Cleveland Williams

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Cleveland Williams
Statistics
Real nameCleveland Williams
Nickname(s)Big Cat
Weight(s)Heavyweight
Height6 ft 2 in (188 cm)
Nationality American
Born(1933-06-30)June 30, 1933
Griffin, Georgia
DiedSeptember 3, 1999(1999-09-03) (aged 66)
Houston, Texas
Boxing record
Total fights94
Wins80
Wins by KO60
Losses13
Draws1

Cleveland "Big Cat" Williams (June 30, 1933 – September 3, 1999) was a 20th-century American heavyweight boxer. A Ring magazine poll rated him as one of the finest boxers never to win a title.

Early boxing career[edit]

Williams turned professional in 1951 and fought many of the best heavyweights of his era. During the late 1950s and early 1960s, the 6 ft 2 in[1] Williams was a top-rated heavyweight. His quest to obtain a title fight, however, was consistently derailed. First he was knocked out by Liston on April 15, 1959, after hurting Liston early and breaking Liston's nose. Williams recovered from the Liston fight to score more wins, but was again stopped by Liston in two rounds in their rematch on March 21, 1960. His quest for the title was later stalled when he was held to a draw by Eddie Machen on July 10, 1962, and when he dropped a split decision on March 13, 1963 to Ernie Terrell, a fighter he had previously knocked out in seven rounds in 1962. During this time frame, he defeated Billy Daniels.

Police shooting incident[edit]

On the evening of November 29, 1964, during the height of the civil unrest of the American Civil Rights Movement, a car driven by Williams was stopped near Houston, Texas, by highway Patrolman Dale Witten, who stated afterwards Williams was speeding. According to the police report Williams resisted arrest, and the officer's .357 magnum revolver went off during an ensuing struggle, hitting Williams in the stomach and lodging in his right hip. Williams had to undergo four operations in the next seven months for colon damage and an injured right kidney. The right kidney had to be removed in June 1965. Doctors could not extract the bullet, which had broken his right hip joint and caused partial paralysis of some of the hip's muscles, he also lost of over 10 feet (3.0 m) of his small intestine, and sustained nerve damage which affected his left leg above the knee and caused it to atrophy as a result.[2] Hugh Benbow, his manager, and Sonny Liston, former world champion, visited Cleveland Williams in the hospital. After his partial recovery Williams was fined $50 and briefly jailed after pleading no contest to charges arising from the incident. (Patrolman Witten visited Williams to wish him luck the day before his 1966 fight with Muhammad Ali, with both men saying they had "no hard feelings" toward the other).[3]

Recovery and return to boxing[edit]

The injury, surgeries and subsequent convalescence caused Williams to lose over 60 pounds, and over 17 months of his career. He regained his weight and strength by tossing 80-pound bales of hay daily on a cattle ranch till he had regained his fighting weight and physique. On February 8, 1966, Williams received a standing ovation from the Houston crowd as he returned to the ring, and knocked out Ben Black in the first round.[4]

Williams competed for the heavyweight championship against Muhammad Ali on November 14, 1966, but was badly outclassed, and was knocked down twice in the third round ending the match. Williams retired from boxing after the 1966 Championship defeat, but later made a comeback. Although able to defeat journeymen fighters, he suffered several knockout losses before retiring permanently in 1972.

Later life[edit]

The Ring in the 1980s reported he worked as a forklift truck driver in his later years.[citation needed]

Death[edit]

On 3 September 1999 Williams was knocked down by a car in a hit and run accident whilst walking across a street in Houston, Texas; he died of the injuries sustained at the Ben Taub Hospital on 15 September 1999 at the age of 66.[5] Williams's body was buried in Paradise North Cemetery in Houston.[6]

Tributes[edit]

He ended his career with a record of 78 wins (58 KOs), 13 losses and 1 draw. George Foreman interviewed in retirement described Williams as possessing one of the three hardest punches he had experienced professionally, also stating that he and Williams had been sparring partners in their early careers.[citation needed] George Chuvalo also said Williams was one of the hardest punchers he had faced in his own professional career. Williams, aged 38, was decisioned by veteran Chuvalo over 10 rounds at the Astrodome in Houston, Texas, in November 1971.[7]

In 2003 Williams was ranked 49th in The Ring's list of 100 greatest punchers of all time.

