Williams was a staple in big heavyweight match ups in the late 1980’s and early 90’s, meeting top contenders such as Trevor Berbick, James Tillis, Mike Weaver, Tim Witherspoon, and Tommy Morrison. He had also challenged twice for the world heavyweight championship. He was also a regular on USA Network’s Tuesday Night Fights program.
Both of Williams’s title challenges ended with hints of controversy. In 1985 he met Larry Holmes for Holmes’ IBF heavyweight title. Williams took the undefeated champion the 15 round distance in what was one of his best career performances before losing via unanimous decision, though many felt Williams had done enough to score the upset.
He would challenge for the world heavyweight crown a second time in 1989, facing the “most dangerous man on the planet”, undefeated Mike Tyson for the WBC, WBA and IBF belts that were held by Tyson. Williams was dropped in the first round, but beat the count only to have the fight waved off by referee Randy Neumann. Williams, and many others including the HBO broadcast team and even Tyson himself, were surprised by the stoppage as Williams appeared clear headed and was standing up straight despite Neumann’s claims that he was supporting himself on the ring ropes. From that night on, “The Truth” had always maintained his claim that he could have continued.
In a 15 year professional career, Williams retied after a 1997 loss to Anthony Green with a final record of 30-10 with 21 knockouts.