Jimmy Young (boxer)
|Height||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
|Born||November 14, 1948|
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Died||February 20, 2005(aged 56)|
|Wins by KO||11|
Jimmy Young (November 14, 1948 – February 20, 2005) was an American heavyweight professional boxer. Young was known for his awkward, defensive style and counterpunching. He had his greatest success during the mid-1970s, most notably earning a victory over George Foreman in 1977 and losing a unanimous decision against Muhammad Ali. Young fought many significant fighters of his era, including twice outpointing Ron Lyle and losing only by a split decision to then-number one contender Ken Norton in a title eliminator in late 1977.
An inexperienced Young was matched against contender Earnie Shavers in what was only his 11th professional fight. Shavers, who at that time had a 42-2 record dealt Young his first knockout loss. Young had tried trading blows and was caught early on by one of the division's hardest punchers who was well known for his overwhelming early attacks.
After this defeat Young went undefeated for the next three years, including a win over contender Ron Lyle and a controversial draw in a re-match with Earnie Shavers with many observers scoring the bout for Young. The improved outcome for Young was largely due to improvements made to his defense since his last fight with the devastating hitter. Despite Young's inability to earn a victory over Shavers, it was still enough to earn him a title fight with the Heavyweight Champion of the World, Muhammad Ali.
The Young–Ali fight
Young achieved widespread public recognition when he fought Muhammad Ali in Landover, Maryland in April 1976 for the world heavyweight title, although boxing circles had already noted his ability. Ali weighed in at 230 pounds, the highest for any of his fights up to that point (he would weigh 236.25 pounds in his fight against Trevor Berbick), and was consequently slow and immobile throughout the bout. Seven years younger and 21 pounds lighter, Young adopted a strategy of fighting aggressively from a distance, landing numerous light blows while dodging and parrying Ali's counterpunches, and using his body blows, which had little power behind them but were effective at scoring points. At close quarters, Young would turn passive. In addition to retreating whenever possible, Young often kept his head ducked very low in order to prevent Ali from landing blows to his head, for fear of being called for rabbit punching.
On several occasions when Ali was inside and Young had his back to the ropes, Young would intentionally put his head or upper body out of the ring to compel the referee to separate the fighters. To some[who?], Young's was a brilliant strategy of neutralizing his opponent's strengths and forcing the bout to be fought on his own terms, exposing Ali's inability to fight a counterpuncher. To others[who?], it seemed cowardly as he forced a stoppage to the fight every time Ali held the advantage.
At one point during the fight the referee did initiate a count due to Jimmy Young being outside the ropes. The fight went the full 15 rounds resulting in a controversial one-sided unanimous decision in favor of Ali. Referee Tom Kelly scored it 72-65; judges Larry Barrett and Terry Moore had it 70-68 and 71-64, respectively.
Ken Norton (a rival of Ali) who was commentating at ringside had the fight even on his own scorecard. Former Ring magazine editor Lester Bromberg called the decision a "travesty". New York Daily News reporter Dick Young said: "[Ali won] by the grace of three hero worshipping fight officials. I believe many people, the voting officials among them, refuse to believe what they see when one of their super-heroes doesn't function as expected." As the fight was televised, many viewers called to the network to complain about the decision. Even Ali's ever loyal trainer Angelo Dundee went on record as saying this was the champion's "worst fight". Afterwards, many started calling on Ali to retire. Some[who?] claimed that Young's performance should have earned him a rematch. The WBC agreed and set about organizing a rematch fight scheduled to occur in 1977.
Rematch with Lyle and then George Foreman
Young defeated Lyle in a November 1976 rematch by using clever defense and a fast offensive style. He was able to dominate the older fighter, with one judge's scorecard having Young winning 11 of 12 rounds.
In March 1977, Young then fought George Foreman in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Foreman was on a five bout win streak since losing the title to Muhammad Ali in "The Rumble in the Jungle", earning victories over top contenders Ron Lyle and Joe Frazier.
