Ernie Terrell

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Ernie Terrell
Ernie terrell.jpg
Statistics
Rated at Heavyweight
Height 6 ft 6 in (198 cm)
Reach 82 in (208 cm)
Nationality American
Born (1939-04-04)April 4, 1939
Belzoni, Mississippi, U.S.
Died December 16, 2014(2014-12-16) (aged 75)
Evergreen Park, Illinois, U.S.
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights 55
Wins 46
Wins by KO 21
Losses 9

Ernie Terrell (April 4, 1939 – December 16, 2014) was an American professional boxer who competed from 1957 to 1973. He was the first WBA (previously named the NBA) heavyweight champion, having held the title from 1965 to 1967, and was one of the taller heavyweights of his era, at a height of 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m). Terrell was the older brother of The Supremes' early 1970s lead singer Jean Terrell. In the 1960s, Jean sang with his group Ernie Terrell & the Heavyweights.[1]

Professional career[edit]

In his early career, Terrell defeated some good contenders, including Cleveland Williams (Terrell won the rematch by decision after losing to Williams in their first fight by knockout), Zora Folley, and future Light Heavyweight champion Bob Foster. But he's best remembered for his challenge to World Heavyweight Champion Muhammad Ali, on February 6, 1967—a bout in which he was badly beaten.

Ali was scheduled to fight WBA champion Ernie Terrell (the WBA stripped Ali of his title after his agreement to fight a rematch with Liston) on March 29, but Terrell backed out and Ali won a 15-round decision against substitute opponent George Chuvalo. World Boxing Association matched Terrell and Eddie Machen for the vacant crown. Terrell defeated Machen to win the belt on March 5, 1965. He held it until February 6, 1967 when he lost to Muhammad Ali. During this time, most in the boxing world continued to recognize Ali as the legitimate champion, since he had not lost his championship in a boxing match. The WBA's rival, the World Boxing Council, had also continued to recognize Ali as champion.

During his reign as WBA Champion, Terrell defended the title twice, beating Doug Jones and George Chuvalo.

In February 1967, Ali and Terrell met to end the debate about who was the legitimate heavyweight champion. Before the bout, Terrell repeatedly called Ali by his birth name. He said later that he had known Clay for years in the amateurs and hadn't gotten used to calling him another name. Ali took offense to this, and vowed he would punish Terrell. For his part, Ali further stoked the prefight ill will by labeling Terrell "an Uncle Tom nigger who is going to get his ass whupped."[2]

Ali won a lopsided 15-round decision, reclaiming the undisputed championship. The Daily Telegraph wrote that the resulting fight was "the nastiest display of Ali's celebrated ring career", recounting how he seized Terrell in a headlock and dragged Terrell's eye along the top rope, and declared, "The fight will be remembered for Ali's constant taunts of 'what's my name?' to an opponent he was apparently content not merely to defeat, but also to belittle and humiliate."[2] The fight is recounted by the film Ali starring Will Smith.

Terrell lost an upset 12-round decision later in 1967 in the WBA Heavyweight Tournament which was organized after Ali was stripped of his title in April 1967. He left the sport for three years following the loss, but returned in 1970, winning seven consecutive fights before losing to Chuck Wepner by decision.

In 55 professional fights, Terrell earned a record of 46 wins (21 by knockout), nine losses and no draws. After retiring from boxing in 1973 following a knockout loss to Jeff Merritt, he began a career as a record producer in Chicago, in the city where he had attended Farragut Career Academy.

Terrell ran unsuccessfully for alderman of Chicago's 34th ward in 1987. He finished second in the primary but lost to Lemuel Austin in a runoff. Terrell died on December 16, 2014 in a hospital at Evergreen Park, Illinois. He had been suffering from dementia.[3]

Professional boxing record[edit]

