn’t the principle cause for Williams lack of fulfilment, but rather more symptomatic of deeper rooted insecurities to which Williams himself is all to willing to allude in press conferences and post-fight interviews. At 33, maybe – and it’s a big maybe – he could have overcome that debilitating neurosis.
To some this self-analysis has the stench of excuse making of hiding from the reality of his weaknesses but for me I’m willing to believe, to empathise with his problems of motivation, of direction and crucially, with the nerves he claims blight his progress. They, fighters, may be willing to put their bodies on the line in the name of sport, but they are human beings first and nobody could question Williams’ courage or heart for a fight. So why do boxing fans find it so easy to criticise and mock Williams for the very human issue of pre-fight nerves?
With that accepted, his failings when well placed for life changing opportunities are more complex than simply weight or poor tactics. And is why it is equally easy to believe he could dethrone Virchis or fail to deliver on the flashes of promise provided in the Gammar bout. There is simply no telling with Danny.
I remain sure of one thing, we’ll miss his presence when he does retire.