Professional boxing record[edit]

78 Wins (58 knockouts, 20 decisions), 13 Losses (8 knockouts, 5 decisions), 1 Draw [8]
Result Record Opponent Type Round Date Location Notes
Win 78–13–1 Peru Roberto Davila UD 10 October 28, 1972 United States Denver, Colorado
Win 77–13–1 United States Bob Mashburn KO 9 July 10, 1972 United States Denver, Colorado Mashburn knocked out at 0:51 of the ninth round.
Win 76–13–1 United States Terry Daniels UD 12 May 11, 1972 United States Dallas Memorial Auditorium, Dallas, Texas Texas Heavyweight Title.
Loss 75–13–1 Canada George Chuvalo UD 10 November 17, 1971 United States Astrodome, Houston, Texas 93–98, 94–97, 93–98
Loss 75–12–1 United States Jack O'Halloran SD 10 September 21, 1971 United States Houston, Texas
Win 75–11–1 United States Ted Gullick MD 10 April 28, 1971 United States Cleveland Arena, Cleveland, Ohio 46–46, 47–43, 48–46
Loss 74–11–1 United States Al "Blue" Lewis TKO 4 October 21, 1970 United States Cobo Arena, Detroit, Michigan
Win 74–10–1 Peru Roberto Davila UD 10 May 26, 1970 United States Milwaukee Auditorium, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 98–94, 99–91, 97–94
Win 73–10–1 United States Eddie Brooks KO 1 April 14, 1970 United States Milwaukee Auditorium, Milwaukee, Wisconsin Brooks knocked out at 2:49 of the first round.
Win 72–10–1 United States Leroy Caldwell TKO 10 December 9, 1969 United States Orlando, Florida
Loss 71–10–1 United States Mac Foster KO 3 November 18, 1969 United States Sam Houston Coliseum, Houston, Texas
Loss 71–9–1 United States Mac Foster TKO 5 September 13, 1969 United States Selland Arena, Fresno, California Referee stopped the bout at 1:35 of the fifth round.
Loss 71–8–1 United States Al Jones TKO 8 May 20, 1969 United States Miami Beach Convention Hall, Miami Beach, Florida Referee stopped the bout at 0:11 of the eighth round.
Win 71–7–1 United States Charley Polite UD 10 March 18, 1969 United States Sam Houston Coliseum, Houston, Texas
Loss 70–7–1 Canada Bob Cleroux UD 10 November 21, 1968 Canada Montreal Forum, Montreal, Canada 45–47, 44–49, 47–49
Win 70–6–1 United States Moses Harrell TKO 7 October 7, 1968 United States Fort Homer W. Hesterly Armory, Tampa, Florida
Win 69–6–1 Canada Jean-Claude Roy UD 10 August 6, 1968 United States Houston, Texas
Win 68–6–1 Canada Leslie Borden KO 1 June 25, 1968 United States Sam Houston Coliseum, Houston, Texas
Win 67–6–1 United States Mike Bruce KO 1 June 11, 1968 United States Houston, Texas
Win 66–6–1 United States Roy Crear KO 1 May 21, 1968 United States Sam Houston Coliseum, Houston, Texas
Loss 65–6–1 United States Muhammad Ali TKO 3 November 14, 1966 United States Astrodome, Houston, Texas For WBC, The Ring, and lineal heavyweight titles
Win 65–5–1 United States Tod Herring TKO 3 June 28, 1966 United States Sam Houston Coliseum, Houston, Texas
Win 64–5–1 United States Sonny "Policeman" Moore PTS 10 April 19, 1966 United States Houston, Texas
Win 63–5–1 United States M.J. Turnbow UD 10 March 22, 1966 United States Houston, Texas
Win 62–5–1 United States "Big" Ben Black KO 1 February 8, 1966 United States Houston, Texas
Win 61–5–1 United States Billy "The Barber" Daniels PTS 10 September 30, 1964 United States Houston, Texas
Win 60–5–1 United States Sonny Banks KO 6 July 21, 1964 United States Houston, Texas
Win 59–5–1 United States Tommy Fields PTS 10 April 7, 1964 United States Houston, Texas
Win 58–5–1 United States Roger Rischer KO 3 October 8, 1963 United States Houston, Texas
Win 57–5–1 United States Kirk Barrow KO 3 August 13, 1963 United States Houston, Texas
Loss 56–5–1 United States Ernie Terrell SD 10 April 13, 1963 United States Philadelphia Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 44–46, 46–44, 44–46
Win 56–4–1 United States Young Jack Johnson TKO 10 April 2, 1963 United States Sam Houston Coliseum, Houston, Texas