The Young-Foreman fight was somewhat steady until the sixth round. The early rounds were punctuated by complaints from Young and his corner about the use of elbows by Foreman, who was punished by the referee with a point deduction. For the first half of the fight, Young used his somewhat unorthodox boxing skills and good defense to keep out of harm's way, while using his punching speed to counter. In the sixth round he became somewhat more aggressive himself and landed a number of clean punches on Foreman. Eleven seconds into the seventh round, Foreman caught Young with a left-handed body punch, and immediately followed with a powerful swinging left hand to the head. Young reeled and turned away and seemed about to go down, while Foreman tried to pursue his advantage, but somehow Young survived to the end of the round. In his after-match comments on TV, he described it as 'desperation'. After the near knockdown Young rallied, and landed a number of good punches of his own. As the fight progressed Foreman's eyes became puffy and his punches lost their menace. For the rest of the contest, Foreman continued to move forward, trying to cut off the ring and looking for the big knock out, while taking punches from the elusive Young. In the final round Young managed a knockdown over Foreman, and earned a unanimous win by 12-round decision. The Ring named the Young-Foreman bout its 1977 "Fight of the Year". Jimmy Young joined Ali as the only two men to ever beat George Foreman before his first retirement in 1977.
The Young–Norton eliminator fight
Now the number 2 contender, Young's next fight was a mandatory world title eliminator against Ken Norton, the number 1 contender. Young had won five straight since his loss to Ali.
Young lost the Norton match that occurred on November 1977 at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada, in a controversial split decision. Many observers watching in attendance felt Young should have been declared the winner. While Young boxed cleverly, drawing Norton onto sneak right hand punches, Norton himself pressed forward dangerously, always his best style. The two had sparred when Norton trained for his second Ali match. Norton had found shots thrown first to the head rarely landed so he used a heavy two-handed attack pounding away to the ribs, then lobbing powerful head shots. The fight was set at 15 rounds. Although this was unusual for a non-title match, the format was adopted due to the bout's importance as an eliminator. Due to the importance of the fight, which was later retro-designated as a WBC title match, a large crowd gathered to watch the bout including then world champion Muhammad Ali. Although the winner of the fight was supposed to go on to fight for the heavyweight championship, Leon Spinks, who had won the championship from Muhammad Ali in an upset win on February 15, 1978 chose a rematch against Ali instead of fighting Norton for the WBC title. As a result, Norton was awarded the WBC championship belt
Demoralised at having lost another close decision, Young went into a gradual downward spiral. In June 1978 poor conditioning, an increasing problem, led to Young be outpointed by prospect Ossie Ocasio. While better in a direct rematch, in January 1979, Ocasio again earned the win and went on to fight the world champion Larry Holmes.
Young won a short 3 round brutal battle with unranked Wendell Bailey, showing flashes of old form. But in other matches of note Young fared poorly. He was stopped due to cuts by new heavyweight contender Gerry Cooney after 4 rounds in a fight where he was dominated. He also lost on points to another rising prospect and future heavyweight champion Michael Dokes. In the 1979 match with Dokes Young was out of shape due to lack of training and weighed 229 lbs., nearly the heaviest he had weighed throughout his career and around 15 lbs. heavier than his ideal fighting weight. However Young was able to slim down for his fight against British champion John L. Gardner, occurring in December 1979. Young outpointed Gardner, knocking him down in the 10th round. The triumph over Gardner as well as wins against Marvin Stinson and Jeff Sims were probably his last notable wins.
Starting in 1981 Young appeared to be making a comeback, winning five in a row, including a TKO over previously unbeaten Gordon Racette. In 1982 however, Young's comeback was cut short when he was defeated on points by future champion Greg Page. He became a "trial horse" for emerging contenders, dropping decisions to more future champions in Tony Tucker and Tony Tubbs. He continued fighting with mixed results until 1988, when he retired at the age of 39.
