||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (May 2013)|
Tim Witherspoon (left) in 2008 in Apperknowle
|Real name||Tim Witherspoon|
|Height||6 ft 3 1⁄2 in (1.92 m)|
|Reach||78 in (198 cm)|
December 27, 1957 |
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
|Wins by KO||38|
Tim Witherspoon (born December 27, 1957) is a retired American boxer who fought in the heavyweight division. Witherspoon recorded 55 victories in 69 fights with 38 knockouts and is a two-time former world heavyweight champion, having won the World Boxing Council and World Boxing Association championships in his career. At the time of his second title victory, Witherspoon joined Floyd Patterson and Muhammad Ali as the only fighters to win multiple world heavyweight championships.
Witherspoon also worked in early years, developing skills, as a regular respected sparring partner for Muhammad Ali, who apparently coined the Knickname 'Terrible' as a compliment. Witherspoons style was a pressure fighter, using the unusual cross-arm guard, similar to Ken Norton, with a strong fast overhand right.
Witherspoon had eight and a half amateur bouts, losing one to Marvis Frazier on decision after getting knocked down.
Making his professional debut with a first-round TKO over Joe Adams on October 30, 1979, Witherspoon quickly rose through the ranks. In 1981, he participated in his first high profile fight, knocking out future world cruiserweight champion Alfonzo Ratliff, after which he was signed by an impressed Don King. Witherspoon was a sparring partner of Ali as he was training to fight Larry Holmes and Trevor Berbick. Ali also gave Witherspoon his ring alias of "Terrible" Tim Witherspoon.
In 1982, he was matched with Renaldo Snipes, who had just given champion Larry Holmes a stiff challenge (and knocked Holmes down), and outpointed him over 10 rounds, setting up his own challenge to Holmes.
Versus Larry Holmes - world title shot
On May 20, 1983, Witherspoon would have his first attempt at earning a world title by taking on the recognized top man in the division World Boxing Council champion Larry Holmes at the Dunes Hotel in Las Vegas. Witherspoon, then a relative unknown, utilized his awkward cross-arm style, Ali sparring experience, and natural physical strength to fight valiantly. Whilst he lost by a split decision, many thought he'd done enough to win. The result was hotly disputed.
However Witherspoon had caused a stir with his showing and the expectations of a potentially glorious career would color what he eventually did accomplish. He returned later in the year to outpoint Floyd "Jumbo" Cummings, who had drawn with Joe Frazier in Smokin Joe's last fight, and win the NABF title impressively with a first round knockout of James "Quick" Tillis.
First Title Reign
In December 1983, Holmes relinquished his WBC title rather than defend against Greg Page, and chose to accept that of the newly formed IBF (International Boxing Federation).
Witherspoon was matched with Page for the vacant title on March 9, 1984. Page, in constant war with promoter Don King, turned up overweight and was outpointed in a close, mauling fight.
Witherspoon's reign as champion would not be long however, as soon he himself was in constant war with King, and on August 31 of that year he was outpointed by Pinklon Thomas via majority decision.
Second Title Reign
In 1985 Witherspoon regained his NABF belt by beating James Broad in two rounds and made a successful twelve round defense against James "Bonecrusher" Smith in his first defense of the belt. This earned him another chance at a heavyweight title and he signed to fight reigning WBA champion Tony Tubbs on January 17, 1986 in Atlanta. Witherspoon won a close fight by majority decision, winning by only one point on one of the scorecards and three on another with one even, to become champion for a second time.
In his first defense of his newly won championship, Witherspoon traveled to London and fought a young up and coming English heavyweight in future world champion Frank Bruno at Wembley Stadium. In the eleventh round of a scheduled fifteen, Witherspoon recorded a technical knockout and did something he had not done when he was champion the first time: make a successful defense of the title after winning it. After defeating Bruno, a rematch with Tony Tubbs loomed but Tubbs pulled out of the fight.
