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It’s a Dream for Danny Williams

BY Rick Folstad ON October 21, 2004
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Tie your jaw on a little tighter, Danny Williams. Go to the gym a little earlier, work a little harder and stay there a little longer.

Avoid fatty foods, late nights, hard booze and friends who like to party.

Don't get too cocky or over confident or start talking trash.

This ain't Mike Tyson your fighting. Vitali Klitschko is arguably the best heavyweight in the world, though you're lucky it's 2004 instead of 1974. Thirty years ago, the only way you or Vitali could have gotten into Madison Square Garden for a heavyweight title fight is with a couple of tickets.

But today, all you have to do to fight for what used to be the greatest title in the world is beat Mike Tyson. And you did it in July.

Good luck, Danny Boy.

How good is Williams? Less than a year ago, he lost the British heavyweight title to a guy named Michael Sprott. It was a close fight, but Sprott pulled it out. Now, the guy Sprott beat last January, is scheduled to fight Klitschko for his WBC title on Dec. 11 at the Garden.

How'd that happen?

If I'm Sprott, I'm asking a lot of tough questions and wondering what I have to do to get a fight with Tyson.

If I'm Williams, I'm saying a few prayers of thanks every night before I pull down the covers.

Williams might just be the second best heavyweight in all of England. That used to be a trivia question for fight fanatics. Today, it's good for a shot at a world title.

"This is an unbelievable dream for me," Williams said at a recent press conference announcing the fight with Klitschko. "To fight in the place that has had so many great fighters - Ali, Dempsey. I'm going to make the most of it."

That's what the rest of us are going to try to do about this fight: make the most of it.

Williams has a good record (32-3, 27 KOs), is coming off a big win over Tyson and he has former heavyweight champ Lennox Lewis whispering in his ear. That might be all he needs to survive into the third round.

As for Klitschko, he's probably saying a few prayers of thanks himself. How'd he get so lucky? Make his first title defense against a guy like Williams?

"He has a strong chin and a big heart," Klitschko said, probably biting his lip. "Many underestimated him against Tyson. He won't be easy to beat."

Wink, wink.

Many people didn't underestimate Williams. Many people over estimated Tyson.

"Danny Williams destroyed my dreams of fighting Mike Tyson," Klitschko said, still trying to keep a straight face. "I was very disappointed he beat Tyson, but I was also very impressed with his fighting."

Chuckle, chuckle.

The truth is, in today's heavyweight division, Williams might just be good enough to beat Klitschko and win a title belt. Then he could join those other heavyweight champions, you know, um', what are their names again?

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