Later years and death
After his boxing career, Young had financial, drug, and legal problems. During a court hearing on a drug possession charge, it was argued by his Philadelphia public defender that Young had symptoms of chronic traumatic brain injury due to his time in the ring. At a boxing celebrity event, Ring magazine noted Young was helped about by family.
Young died of a heart attack on February 20, 2005 at the age of 56, after six days in the hospital. He was buried at Mount Peace Cemetery in Philadelphia.
Professional boxing record
|34 wins (11 knockouts), 19 losses, 2 draws, 1 no contest|
|Carl Porter||TKO||2 (6)||9/22/1990||Mississippi Coast Coliseum, Biloxi|
|Frank Lux||TKO||10 (10)||13/08/1988||Saint Joseph, Missouri|
|Tim Anderson||SD||10||04/06/1988||Lee County Civic Center, Fort Myers, Florida|
|Rick Kellar||UD||10||09/04/1988||Joplin, Missouri|
|Mike Jameson||NC||2 (10)||09/08/1987||São Paulo, Brazil||Referee decreed both fighters "faking".|
|Loss||32–18–2||Eddie Richardson||SD||10||07/01/1987||Community Center, Tucson, Arizona|
|Loss||32–17–2||Chuck Gardner||PTS||8||15/10/1986||Hamel, Minnesota|
|Win||32–16–2||Rocky Sekorski||MD||10||12/03/1986||Metropolitan Sports Center, Bloomington, Minnesota|
|Win||31–16–2||Rocky Sekorski||UD||10||20/01/1986||Marshall, Minnesota|
|Loss||30–16–2||Tony Fulilangi||PTS||10||01/11/1985||Phoenix, Arizona|
|Loss||30–15–2||Tony Tucker||UD||10||22/09/1984||Gerald R. Ford Fieldhouse, Grand Rapids, Michigan|
|Loss||30–14–2||Tony Tubbs||UD||10||10/04/1983||Hilton Hotel, Pittsburgh|
|Loss||30–13–2||Philipp Brown||PTS||10||29/08/1982||Lake Charles, Louisiana|
|Loss||30–12–2||Pat Cuillo||PTS||10||13/07/1982||Tropicana Hotel & Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey|
|Loss||30–11–2||Greg Page||UD||12||02/05/1982||Playboy Hotel & Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey||For USBA heavyweight title|
|Win||30–10–2||Tommy Thomas||UD||10||06/11/1981||Civic Arena, Pittsburgh|
|Win||29–10–2||Tom Fischer||PTS||10||26/09/1981||Caesars Palace, Las Vegas|
|Win||28–10–2||Jeff Sims||SD||10||10/07/1981||Auditorium, West Palm Beach, Florida|
|Win||27–10–2||Marvin Stinson||UD||10||30/06/1981||Sands Casino Hotel, Atlantic City, New Jersey|
|Win||26–10–2||Gordon Racette||TKO||10 (10)||10/04/1981||Frank Crane Arena, Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada|
|Loss||25–10–2||Gerry Cooney||RTD||4 (10)||25/05/1980||Convention Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey|
|Win||25-9-2||Don Halpin||TKO||2 (10)||08/03/1980||Great Gorge Resort, McAfee, New Jersey|
|Win||24–9–2||John Lewis Gardner||PTS||10||04/12/1979||Empire Pool, Wembley, London, England|
|Loss||23–9–2||Michael Dokes||UD||10||28/09/1979||Caesars Palace, Las Vegas|
|Win||23–8–2||Wendell Bailey||TKO||3 (10)||22/06/1979||Madison Square Garden, New York|
|Loss||22–8–2||Ossie Ocasio||UD||10||27/01/1979||Roberto Clemente Coliseum, San Juan, Puerto Rico|
|Loss||22–7–2||Ossie Ocasio||SD||10||09/06/1978||Caesars Palace, Las Vegas|