Needing to make a title defense, Witherspoon accepted a second fight with Bonecrusher Smith. Since dropping a lopsided decision in their first matchup (losing every round but one on all three scorecards) Smith had fought four bouts and recorded three wins, all against fringe contenders and journeymen. The fight was scheduled for December 12, 1986 at Madison Square Garden and Witherspoon a heavy favorite against the 17-5 Smith.
Smith decided to take a more aggressive approach against Witherspoon, however, and hurt him with the first punch he threw. Forty-five seconds into the round, Witherspoon dropped to a knee from a flurry of punches but referee Luis Rivera did not call it a knockdown. Thirty seconds after that, Smith felled Witherspoon again. The champion took a standing eight count but Smith took advantage of Witherspoon's unsteady legs and knocked him down a second time moments later. Witherspoon was never able to mount any offense against the challenger and with fifty seconds remaining in the round, Witherspoon hit the canvas a third time and Rivera ended the proceedings. At ringside, HBO commentators Barry Tompkins, Larry Merchant, and Sugar Ray Leonard expressed disbelief at the outcome, with all three calling the bout a major upset.
Post championship career
Following the end his second title reign, Witherspoon spent years warring with Don King in court. Avoided by numerous big name fighters, Witherspoon would fight scarcely, in varying shape and form. In 1991 won the USBA heavyweight title by defeating fellow contender Carl "The Truth" Williams but lost a points decision to at best a journeyman Everett Martin. Ring magazine called this inexplicable loss the low point of his career.
In 1993 Don King settled out of court and paid Witherspoon a million dollars. By 1994 a new and in-shape Witherspoon was back, winning five fights in a row by knockout. Aged 38 he was inked by HBO and matched in high-profile fights with cruiserweight champion Al Cole and the Cuban amateur Jorge Luis González, both of whom he defeated comprehensively. Later in the year he was matched with Ray Mercer but lost a disputed 10-round decision.
After that loss Witherspoon laid off a year, and when he came back he was outpointed convincingly by the slick Larry Donald on HBO, and, in 1998, lost a close decision when outworked by New Zealander Jimmy Thunder before travelling to Poland to be outpointed by Andrew Golota.
The 43-year-old Witherspoon resurfaced in 2001, knocking out the prospect David Bostice in one round, outpointing Cuban southpaw contender Eliecer Castillo and Syrian Ahmed Abdin, before his revival was ended by hard hitting heavyweight Lou Savarese who stopped him in five rounds.
Tim now resides in an area around Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he trains boxers, including his son, lightweight Tim Witherspoon Jr and many others. He has also trained Light Heavyweight champion Clinton Woods in the U.K.
In 2014 Tim witherspoon will be publishing his book with the help of British entrepreneur Kevin Baker and ghost writer Ryan Danes.
Professional boxing record
|55 Wins (38 knockouts, 17 decisions), 13 Losses (4 knockouts, 9 decisions), 1 Draw |
|Loss||55–13–1||Brian Nix||SD||10||15/03/2003||Grand Casino Pavilion, Gulfport, Mississippi, United States|
|Loss||55–12–1||Lou Savarese||TKO||5 (12)||22/09/2002||Table Mountain Casino, Friant, California, United States||For vacant WBO Inter-Continental Heavyweight title.|
|Win||55–11–1||Ahmed Abdin||UD||10||18/05/2002||Silver Star Casino, Choctaw, Mississippi, United States|
|Win||54–11–1||Darroll Wilson||KO||2 (10)||10/03/2002||Green Valley Ranch resort, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||53–11–1||Ed White||TKO||1 (?)||18/01/2002||Sports Arena, Raleigh, North Carolina, United States|
