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|Height||6 ft 6 in (198 cm)|
|Reach||82 in (208 cm)|
April 4, 1939|
Belzoni, Mississippi, U.S.
|Died||December 16, 2014
Evergreen Park, Illinois, U.S.
|Wins by KO||21|
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.
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.
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."
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." 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.
Professional boxing record
|Professional record summary|
|55 fights||46 wins||9 losses|
|55||Loss||46–9||Jeff Merritt||TKO||1 (10), 2:42||Sep 10, 1973||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.|
|54||Loss||46–8||Chuck Wepner||PTS||12||Jun 23, 1973||Convention Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.||For vacant National Americas heavyweight title|
|53||Win||46–7||Bill Drover||TKO||1 (10), 2:28||Feb 19, 1973||Spectrum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.|
|52||Win||45–7||Jose Luis Garcia||KO||6 (10)||Oct 23, 1972||Caracas, Venezuela|
|51||Win||44–7||Roberto Davila||UD||10||Jul 24, 1971||Playboy Club, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, U.S.|
|50||Win||43–7||Luis Faustino Pires||UD||10||May 10, 1971||International Amphitheatre, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.|
|49||Win||42–7||Vic Brown||UD||10||Apr 28, 1971||Cleveland Arena, Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.|
|48||Win||41–7||John Hudgins||TKO||1 (10), 1:58||Apr 3, 1971||Playboy Club, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, U.S.|
|47||Win||40–7||Sonny Moore||UD||10||Dec 15, 1970||The Eagles Club, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.|
|46||Loss||39–7||Manuel Ramos||UD||10||Oct 14, 1967||Estadio Azteca, Mexico City, Mexico|
|45||Loss||39–6||Thad Spencer||UD||12||Aug 5, 1967||Astrodome, Houston, Texas, U.S.|
|44||Loss||39–5||Muhammad Ali||UD||15||Feb 6, 1967||Astrodome, Houston, Texas, U.S.||Lost WBA heavyweight title|
|43||Win||39–4||Doug Jones||UD||15||Jun 28, 1966||Sam Houston Coliseum, Houston, Texas, U.S.||Retained WBA heavyweight title|
|42||Win||38–4||George Chuvalo||UD||15||Nov 1, 1965||Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario, Canada||Retained WBA heavyweight title|
|41||Win||37–4||Eddie Machen||UD||15||Mar 5, 1965||International Amphitheatre, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.||Won vacant WBA heavyweight title|
|40||Win||36–4||Henry Wallitsch||RTD||6 (10), 0:01||Oct 23, 1964||St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.|
|39||Win||35–4||Bob Foster||TKO||7 (10), 0:58||Jul 10, 1964||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.|
|38||Win||34–4||Jefferson Davis||UD||10||Jun 17, 1964||Municipal Auditorium, Miami Beach, Florida, U.S.|
|37||Win||33–4||Gerhard Zech||UD||10||Mar 6, 1963||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.|
|36||Win||32–4||Zora Folley||UD||10||Jul 27, 1963||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.|
|35||Win||31–4||Cleveland Williams||SD||10||Apr 13, 1963||Philadelphia Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.|
|34||Win||30–4||Herb Siler||TKO||3 (10)||Mar 7, 1963||Little River Auditorium, Miami, Florida, U.S.|
|33||Win||29–4||Young Jack Johnson||UD||10||Jan 5, 1963||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.|
|32||Win||28–4||Young Jack Johnson||UD||10||Dec 14, 1962||Chicago Coliseum, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.|
|31||Win||27–4||Reiniero Rey Lopez||KO||3, 2:15||Sep 25, 1962||Comiskey Park, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.|
|30||Win||26–4||Eddie Jackson||TKO||2 (10), 2:54||Aug 24, 1962||Grand Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, U.S.|
|29||Win||25–4||Amos Lincoln||UD||6||Jun 9, 1962||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.|