Win 55–4–1 United States Billy Daniels UD 10 March 9, 1963 United States Miami Beach Convention Hall, Miami Beach, Florida 97–92, 98–93, 98–91
Win 54–4–1 United States David E. Bailey KO 5 October 23, 1962 United States Houston, Texas
Draw 53–4–1 United States Eddie Machen MD 10 July 10, 1962 United States Sam Houston Coliseum, Houston, Texas 96–96, 96–96, 97–94
Win 53–4 United States Alonzo Johnson KO 1 May 15, 1962 United States Houston, Texas
Win 52–4 United States Ernie Terrell TKO 7 April 3, 1962 United States Houston, Texas Referee stopped the bout at 1:43 of the seventh round.
Win 51–4 United States Jim Wyley KO 1 December 19, 1961 United States Sam Houston Coliseum, Houston, Texas Wyley knocked out at 0:44 of the first round.
Win 50–4 Argentina Alex Miteff TKO 5 May 16, 1961 United States Sam Houston Coliseum, Houston, Texas Referee stopped the bout at 1:32 of the fifth round.
Win 49–4 United States Wayne Bethea PTS 10 February 7, 1961 United States Houston, Texas
Win 48–4 United States Johnny Hayden KO 2 December 7, 1960 United States Miami Beach Auditorium, Miami Beach, Florida
Win 47–4 United States George Moore KO 4 November 1, 1960 United States Houston, Texas
Win 46–4 United States "Big" Ben Marshall KO 2 October 24, 1960 United States Dallas Memorial Auditorium, Dallas, Texas Marshall knocked out at 2:24 of the second round.
Loss 45–4 United States Sonny Liston TKO 2 March 21, 1960 United States Sam Houston Coliseum, Houston, Texas Referee stopped the bout at 2:13 of the second round.
Win 45–3 United States Curley Lee KO 10 October 14, 1959 United States Sam Houston Coliseum, Houston, Texas Lee knocked out at 0:58 of the tenth round.
Win 44–3 United States Ernie Cab KO 3 May 26, 1959 United States Sam Houston Coliseum, Houston, Texas Cab knocked out at 1:05 of the third round.
Loss 43–3 United States Sonny Liston TKO 3 April 15, 1959 United States Miami Beach Auditorium, Miami Beach, Florida Referee stopped the bout at 2:13 of the third round.
Win 43–2 United States Ollie Wilson KO 3 January 13, 1959 United States Houston, Texas Wilson knocked out at 1:36 of the third round.
Win 42–2 United States Howie Turner PTS 10 December 9, 1958 United States Houston, Texas
Win 41–2 United States Frankie Daniels UD 10 June 3, 1958 United States Houston, Texas
Win 40–2 Wales Dick Richardson DQ 4 March 25, 1958 United Kingdom Empress Hall, Earl's Court, Kensington, London
Win 39–2 United States Gene "Rock" White TKO 1 February 4, 1958 United States Houston, Texas Referee stopped the bout at 2:38 of the first round.
Win 38–2 United States Frankie Daniels UD 10 December 3, 1957 United States Miami Beach Auditorium, Miami Beach, Florida
Win 37–2 United States John Holman KO 7 October 15, 1957 United States Houston, Texas
Win 36–2 United States Bob Albright KO 7 September 17, 1957 United States Houston, Texas
Win 35–2 United States Clifford Gray KO 1 July 23, 1957 United States Houston, Texas
Win 34–2 United States J.D. Marshall KO 2 July 15, 1957 United States Tyler, Texas
Win 33–2 United States Johnny Mason KO 1 June 11, 1957 United States Houston, Texas
Win 32–2 United States Johnny Hollins KO 3 August 6, 1956 United States City Coliseum, Austin, Texas
Loss 31–2 United States Bob Satterfield KO 3 June 22, 1954 United States Miami Beach Auditorium, Miami Beach, Florida
Win 31–1 United States Sylvester Jones KO 7 June 8, 1954 United States Tampa, Florida
Win 30–1 Bermuda Jimmy Walls TKO 1 March 9, 1954 United States Tampa, Florida
Win 29–1 United States Claude Rolfe KO 3 October 21, 1953 United States Charlotte, North Carolina
Win 28–1 United States Bo Willis KO 2 October 20, 1953 United States Miami Beach Auditorium, Miami Beach, Florida
Loss 27–1 United States Sylvester Jones PTS 4 September 24, 1953 United States Polo Grounds, New York City
