CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Sanderline Williams still puts on the gloves every once in a while, even if they’re borrowed, and a bit small, because at one time, boxing was the biggest thing in his life.
“When I was younger, boxing was the most important thing in my life, and I gave my all to be successful”, Williams told me on Friday. “I went into boxing as a way out. I wanted it all...money, fame...I wanted all of that.”
Sanderline never reached the mountaintop in his sports, but he had his chances. He climed into the ring almost 40 times as a professional, fighting 7 future world champions.
More than a few people thought he won a few of those, but those other fighters had a distinct advantage over him. That was their full-time gig. He had another full-time gig on the side.
"Yes, I had to pay the bills. I was a cook.”
Many of his fights were scheduled well in advance, but others were short-notice, including the time he was called to James Toney, who’d go on to hold championship belts in four different weight classes, on three days notice.
By 1991, Williams had had enough.
Besides, he was ready for the next chapter of his life.
Fatherhood. And a son who’d turn out to be a future NFL draft pick, Dre’mont Jones.
“I’m on top of the world right now, to see my son play in the NFL”, Williams says. “He’ll achieve the ultimate dream, to really excel in a sport. I really excelled in a sport, but didn’t get the money. But he will get both.”
Sanderline said he never pushed Dre towards the ring, but would have trained him if that was the path.
Instead, it was football, at St. Ignatius, then Ohio State, and now with the Denver Broncos, who drafted the Ohio State defensive end in the third round back in April, and who just happen to play the Browns again this year.
I asked Williams, a life-long Browns fan, who he’ll be rooting for.
“My favorite team”, Williams answered with a laugh. “The Broncos. I have to cheat. They (Browns) could have taken him, but they didn’t, so now I have to cheat."