|28||Loss||24–4||Cleveland Williams||TKO||7 (10), 1:43||Apr 3, 1962||Sam Houston Coliseum, Houston, Texas, U.S.|
|27||Win||24–3||Herb Siler||PTS||10||Feb 28, 1962||Exhibition Hall, Miami Beach, Florida, U.S.|
|26||Win||23–3||Ernie Cab||RTD||3 (6), 0:01||Dec 4, 1961||Convention Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.|
|25||Win||22–3||Chuck Garrett||UD||10||May 15, 1961||Marigold Gardens, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.|
|24||Win||21–3||Willie Coleman||KO||1 (8)||Apr 17, 1961||Marigold Gardens, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.|
|23||Win||20–3||Ernie Cab||TKO||8 (10)||Feb 6, 1961||Marigold Gardens, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.|
|22||Loss||19–3||Wayne Bethea||SD||10||Dec 5, 1960||Marigold Gardens, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.|
|21||Win||19–2||Joe Hemphill||UD||8||Jul 20, 1960||Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.||Won Illinois heavyweight title|
|20||Win||18–2||Frankie Daniels||KO||7 (10)||May 18, 1960||Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.|
|19||Win||17–2||Lee Williams||UD||10||Mar 30, 1960||Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.|
|18||Win||16–2||Clay Thomas||KO||1 (6)||Jan 6, 1960||Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.|
|17||Win||15–2||Chuck Garrett||PTS||6||Nov 11, 1959||Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.|
|16||Win||14–2||Tunney Hunsaker||PTS||8||Jul 24, 1959||Freedom Hall, Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.|
|15||Loss||13–2||Johnny Gray||SD||8||Feb 25, 1959||Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.|
|14||Win||13–1||Willie Coleman||PTS||8||Jan 14, 1959||Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.|
|13||Win||12–1||Sid Peaks||UD||8||Nov 3, 1958||Joe Louis Gymnasium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.|
|12||Win||11–1||John Hobart||KO||1||Oct 7, 1958||East Chicago, Indiana, U.S.|
|11||Win||10–1||Joe Hemphill||TKO||1 (6)||Sep 24, 1958||Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.|
|10||Win||9–1||Billy Pickett||KO||2 (8)||Jul 1, 1958||Midwest Gymnasium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.|
|9||Loss||8–1||Johnny Gray||SD||8||Apr 30, 1958||Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.|
|8||Win||8–0||Johnny Harper||TKO||1 (8)||Mar 11, 1958||Midwest Gym, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.|
|7||Win||7–0||Emil Brtko||TKO||2 (8)||Feb 4, 1958||Joe Louis Gym, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.|
|6||Win||6–0||Calvin Butler||SD||6||Jan 8, 1958||Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.|
|5||Win||5–0||Ted Poole||TKO||1 (6)||Oct 30, 1957||Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.|
|4||Win||4–0||Neal Welch||UD||6||Aug 21, 1957||Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.|
|3||Win||3–0||Ray Griggs||KO||1 (4)||Jul 24, 1957||Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.|
|2||Win||2–0||Andy Bond||TKO||1 (4)||Jun 26, 1957||Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.|
|1||Win||1–0||Norman Bolden||UD||4||May 15, 1957||Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.||Professional debut|
Titles in boxing
|New title||WBA heavyweight champion
March 5, 1965 – February 6, 1967
- Wynn, Ron. "Biography: Jean Terrell". AMG. Retrieved 9 May 2010.
- "Ernie Terrell - obituary". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-11-11.
- "Ali's 'What's My Name?' opponent Terrell dies at 75". Asia.eurosport.com. 17 December 2014. Retrieved 2016-11-11.
- Konkol, Mark. "Even the champ doesn't feel safe", Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago, October 25, 2009, page 14A.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Ernie Terrell|
|Oldest living world heavyweight champion
January 30, 2009 – December 16, 2014