By Brian Grammer
Photos: Bob Barton/Rumble Time Promotions
“Dangerous” Dannie Williams’ life has been a series of second chances. A record of 22-2 with 18 knockouts and seeking a return to the lightweight spotlight, Williams continues to pursue his dream of being a world champion. The former WBC Continental Americas champion lost a tough unanimous decision to then-NABF lightweight titlist, “Hammerin’” Hank Lundy in March 2012, dropping him out of the rankings.
The 2004 national Golden Gloves gold medalist at 132 pounds, Williams amassed a record of 127-27, with one of those wins over an undefeated Brandon Rios. He turned pro in 2005 and had won his first three bouts, all by stoppage.
Life as a young man in North St. Louis then intervened. A conviction for unlawful weapons use resulted in an almost three year stay in a Missouri penitentiary. “They call those places ‘correctional facilities’ for a reason.,” said Williams. “You either get yourself correct or you just end up going back.”
Upon his release in 2008, Williams was approached by Jack Loew about training him. “I saw Dannie in the amateurs and I knew that he hit like a mule.”, Loew once told me, giving Williams that second chance at a career he loves.
“Dangerous” Dannie rolled through his competition for the next 4 years, the only blemish a decision loss at 130 pounds to former super featherweight title challenger, Eloy Perez, with Perez hitting the canvas twice that night.
Knockout after knockout piled up and in 2011, Williams fought five times, the paramount moment a highlight reel 4th round knockout of Antonio Cervantes on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights. The future was certainly bright.
Williams had a couple of tune-up fights prior to his contest with Lundy in March 2012, with two more stoppages. Training was great, he was working with a nutritionist and tuning his body to be in peak condition for Lundy and the stepping stone fight to world title contention.
A knockdown of Hammerin’ Hank in the first further fueled confidence in the fighter and he seemed ready to step into the spotlight. “And then I went flat.”, Williams said. “I couldn’t move like I needed to move and then everything started go.”
Loew said, “The first three rounds of the Lundy fight, that’s what we worked for. Dannie is a puncher and he needs to go forward, moving his head all the time.”
An off-TV bout in November 2012 resulted in another TKO victory, but definitely was not his best effort. “We treated that as an extended sparring session”, Loew said. But now, he is getting another second chance against seasoned veteran, John Molina (24-2, 19 KOs), a fighter who defeated their common opponent, Lundy.
“A loss to Molina on TV after the Lundy loss could make this kid just an opponent, that is how serious this fight is.”, Loew stated. “You usually don’t get that opportunity to go right back on television after a loss like that.”
Dangerous is not just a synonym for how Dannie Williams fights, but also suggests where he sits right now in his career. He knows that he needs a spectacular performance to get back in the rankings, more television appearances, and continuing that run at a world title.
“This fight has all the makings of a fight of the year and knockout of the year”, Williams commented. Knowing that Molina’s last fight, a world title tilt against Antonio DeMarco, ended in just 44 seconds, is on Williams’ mind. “He basically quit. He didn’t throw back, take a knee, nothing. I am looking forward to seeing what he does when I hit him.”
It’s a crossroads fight for both men. That is usually a solid predictor of good things for boxing fans.
This ESPN Friday Night Fights telecast is presented by Goossen Tutor Promotions and Rumble Time Promotions in association with DiBella Entertainment. Tickets are available through www.holdmyticket.com, and are priced between $20-$50. Doors open to The Indian School’s Pueblo Pavilion in Santa Fe at 5:00 pm MST, with a first bell ringing at 6:00 pm and the television telecast going live at 7:00 pm.