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. A fellow boxer, Bobby Watts, was his cousin.
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 at the Capital Center in Landover, Maryland on April 30, 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 deter Ali from landing blows at his head and risk censure from the referee for "rabbit punching". On several occasions when Ali was inside and Young had his back to the ropes, Young intentionally put his head or upper body out of the ring beyond the ropes to compel the referee to step in and separate the fighters. As a novel boxing tactic this divided opinion between its being a way of neutralizing Ali's game, to its being seen as an unsportsmanlike way of causing tactical stoppages every time Ali possessed an advantage. At one point during the bout the referee did initiate a count due to Young's 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 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." After the match's televised broadcast, many viewers called to the network to complain about the decision, and Ali's career trainer Angelo Dundee went on record as saying this was Ali's "worst fight". After the match there were calls on Ali to retire from the sport from quarters of the sport's media.
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". Young joined Ali as one of the only two men to beat Foreman before his first retirement in 1977.
The Young–Norton eliminator fight
Now the number two 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 being 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 three-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 four 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.
After his boxing career, Young had financial, drug, and legal problems. During a court hearing on a drug possession charge, his Philadelphia public defender argued that Young had symptoms of chronic traumatic brain injury due to his time in the ring. At a boxing celebrity event, The Ring noted that Young apparently needed to be helped about by his family. He was reported as being afflicted with dementia pugilistica in his last years.
- Jimmy Young, Heavyweight Challenger (1979), a biography by E. Dolan and R. Lyttle
Professional boxing record
|56 fights||35 wins||18 losses|
|Carl Porter||TKO||2 (6)||Sep 22, 1990||Mississippi Coast Coliseum, Biloxi, Mississippi, U.S.|
|Frank Lux||TKO||10 (10)||Aug 13, 1988||St. Joseph Civic Arena, St. Joseph, Missouri|
|Tim Anderson||SD||10||Jun 4, 1988||Lee County Civic Center, Fort Myers, Florida, U.S.|
|Rick Kellar||UD||10||Apr 9, 1988||Joplin, Missouri, U.S.|
|Mike Jameson||NC||2 (10)||Aug 9, 1987||Ginásio do Ibirapuera, São Paulo, Brazil||Referee decreed both fighters "faking"|
|52||Loss||32–18–2||Eddie Richardson||SD||10||Jan 7, 1987||Community Center, Tucson, Arizona, U.S.|
|51||Loss||32–17–2||Chuck Gardner||PTS||8||Oct 15, 1986||Medina Ballroom, Hamel, Minnesota, U.S.|
|50||Win||32–16–2||Rocky Sekorski||MD||10||Mar 12, 1986||Metropolitan Sports Center, Bloomington, Minnesota, U.S.|
|49||Win||31–16–2||Rocky Sekorski||UD||10||Jan 20, 1986||Marshall, Minnesota, U.S.|
|48||Loss||30–16–2||Tony Fulilangi||PTS||10||Nov 1, 1985||Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum, Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.|
|47||Loss||30–15–2||Tony Tucker||UD||10||Sep 22, 1984||Ford Fieldhouse, Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S.|
|46||Loss||30–14–2||Tony Tubbs||UD||10||Apr 10, 1983||Hilton Hotel, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.|
|45||Loss||30–13–2||Philipp Brown||PTS||10||Aug 29, 1982||Civic Center, Lake Charles, Louisiana, U.S.|
|44||Loss||30–12–2||Pat Cuillo||PTS||10||Jul 13, 1982||Tropicana Hotel & Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|43||Loss||30–11–2||Greg Page||UD||12||May 2, 1982||Playboy Hotel & Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.||For USBA heavyweight title|
|42||Win||30–10–2||Tommy Thomas||UD||10||Nov 6, 1981||Civic Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.|
|41||Win||29–10–2||Tom Fischer||PTS||10||Sep 26, 1981||Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.|
|40||Win||28–10–2||Jeff Sims||SD||10||Jul 10, 1981||Auditorium, West Palm Beach, Florida, U.S.|
|39||Win||27–10–2||Marvin Stinson||UD||10||Jun 30, 1981||Sands Casino Hotel, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|38||Win||26–10–2||Gordon Racette||TKO||10 (10)||Apr 10, 1981||Frank Crane Arena, Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada|
