He was 53.
Williams fought the two great heavyweight champions of the 1980s, with drastically different results.
With just 16 professional fights under his belt, the six-foot-four Williams frustrated Larry Holmes with his long reach and jab, losing a controversial 15-round split decision for the International Boxing Federation title in May 1985.
The Queens, N.Y. native won the New York Golden Gloves as an amateur and possessed a remarkable 85-inch reach, but was dogged against the top heavyweights by a suspect chin.
Just two fights after the narrow miss against Holmes, Williams hurt Mike Weaver and moved in for a follow-up flurry, only to be levelled by a left hook that led to a second round stoppage loss.
He rebounded with wins over Bert Cooper and Canadian Trevor Berbick to earn a shot at undisputed champ Mike Tyson in 1989.
Williams was disposed of in just 93 seconds, complaining bitterly on wobbly legs as the referee stopped the contest after just one knockdown.
The fight was also notable because it seemed no one on the horizon would trouble the intidimating Tyson, when in fact he would go on in his very next week to suffer one of the greatest upsets in sports history against James (Buster) Douglas.
Williams never reached serious contention again, fighting and losing to the likes of Tim Witherspoon, Tommy Morrison and Frunk Bruno.
He fought for the last time in 1997, retiring with a 30-10 record (21 knockouts) and reportedly worked as a security guard after his career.