28.10.03 – Friday afternoon, north London, 5 PM. German heavyweight Ralf Packheiser from Berlin, 12-3 (6), leaves his hotel for a 60-minute trip to York Hall in Bethnal Green, where he is scheduled to clash with British and Commonwealth champion Danny Williams in three hours time. It’s easily the most important fight of Packheiser’s career as an upset win by the former junior world bronze medalist would instantly make him a hot candidate for a European title shot. Thus, he trained hard for weeks with trainer Detlef Kumm, made sacrifices in many ways – this was his big chance to hit the jackpot.
Around 6 PM, Packheiser entered York Hall together with new manager Olaf Schroeder and trainer Kumm, ready to give the favoured Williams a fight. However, it was all in vain. “Promoter Jess Harding immediately approached me to give us the shattering news that Danny Williams, who seemed perfectly fit at the day-before weigh-in, suddenly became ‘sick’ while we were driving towards York Hall,” a disappointed Schroeder said.
Here, a dejected Ralf Packheister talks about his feelings immediately after he was summoned back from his dressing room and instead being given a ringside ticket.
What was your first thought after learning that Williams pulled out?
“What a bum that guy is! I didn’t come to make holidays, I trained hard and then this guy has no respect whatsoever towards a fellow pro. I couldn’t believe it at first… Some kind of British sportsmenship…”
The official reason why Williams suddenly pulled out only about two hours before the show was sickness. Your comments?
“(smiles) …think yourself. Look, I was in and out of airconditioned cars all the time on Thursday and woke up this morning with a bit of a cold. But I was there to have a fight… Had Williams really been ill, he would have known earlier, no doubt.”
If you charge that Williams got scared of you, were there any hints of this at the weigh-in, when you saw each other live for the first time?
“Nothing special, he saw me, I saw him. But we didn’t shake hands, he was mostly standing at the back of the room. But he certainly didn’t have the aura I expected from a British heavyweight champ.”
I understand the fight has been rescheduled for December, but this time in your country, Germany. Will Williams appear?
“What can I say? I don’t know, you better ask him. I certainly hope so. I’d like to boost ‘If he doesn’t show up, I come to his house and get his ass’ – but I tried that already tonight and he hid himself with great success…”