Professional record summary
55 fights 46 wins 9 losses
By knockout 21 2
By decision 25 7
No. Result Record Opponent Type Round, time Date Location Notes
55 Loss 46–9 United States Jeff Merritt TKO 1 (10), 2:42 Sep 10, 1973 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
54 Loss 46–8 United States Chuck Wepner PTS 12 Jun 23, 1973 United States Convention Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S. For vacant National Americas heavyweight title
53 Win 46–7 Canada Bill Drover TKO 1 (10), 2:28 Feb 19, 1973 United States Spectrum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
52 Win 45–7 Venezuela Jose Luis Garcia KO 6 (10) Oct 23, 1972 Venezuela Caracas, Venezuela
51 Win 44–7 Peru Roberto Davila UD 10 Jul 24, 1971 United States Playboy Club, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, U.S.
50 Win 43–7 Brazil Luis Faustino Pires UD 10 May 10, 1971 United States International Amphitheatre, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
49 Win 42–7 United States Vic Brown UD 10 Apr 28, 1971 United States Cleveland Arena, Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
48 Win 41–7 United States John Hudgins TKO 1 (10), 1:58 Apr 3, 1971 United States Playboy Club, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, U.S.
47 Win 40–7 United States Sonny Moore UD 10 Dec 15, 1970 United States The Eagles Club, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
46 Loss 39–7 Mexico Manuel Ramos UD 10 Oct 14, 1967 Mexico Estadio Azteca, Mexico City, Mexico
45 Loss 39–6 United States Thad Spencer UD 12 Aug 5, 1967 United States Astrodome, Houston, Texas, U.S.
44 Loss 39–5 United States Muhammad Ali UD 15 Feb 6, 1967 United States Astrodome, Houston, Texas, U.S. Lost WBA heavyweight title
43 Win 39–4 United States Doug Jones UD 15 Jun 28, 1966 United States Sam Houston Coliseum, Houston, Texas, U.S. Retained WBA heavyweight title
42 Win 38–4 Canada George Chuvalo UD 15 Nov 1, 1965 Canada Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario, Canada Retained WBA heavyweight title
41 Win 37–4 United States Eddie Machen UD 15 Mar 5, 1965 United States International Amphitheatre, Chicago, Illinois, U.S. Won vacant WBA heavyweight title
40 Win 36–4 United States Henry Wallitsch RTD 6 (10), 0:01 Oct 23, 1964 United States St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
39 Win 35–4 United States Bob Foster TKO 7 (10), 0:58 Jul 10, 1964 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
38 Win 34–4 United States Jefferson Davis UD 10 Jun 17, 1964 United States Municipal Auditorium, Miami Beach, Florida, U.S.
37 Win 33–4 Germany Gerhard Zech UD 10 Mar 6, 1963 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
36 Win 32–4 United States Zora Folley UD 10 Jul 27, 1963 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
35 Win 31–4 United States Cleveland Williams SD 10 Apr 13, 1963 United States Philadelphia Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
34 Win 30–4 United States Herb Siler TKO 3 (10) Mar 7, 1963 United States Little River Auditorium, Miami, Florida, U.S.
33 Win 29–4 United States Young Jack Johnson UD 10 Jan 5, 1963 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
32 Win 28–4 United States Young Jack Johnson UD 10 Dec 14, 1962 United States Chicago Coliseum, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
31 Win 27–4 Cuba Reiniero Rey Lopez KO 3, 2:15 Sep 25, 1962 United States Comiskey Park, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
30 Win 26–4 United States Eddie Jackson TKO 2 (10), 2:54 Aug 24, 1962 United States Grand Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
29 Win 25–4 United States Amos Lincoln UD 6 Jun 9, 1962 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
28 Loss 24–4 United States Cleveland Williams TKO 7 (10), 1:43 Apr 3, 1962 United States Sam Houston Coliseum, Houston, Texas, U.S.
27 Win 24–3 United States Herb Siler PTS 10 Feb 28, 1962 United States Exhibition Hall, Miami Beach, Florida, U.S.
26 Win 23–3 United States Ernie Cab RTD 3 (6), 0:01 Dec 4, 1961 United States Convention Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
25 Win 22–3 United States Chuck Garrett UD 10 May 15, 1961 United States Marigold Gardens, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
24 Win 21–3 United States Willie Coleman KO 1 (8) Apr 17, 1961 United States Marigold Gardens, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
23 Win 20–3 United States Ernie Cab TKO 8 (10) Feb 6, 1961 United States Marigold Gardens, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
22 Loss 19–3 United States Wayne Bethea SD 10 Dec 5, 1960 United States Marigold Gardens, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
21 Win 19–2 United States Joe Hemphill UD 8 Jul 20, 1960 United States Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S. Won Illinois heavyweight title
20 Win 18–2 United States Frankie Daniels KO 7 (10) May 18, 1960 United States Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
19 Win 17–2 United States Lee Williams UD 10 Mar 30, 1960 United States Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
18 Win 16–2 United States Clay Thomas KO 1 (6) Jan 6, 1960 United States Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
17 Win 15–2 United States Chuck Garrett PTS 6 Nov 11, 1959 United States Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
16 Win 14–2 United States Tunney Hunsaker PTS 8 Jul 24, 1959 United States Freedom Hall, Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.
15 Loss 13–2 United States Johnny Gray SD 8 Feb 25, 1959 United States Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
14 Win 13–1 United States Willie Coleman PTS 8 Jan 14, 1959 United States Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
13 Win 12–1 United States Sid Peaks UD 8 Nov 3, 1958 United States Joe Louis Gymnasium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
12 Win 11–1 United States John Hobart KO 1 Oct 7, 1958 United States East Chicago, Indiana, U.S.
11 Win 10–1 United States Joe Hemphill TKO 1 (6) Sep 24, 1958 United States Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
10 Win 9–1 United States Billy Pickett KO 2 (8) Jul 1, 1958 United States Midwest Gymnasium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
9 Loss 8–1 United States Johnny Gray SD 8 Apr 30, 1958 United States Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
8 Win 8–0 United States Johnny Harper TKO 1 (8) Mar 11, 1958 United States Midwest Gym, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
7 Win 7–0 United States Emil Brtko TKO 2 (8) Feb 4, 1958 United States Joe Louis Gym, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
6 Win 6–0 United States Calvin Butler SD 6 Jan 8, 1958 United States Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
5 Win 5–0 United States Ted Poole TKO 1 (6) Oct 30, 1957 United States Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
4 Win 4–0 United States Neal Welch UD 6 Aug 21, 1957 United States Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
3 Win 3–0 United States Ray Griggs KO 1 (4) Jul 24, 1957 United States Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
2 Win 2–0 United States Andy Bond TKO 1 (4) Jun 26, 1957 United States Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
1 Win 1–0 United States Norman Bolden UD 4 May 15, 1957 United States Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S. Professional debut

Titles in boxing[edit]

World titles
New title WBA heavyweight champion
March 5, 1965 – February 6, 1967
Succeeded by
Muhammad Ali

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wynn, Ron. "Biography: Jean Terrell". AMG. Retrieved 9 May 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "Ernie Terrell - obituary". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-11-11. 
  3. ^ "Ali's 'What's My Name?' opponent Terrell dies at 75". Asia.eurosport.com. 17 December 2014. Retrieved 2016-11-11. 

Other sources[edit]

External links[edit]

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