|Real name||Buster Mathis|
|Height||6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)|
|Reach||76 in (193 cm)|
June 11, 1943|
|Died||September 6, 1995
Grand Rapids, Michigan
|Wins by KO||21|
Buster Mathis (June 11, 1943 – September 6, 1995) was a boxer who had a very successful career as an amateur heavyweight boxer. He qualified for a spot in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. However, he was injured and was unable to compete there. Instead of him, the fighter Mathis beat in the Olympic Trials went to the Olympics. This fighter was the legendary Joe Frazier, who went on to win the gold medal.
Mathis was an impressive hulking figure who often fought at around 245lbs. He was surprisingly agile, with good boxing skill and respected power. His combination punches were fast and accurate too.
Mathis turned professional in June 1965 with a second round knockout victory over Bob Maynard. Buster Mathis went on to win his next 22 contests as well and qualified for a shot at the New York State Athletic Commission World Heavyweight Title, which had become vacant after Muhammad Ali was stripped of the title for refusing to be drafted into the United States army.
The Title fight was to be held March 4, 1968 in New York's Madison Square Garden against 'smoking' Joe Frazier, his old rival. Both boxers were unbeaten as professionals, so tension was high. Ring magazine noted that Mathis had built up useful experience on a range of mostly competent but non ranked opponents, whilst Frazier had been thrown in the deep end early and by now had battled several top names. This may have had a telling outcome in the contest.
Mathis made a promising start in the fight. He was ahead at midpoint, but the gap narrowed a lot with the sheer pressure from a determined Frazier in the later rounds. The end came suddenly when a single short thudding left hook landed as Mathis advanced. It won the fight by 11th-round knockout for Frazier.
Buster Mathis continued to fight in the following years, outpointing highly regarded ironman George Chuvalo, but losing on points to Jerry Quarry - a fight Mathis was favoured to win. Mathis retired after losing to Quarry in 1969, but returned in 1971 to box Muhammad Ali for the NABF belt, losing on points over 12 rounds. Ali was later criticized for not finishing Mathis in the final rounds of the fight.
After Mathis was knocked out in just three rounds in August 1972 by fast-rising puncher Ron Lyle, he decided to retire for good from boxing.
Mathis suffered from various health problems in later years, such as diabetes and kidney problems. A 1980 Sports Illustrated article featured interviews with Mathis and many of Muhammad Ali's other opponents. It reported Mathis worked in the trucking business after he retired from the ring. The former pugilist later suffered a heart attack and two strokes. His compulsive eating had ballooned his weight to 550 pounds and, in 1995, he died of a heart attack at age of 52. A Ring magazine tribute noted he was really an easy going guy and perhaps too nice for the boxing game.
Professional boxing record
|30 Wins (21 knockouts, 9 decisions), 4 Losses (2 knockouts, 2 decisions)|
|Loss||30–4||Ron Lyle||KO||2||29 Sep 1972||Denver Coliseum, Denver, Colorado||Mathis knocked out at 2:58 of the second round.|
|Win||30–3||Humphrey McBride||TKO||3||5 Sep 1972||Oklahoma City, Oklahoma||World Super Heavyweight Title. Referee stopped the bout at 1:34 of the third round.|
|Loss||29–3||Muhammad Ali||UD||12||17 Nov 1971||Astrodome, Houston, Texas||WBC NABF Heavyweight Title. 105-118, 104-118, 108-119.|
