Tramaine Williams has been long considered a solid prospect for years at 122 pounds and on the verge of being a contender.
But legal issues has plagued his career, nearly ending it as he was being looked at as someone not worth having on your promotional company. Having already been dropped from Top Rank Boxing and had multiple stints in prison, with his last jail sentence ending in October 2018.
Now a free man once more, Williams will return to the ring on February 23 when he faces off against former world title challenger Jose Alfredo Rodriguez. In an exclusive interview with Fightful, Williams, now promoted by Roc Nation, said he understands he is at the point of his career where it is hanging by a thread due to his past legal issues.
“The fact that I was so close and I lost [my momentum] so fast and it was taken from me, from under my feet almost like a rug. I felt like Roc Nation would drop me, but they didn’t. This is the time for me to step up. How many times are they going to give me another chance? If you really think about it, I’ve had like five chances and there’s going to be a time when they’re not going to give men another chance. That’s what I’m afraid,” Williams said.
The troubles started in April 2014 when he was sentenced to prison for two-and-a-half years for possession of an assault weapon and possession of narcotics. After an early release, Williams would continue his career until he would face legal issues once more.
It’s been almost a year since Williams last fought and although it is not the first time he has had a long hiatus, but the 26-year-old admits that he is a little bit anxious. After all, every fight from here onwards, is now more of a must-win than ever before.
But the Connecticut native isn’t looking for any sympathy at all. He understands that he dug a hole for himself and that it’s gotten deeper throughout his career, despite an unbeaten record after 16 bouts (one bout in 2013 ended in a no decision). It is now up to Williams to climb back up from that hole and get his career back on track. Quoting Robert De Niro’s 1993 film “A Bronx Tale,” Williams said “the saddest thing in life is wasted talent,” which is what he feels is the opinion of some people within the sport every time Williams goes to jail.
“To a degree, I was a liability and had a stigma to my name so now I go back to jail and now people are saying I’m wasted talent. A loss is something I can’t have at all. I have to get ready of that stigma 100 percent and I’m willing to do it because I put myself in this predicament to have to climb back up in the ladder. Since I put myself in this predicament, I’m ready to take on any challenge,” Williams said.
Going back to the ring, Williams hopes to eventually fight for a title, whether it be a regional or world title, at some point in 2019. It all starts with a win over Rodriguez. But a win won’t just be enough for Williams. He wants to make a statement to the rest of the division by knocking out Rodriguez.
“I will fight anybody from 122 to 126 and I’ll fight anybody with a title. Whichever one will take me because I’m a high-risk, low-reward guy. Whoever steps in the ring with me and willing to put their record and title on the line, I’ll take him on. This is the third time where I had a little layoff. I still feel the same. I’m still feeling fast, fresh and strong. I think I’m more mature now,” Williams said.
Williams is certainly confident of his skills inside the ring, but his success hinges on how he behaves outside of the ring.