Carl 'The Truth' Williams dies

Updated: April 16, 2013, 3:45 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Former heavyweight Carl "The Truth" Williams, who took Larry Holmes 15 rounds before losing a controversial decision for the IBF title in 1985, has died. He was 53.

Williams died April 7 in Valhalla, N.Y., according to The New York Times. His sister, Shirl Parsons, told the newspaper that her brother died of complications from throat cancer.

Williams retired in 1997. He won 21 fights by knockout and finished with a career record of 30-10.

"He was a phenomenal fighter with a big heart," Roy Jones Jr. said of Williams, according to The Times. "What earned him the greatest amount of respect was the fact that he never ducked anyone."

Williams acquired his nickname for his ability to make believers of his opponents, particularly Holmes, and critics, too.

Holmes and Williams met in Reno, Nev., in May 1985. Williams won his first 16 fights as a pro but was still a relative unknown as he went toe to toe with Holmes with the IBF title on the line.

"I underestimated the Truth that night," Holmes told The Times on Monday. "When I jabbed, he jabbed. We both had similar styles. It was like looking at myself in a mirror. He was strong and tall with a great reach, and I was fortunate enough to wear him down late with a few hard body blows, but not before he gave me a black eye. He really had my number."

According to The Times, Williams won six of his next seven fights, the last a victory over Bert Cooper in 1987 for the USBA heavyweight title. He defended the crown three times before getting knocked out by Mike Tyson just 93 seconds into their July 1989 fight in Atlantic City.