Two-time welterweight world champion Paul Williams suffered spinal injuries that could end his boxing career in a motorcycle crash in Atlanta at the weekend, US media reported.
Promoter Dan Goossen told the Los Angeles Times that Williams has no feeling below his waist and was scheduled to undergo surgery on Wednesday.
Goossen told the newspaper that he had been told that Williams apparently swerved to avoid contact with a vehicle on Sunday and lost control of his motorcycle.
"Riding a motorcycle can be treacherous," Goossen said. "I'm told Paul is in good spirits considering what has happened."
Goossen told USA Today that he had been told by Williams' trainer and manager, George Peterson, that the fighter isn't expected to walk again.
"I don't know the specifics about the spinal cord being severed. I do know that I've been told by George that he will never walk again," Goossen said, adding that he still held out hope that Williams would defy the odds.
Peterson, told WRDW-TV in Atlanta that the surgery on Wednesday would be to stabilize the upper half of the fighter's spine.
The accident comes just a week after it was announced that Williams would challenge World Boxing Council welterweight world champion Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, Mexico's rising star, on September 15 in Las Vegas.
The respected Williams owns a career record of 41-2, with 27 knockouts.
He won his first welterweight title with a decision over Antonio Margarito in July of 2007. In his first defence in February of 2008 he was upset by Carlos Quintana, but rebounded to win their rematch four months later and regain the title.
He is also a former interim junior middleweight world champion, and notched a majority decision in a non-title bout over Sergio Martinez, who went on to win a middleweight crown.