|37||Loss||25–10–2||Gerry Cooney||RTD||4 (10)||May 25, 1980||Convention Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|36||Win||25-9-2||Don Halpin||TKO||2 (10)||Mar 8, 1980||Great Gorge Resort, McAfee, New Jersey, U.S.|
|35||Win||24–9–2||John L.Gardner||PTS||10||Dec 4, 1979||Empire Pool, Wembley, London, England|
|34||Loss||23–9–2||Michael Dokes||UD||10||Sep 28, 1979||Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.|
|33||Win||23–8–2||Wendell Bailey||TKO||3 (10)||Jun 22, 1979||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.|
|32||Loss||22–8–2||Ossie Ocasio||UD||10||Jan 27, 1979||Roberto Clemente Coliseum, San Juan, Puerto Rico|
|31||Loss||22–7–2||Ossie Ocasio||SD||10||Jun 9, 1978||Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.|
|30||Loss||22–6–2||Ken Norton||SD||15||Nov 5, 1977||Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S|
|29||Win||22–5–2||Jody Ballard||UD||10||Sep 14, 1977||Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.|
|28||Win||21–5–2||George Foreman||UD||12||Mar 17, 1977||Roberto Clemente Coliseum, San Juan, Puerto Rico|
|27||Win||20–5–2||Ron Lyle||UD||12||Nov 16, 1976||Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, California, U.S.|
|26||Win||19–5–2||Mike Boswell||TKO||4 (10)||Sep 12, 1976||Utica Memorial Auditorium, Utica, New York, U.S.|
|25||Win||18–5–2||Lou Rogan||TKO||2 (10)||Sep 2, 1976||Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,U.S.|
|24||Loss||17–5–2||Muhammad Ali||UD||15||Apr 30, 1976||Capital Centre, Landover, Maryland, U.S.||For WBA and WBC heavyweight titles|
|23||Win||17–4–2||Jose Roman||PTS||10||Feb 20, 1976||Roberto Clemente Coliseum, Hato Rey, Puerto Rico|
|22||Win||16–4–2||Memphis Al Jones||TKO||2 (10)||Nov 12, 1975||Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.|
|21||Win||15–4–2||Bobby Lloyd||KO||5 (10)||Aug 26, 1975||Catholic Youth Center, Scranton, Pennsylvania, U.S.|
|20||Win||14–4–2||Ron Lyle||UD||10||Feb 12, 1975||International Center Arena, Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.|
|19||Draw||13–4–2||Earnie Shavers||PTS||10||Nov 26, 1974||Capital Center, Landover, Maryland, U.S.|
|18||Win||13–4–1||Jose Luis Garcia||PTS||10||Jul 6, 1974||Caracas, Venezuela|
|17||Win||12–4–1||Les Stevens||PTS||10||Jan 22, 1974||World SC, Grosvenor House, Mayfair, London, England|
|16||Win||11–4–1||John Jordan||UD||6||Mar 4, 1974||Capital Centre, Landover, Maryland, U.S.|
|15||Win||10–4–1||Richard Dunn||TKO||8 (10)||Feb 18, 1974||World Sporting Club, Mayfair, London, England|
|14||Draw||9–4–1||Billy Aird||PTS||8||Oct 23, 1973||World Sporting Club, Mayfair, London, England|
|13||Win||9–4||Mike Boswell||PTS||6||Aug 14, 1973||Convention Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.|
|12||Win||8–4||Obie English||PTS||6||Apr 23, 1973||Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.|
|11||Loss||7–4||Earnie Shavers||TKO||3 (10)||Feb 19, 1973||Spectrum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.|
|10||Loss||7–3||Randy Neumann||PTS||10||Mar 10, 1972||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.|
|9||Win||7–2||Jasper Evans||PTS||6||Feb 12, 1972||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.|
|8||Win||6–2||Lou Hicks||PTS||8||Oct 26, 1971||Blue Horizon, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.|
|7||Win||5–2||Andy Geiger||KO||1 (6)||Sep 27, 1971||Blue Horizon, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.|
|6||Loss||4–2||Roy Williams||PTS||4||Feb 22, 1971||Blue Horizon, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.|
|5||Win||4–1||Howard Darlington||PTS||6||Nov 24, 1970||Blue Horizon, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S|
|4||Win||3–1||Jimmy Gilmore||PTS||4||Jun 22, 1970||Silver Slipper, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.|
|3||Loss||2–1||Clay Hodges||UD||6||Apr 3, 1970||Coliseum, San Diego, California, U.S.|
|2||Win||2–0||Johnny Gause||PTS||6||Dec 9, 1969||Blue Horizon, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.|
|1||Win||1–0||Jim Jones||TKO||1 (4)||Oct 28, 1969||Blue Horizon, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.|
- Biography of Jimmy Young (findagrave.com)
- 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.
- Obituary for Jimmy Young, Los Angeles Times, 24 February 2005. https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2005-feb-24-me-passings24.2-story.html
- Real Combat Media
- Pub. Doubleday ISBN 0-385-14097-5