Some fighters, however good they are, never get the breaks. Or, by default, the recognition. One such superb yet almost criminally forgotten fighter is long-time middleweight campaigner Sanderline Williams. Williams of Cleveland, Ohio, quite literally fought his career during a modern day ‘Murderer’s row.’
Some of the top-notch killers Williams fought: James Toney (twice), Gerald McClellan, Nigel Benn, Iran Barkley, Herol “Bomber” Graham, Frank Tate, Don Lee, Reggie Johnson, Merqui Sosa, Lonny Beasley, Joe Lipsey, and Lindell Holmes. Out of this bunch, only Holmes managed to stop Williams, this via a cut.
For sure, Sanderline was a special fighter. Or at least he could have been. Who knows how differently things might have turned out for Williams, a fine amateur, if he had benefited from a stronger power-structure of a team looking after him? As it is, Williams did pretty well all by his lonesome. Sure, Williams lost the big fights – but only just. Toney? He was held to a draw by Williams, the result so stinging Toney’s pride the two had to fight again; with “Lights Out” again failing to pull the plug on Williams, instead having to make do with a decision win.
Barkley? He was deemed lucky to have gone home with a split decision win when he faced Williams and his bag of tricks a couple of years before Toney did. Nigel Benn? He too had to make do with a split decision win that could so easily have gone to the less-well connected fighter. And so it went for Williams; the top names beat him without really beating him. They got the decision.
Today, Williams is almost a footnote in middleweight boxing history, with only hardcore fans having a care to remember him. Overall, Williams was 24-15-1(14), yet to repeat, he was stopped just once, on a cut. Never once did Williams’ skill, toughness and chin let him down.
Number of world champions faced: 11. Only Gerald McClellan managed to put Williams on the floor.
Sanderline Williams – a fighter who made his mark by facing any man. Certain prizefighters fully deserve to be remembered, even if they themselves never won the prize.