|Loss||29–2||Jerry Quarry||UD||12||24 Mar 1969||Madison Square Garden, New York City||2-9, 1-10, 1-10.|
|Win||29–1||George Chuvalo||UD||12||3 Feb 1969||Madison Square Garden, New York City||10-2, 9-3, 8-3.|
|Win||28–1||J.J. Woody||TKO||6||26 Sep 1968||Madison Square Garden, New York City||Referee stopped the bout at 2:59 of the sixth round.|
|Win||27–1||Dick Wipperman||UD||10||16 Sep 1968||County Stadium, Milwaukee, Wisconsin|
|Win||26–1||Amos Lincoln||SD||10||5 Sep 1968||Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California||9-1, 11-0, 4-5.|
|Win||25–1||J.J. Beattie||TKO||7||25 Jul 1968||Met Center, Bloomington, Minnesota|
|Win||24–1||M.J. Turnbow||TKO||7||30 Apr 1968||Miami Beach Auditorium, Miami Beach, Florida||Referee stopped the bout at 2:44 of the seventh round.|
|Loss||23–1||Joe Frazier||TKO||11||4 Mar 1968||Madison Square Garden, New York City||NYSAC World Heavyweight Title. Referee stopped the bout at 2:33 of the 11th round.|
|Win||23–0||Gerry de Bruyn||KO||1||26 Dec 1967||Frolundaborg, Gothenburg||Bruyn knocked out at 0:36 of the first round.|
|Win||22–0||Roberto Davila||TKO||7||18 Nov 1967||Johanneshov, Stockholm|
|Win||21–0||Ron Marsh||TKO||4||18 Sep 1967||Madison Square Garden, New York City||Referee stopped the bout at 1:13 of the fourth round.|
|Win||20–0||Wayne Heath||KO||5||2 Aug 1967||Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, Los Angeles, California||Heath knocked out at 1:16 of the fifth round.|
|Win||19–0||Sonny S.D. Moore||TKO||5||23 May 1967||Saint Louis, Missouri||Referee stopped the bout at 2:09 of the fifth round.|
|Win||18–0||Ed "Baker Boy" Hurley||KO||1||12 May 1967||Detroit, Michigan|
|Win||17–0||Waban Thomas||KO||1||6 Feb 1967||Astrodome, Houston, Texas||Thomas knocked out at 2:23 of the first round.|
|Win||16–0||E.S. Andrews||KO||2||17 Nov 1966||Portland Exposition Building, Portland, Maine||Andrews knocked out at 2:10 of the second round.|
|Win||15–0||Johnny Barazza||KO||1||2 Nov 1966||Civic Center, Grand Rapids, Michigan|
|Win||14–0||Earl Averette||TKO||3||28 Sep 1966||Cambria County War Memorial Arena, Johnstown, Pennsylvania|
|Win||13–0||Bob Stallings||SD||10||15 Sep 1966||Armory, Akron, Ohio|
|Win||12–0||Mert Brownfield||KO||1||29 Aug 1966||Cobo Arena, Detroit, Michigan|
|Win||11–0||Charley E. Chase||UD||6||28 Jul 1966||Portland Exposition Building, Portland, Maine|
|Win||10–0||Everett Copeland||KO||2||23 Jun 1966||Madison Square Garden, New York City||Copeland knocked out at 2:27 of the second round.|
|Win||9–0||Tom Swift||KO||1||16 Jun 1966||Portland Exposition Building, Portland, Maine|
|Win||8–0||Charley Polite||PTS||6||16 Feb 1966||Westchester County Center, White Plains, New York|
|Win||7–0||Mike Bruce||TKO||5||19 Jan 1966||Westchester County Center, White Plains, New York|
|Win||6–0||Chuck Wepner||TKO||3||7 Jan 1966||Madison Square Garden, New York City||Referee stopped the bout at 1:58 of the third round.|
|Win||5–0||Charlie Lee||PTS||6||15 Dec 1965||Westchester County Center, White Plains, New York|
|Win||4–0||Bob Stallings||UD||6||23 Sep 1965||Grand Rapids, Michigan|
|Win||3–0||Bob Maynard||PTS||4||30 Aug 1965||Paul Sauve Arena, Montreal, Quebec|
|Win||2–0||Johnny Shore||TKO||2||28 Aug 1965||Rock Island, Quebec||Referee stopped the bout at 2:45 of the second round.|
|Win||1–0||Bob Maynard||TKO||2||28 Jun 1965||Paul Sauve Arena, Montreal, Quebec|
- Maule, Tex (1971-11-09). "Got To Look Good To Allah". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2012-02-15.