Win 27–0 United States Keene Simmons PTS 10 September 2, 1953 United States Tampa, Florida
Win 26–0 Cuba Omelio Agramonte PTS 10 May 12, 1953 United States Tampa, Florida
Win 25–0 United States Ponce DeLeon Taylor KO 2 March 24, 1953 United States Tampa, Florida
Win 24–0 United Kingdom Terry O'Connor KO 3 March 12, 1953 United States Minneapolis, Minnesota
Win 23–0 United States Ponce DeLeon Taylor PTS 8 March 4, 1953 United States Miami Stadium, Miami, Florida
Win 22–0 United States Abie Gibson KO 1 January 13, 1953 United States Fort Homer W. Hesterly Armory, Tampa, Florida
Win 21–0 United States Graveyard Walters KO 2 December 8, 1952 United States Daytona Beach, Florida
Win 20–0 United States Claude Rolfe KO 9 November 25, 1952 United States Tampa, Florida
Win 19–0 United States Johnny Hollins KO 1 October 3, 1952 United States Coliseum Arena, New Orleans, Louisiana Hollins knocked out at 2:48 of the first round.
Win 18–0 United States J.J. McFadden KO 6 September 23, 1952 United States Philadelphia Municipal Stadium, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Win 17–0 United States Art Henri TKO 8 September 16, 1952 United States Miami Beach, Florida
Win 16–0 United States Roosevelt Holmes KO 1 September 12, 1952 United States Coliseum Arena, New Orleans, Louisiana Holmes knocked out at 2:10 of the first round.
Win 15–0 United States Baby Booze KO 1 September 2, 1952 United States Tampa, Florida
Win 14–0 United States Candy McDaniels KO 2 August 12, 1952 United States Miami Beach Auditorium, Miami Beach, Florida
Win 13–0 United States Sam Harold KO 4 July 25, 1952 United States Macon, Georgia
Win 12–0 United States Lee Raymond TKO 5 July 22, 1952 United States Miami Beach Auditorium, Miami Beach, Florida
Win 11–0 United States Jimmy Felton KO 3 July 8, 1952 United States Miami Beach Auditorium, Miami Beach, Florida
Win 10–0 United States Eddie Lee Williams KO 1 June 24, 1952 United States Daytona Beach, Florida
Win 9–0 United States Harry Turner KO 1 June 17, 1952 United States Tampa, Florida
Win 8–0 United States Paul Favrot KO 4 June 10, 1952 United States Tampa, Florida
Win 7–0 United States Ray Brown KO 3 May 28, 1952 United States Miami Beach Auditorium, Miami Beach, Florida
Win 6–0 United States Johnny Fowler KO 5 April 15, 1952 United States Tampa, Florida
Win 5–0 United States Ray Banks KO 1 March 28, 1952 United States Coliseum Arena, New Orleans, Louisiana Banks knocked out at 1:35 of the first round.
Win 4–0 United States Roosevelt Holmes UD 6 February 29, 1952 United States Coliseum Arena, New Orleans, Louisiana
Win 3–0 United States Rudolph Wood KO 2 February 26, 1952 United States Fort Homer W. Hesterly Armory, Tampa, Florida
Win 2–0 United States Ray Banks TKO 1 February 15, 1952 United States Coliseum Arena, New Orleans, Louisiana
Win 1–0 United States Lee Hunt KO 3 December 11, 1951 United States Tampa, Florida

References[edit]

  1. ^ BoxRec, Cleveland Williams.
  2. ^ https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1499&dat=19641130&id=6FUaAAAAIBAJ&sjid=iycEAAAAIBAJ&pg=5058,6536612&hl=en
  3. ^ "Williams, Patrolman Meet Again—as Pals". The Spokesman-Review. Associated Press. November 14, 1966.
  4. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/1999/09/15/sports/cleveland-williams-66-loser-to-ali-for-title-dies.html
  5. ^ 'Cleveland Williams Dies', New York Times, 15 September 1999. https://www.nytimes.com/1999/09/15/sports/cleveland-williams-66-loser-to-ali-for-title-dies.html
  6. ^ Entry for Williams' grave in Findagrave website (2019). https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/6715/cleveland-williams
  7. ^ http://boxrec.com/boxer/9382
  8. ^ http://boxrec.com/list_bouts.php?human_id=9382&cat=boxer
  • ALI's DOZEN, ESPN Home Entertainment/Genius Entertainment, 2007.

External links[edit]