NC’s Michael Williams Jr. is ‘Deep Blue’ After Tough First Loss in ESPN+ Debut
Young Super Lightweight Michael Williams Jr.’s Plan A suffered a setback with his first loss, but his new career reveals he had a great Plan B
First off, I apologize in advance to Michael Williams Jr., the 22-year old young man, for attempting to praise and congratulate him with the only image of him Top Rank made available after his appearance on Saturday’s Lomachenko vs Commey card. We’ve all had to pick ourselves up at some time.
That said, the image is somewhat apropos in light of where Williams, the previously undefeated Super Welterweight, now finds himself after a disappointing loss. The first of his career. A fighter has to be able to move forward and put setbacks behind them.
Please don’t feel sorry for me it’s boxing I lost. – Michael “Boy Wonder/150%” Williams Jr.
Williams fought undefeated John Bauza (16-0, 7 KOs) on the ESPN+ portion of the card. I was interested in the fight because I was aware of Williams, his father and his story, from following his account on Instagram. I was aware that the bout was his debut on “TV.” And, when I saw Fayetteville, North Carolina I thought about connecting him to J Cole’s Dreamville – since it was his first fight under bigger lights.
Unfortunately, once the bell sounded, the moment went awry for the young man. Bauza dropped Williams in the first round. Williams went down once in each of the two ensuing rounds. In the fourth round, a couple more knockdowns occurred before a smashing left hand from the Puerto Rico native dropped Williams and forced referee Charlie Fitch to halt the bout at 2:19.
In Williams’ defense, he may have been a little overmatched Saturday night. Despite having a KO ratio below 50 percent, Bauza dropped Christon Edwards in the first round of their ESPN+-streamed bout in June. Edwards went down a second time and was stopped at :40 into Round 2. Only Welterweight Alexander Besputin had retired Edwards back in April 2016.
There is no slick meme or social media phrase to say to lessen the optics of Williams’ performance. He didn’t perform like the fighter his 19-0 record suggested. Beyond the five knockdowns, he was stopped inside the distance. Williams, with 12 knockouts in his 19 wins, never managed to get in much payback for the blows landed on him.
After the fight, the young man shared his reaction to his supporters. From his Instagram account @michaelwilliamsjrtheboxer the North Carolinian shared, “I’m good [praying hands emoji] it was a good tough fight.”
That’s an honest moment from Michael Williams Jr. the boxer. The IG post represented some extreme transparency, especially in a sport where 90 percent of everything is mostly for show – or the ‘Gram in 2021. We really don’t know what a fighter goes through mentally after being knocked down for the first time. Multiple knockdowns – in a television debut – has to be worst. Being stopped inside the distance? Some fighters have disactivated their accounts on the ‘Gram after a humiliating loss.
Michael Williams the boxer got back up to his feet, and remerged a couple of days later as Michael Williams the new Fayetteville Police Officer.
View this post on Instagram
You can read what his letter from the Fayetteville, NC Police Department stated in the image above. In the post’s caption Williams expressed gratitude towards his following’s continued support. He reiterated he is a better fighter than how he looked in his outing. He attributed some of his performance to a difficult weight cut, and stated his return would be at a higher weight.
Williams recognized Bauza for his victory which was preceded by, “Please don’t feel sorry for me it’s boxing I lost.”
Fayetteville’s PD’s letter mentioned the usual expectation of an officer to serve, respect, and honor its citizens with dedication to the profession. After witnessing Williams’ perseverance Saturday night, in the face of adversity, I foresee the young man being successful in his new duties because, in reading between the lines of his words, I sense he possesses the quality of integrity. I fully expect him to regularly give “150” percent.
Of course, while also continuing to protect himself at all times. I also look forward to seeing him back in action once he returns to the ring.
Personally it’s awesome to see over 4,000 fans like Williams’ fight night Instagram post, and nearly another 2,500 like his post about his new career. As always from BDB, Boy Wonder – Don’t let them count you out!
Featured image by Mikey Williams/Top Rank