|Loss||22–6–2||Ken Norton||SD||15||05/11/1977||Caesars Palace, Las Vegas||WBC Heavyweight Title Eliminator.|
|Win||22–5–2||Jody Ballard||UD||10||14/09/1977||Caesars Palace, Las Vegas|
|Win||21–5–2||George Foreman||UD||12||17/03/1977||Roberto Clemente Coliseum, San Juan, Puerto Rico||1977 Fight of the Year by The Ring magazine. Foreman was knocked down in round 12.|
|Win||20–5–2||Ron Lyle||UD||12||16/11/1976||Civic Auditorium, San Francisco|
|Win||19–5–2||Mike Boswell||TKO||4 (10)||11/09/1976||Utica Memorial Auditorium, Utica, New York|
|Win||18–5–2||Lou Rogan||TKO||2 (10)||02/09/1976||Arena, Philadelphia|
|Loss||17–5–2||Muhammad Ali||UD||15||30/04/1976||Capital Centre, Landover, Maryland||For WBC & WBA World heavyweight titles|
|Win||17–4–2||Jose Roman||PTS||10||20/02/1976||Roberto Clemente Coliseum, Hato Rey, Puerto Rico|
|Win||16–4–2||Memphis Al Jones||TKO||2 (10)||11/11/1975||Arena, Philadelphia|
|Win||15–4–2||Bobby Lloyd||KO||5 (10)||16/08/1975||Catholic Youth Center, Scranton, Pennsylvania|
|Win||14–4–2||Ron Lyle||UD||10||11/02/1975||International Center Arena, Honolulu|
|Draw||13–4–2||Earnie Shavers||PTS||10||26/11/1974||Capitol Center, Landover, Maryland|
|Win||13–4–1||Jose Luis Garcia||PTS||10||06/07/1974||Caracas, Venezuela|
|Win||12–4–1||Les Stevens||PTS||10||22/01/1974||World SC, Grosvenor House, Mayfair, London, England|
|Win||11–4–1||John Jordan||UD||6||04/03/1974||Capital Centre, Landover, Maryland|
|Win||10–4–1||Richard Dunn||TKO||8 (10)||18/02/1974||World Sporting Club, Mayfair, London, England|
|Draw||9–4–1||Billy Aird||PTS||8||22/10/1973||World Sporting Club, Mayfair, London, England|
|Win||9–4||Mike Boswell||PTS||6||14/08/1973||Convention Hall, Philadelphia|
|Win||8–4||Obie English||PTS||6||23/04/1973||Arena, Philadelphia|
|Loss||7–4||Earnie Shavers||TKO||3 (10)||19/02/1973||Spectrum, Philadelphia|
|Loss||7–3||Randy Neumann||PTS||10||10/03/1972||Madison Square Garden, New York|
|Win||7–2||Jasper Evans||PTS||6||11/02/1972||Madison Square Garden, New York|
|Win||6–2||Lou Hicks||PTS||8||26/10/1971||Blue Horizon, Philadelphia|
|Win||5–2||Andy Geiger||KO||1 (6)||27/09/1971||Blue Horizon, Philadelphia|
|Loss||4–2||Roy Williams||PTS||4||22/02/1971||Blue Horizon, Philadelphia|
|Win||4–1||Howard Darlington||PTS||6||24/11/1970||Blue Horizon, Philadelphia|
|Win||3–1||Jimmy Gilmore||PTS||4||22/06/1970||San Diego|
|Loss||2–1||Clay Hodges||UD||6||03/04/1970||Coliseum, San Diego|
|Win||2–0||Johnny Gause||PTS||6||09/12/1969||Blue Horizon, Philadelphia|
|Win||1–0||Jim Jones||TKO||1 (4)||28/10/1969||Blue Horizon, Philadelphia|
- His biography, as detailed in article itself below
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-03-12. Retrieved 2010-08-19.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- Video on YouTube
- Howard Cosell 1977 commentary on YouTube
- YouTube Young fight commentary
- "Jimmy Young, 56, Fighter Who Beat Foreman but Lost to Ali, Is Dead". Associated Press. February 24, 2005. Retrieved 8 November 2011.