|Win||52–11–1||Cleveland Woods||KO||1 (10)||29/07/2001||Palace Indian Gaming Center, Lemoore, California, United States|
|Loss||51–11–1||Monte Barrett||SD||10||28/06/2001||Turning Stone Resort & Casino, Verona, New York, United States|
|Win||51–10–1||Danny Wofford||TKO||3 (10)||13/04/2001||Hampton University, Hampton, Virginia, United States|
|Win||50–10–1||Elieser Castillo||MD||10||31/03/2001||Bally's Atlantic City Hotel & Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States|
|Win||49–10–1||David Bostice||TKO||1 (10)||22/02/2001||Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, United States|
|Win||48–10–1||David Smith||TKO||2 (10)||08/07/2000||Monroe, Louisiana, United States|
|Draw||47–10–1||Mike Sedillo||PTS||12||29/04/2000||St. John's, Antigua and Barbuda||For NBA Heavyweight Title.|
|Win||47–10||Joe Ballard||KO||1 (?)||25/02/2000||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States|
|Loss||46–10||Greg Page||RTD||7 (10)||18/06/1999||Crown Coliseum, Fayetteville, North Carolina, United States|
|Loss||46–9||Brian Nielsen||TKO||4 (10)||16/04/1999||K.B. Hallen, Copenhagen, Denmark|
|Loss||46–8||Andrew Golota||UD||10||02/10/1998||Hala Ludowa, Wroclaw, Poland|
|Loss||46–7||Jimmy Thunder||UD||10||07/04/1998||Harrahs Casino, Cherokee, North Carolina, United States|
|Loss||46–6||Larry Donald||UD||12||13/12/1997||Foxwoods Resort, Mashantucket, Connecticut, United States||For WBC Continental Americas Heavyweight title.|
|Win||46–5||Levi Billups||TKO||1 (10)||04/11/1997||Grand Casino, Tunica, Mississippi, United States||Billups down twice during the bout.|
|Loss||45–5||Ray Mercer||UD||10||14/12/1996||Convention Center, Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States|
|Win||45–4||Jorge Luis Gonzalez||TKO||5 (10)||10/05/1996||Madison Square Garden, New York City, United States|
|Win||44–4||Alfred Cole||UD||10||12/01/1996||Madison Square Garden, New York City, United States|
|Win||43–4||Tim Puller||TKO||2 (10)||14/11/1995||Casino Magic, Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi, United States|
|Win||42–4||Everton Davis||TKO||7 (10)||31/10/1995||Phoenix, Arizona, United States|
|Win||41–4||Jesse Shelby||TKO||1 (?)||24/03/1995||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States|
|Win||40–4||Nathaniel Fitch||TKO||6 (10)||17/14/1994||Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States|
|Win||39–4||Sherman Griffin||TKO||3 (10)||12/08/1994||South Padre Island, Texas, United States|
|Win||38–4||Tony Willis||UD||10||25/08/1992||Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States|
|Loss||37–4||Everett Martin||SD||10||21/07/1992||The Palace, Auburn Hills, Michigan, United States|
|Win||37–3||James Pritchard||UD||10||23/03/1992||Harrah's Marina Hotel Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States|
|Win||36–3||Jimmy Lee Smith||KO||1 (10)||04/02/1992||Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States|
|Win||35–3||Art Tucker||TKO||3 (12)||10/09/1991||The Blue Horizon, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States||Retained USBA Heavyweight title.|
|Win||34–3||Carl Williams||SD||12||08/03/1991||The Blue Horizon, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States||Won USBA Heavyweight title.|
|Win||33–3||Jose Ribalta||MD||10||19/07/1990||Kingdome, Seattle, Washington, United States|
|Win||32–3||Greg Gorrell||TKO||3 (12)||12/03/1990||Bung Karno Stadium, Jakarta, Indonesia|
|Win||31–3||Jeff Sims||RTD||5 (10)||11/01/1990||Trump Plaza Hotel, Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States|
|Win||30–3||Anders Eklund||KO||1 (10)||19/10/1989||Trump Plaza Hotel, Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States|
|Win||29–3||Larry Alexander||SD||10||27/01/1989||Bally's Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||28–3||Mauricio Villegas||TKO||9 (10)||17/02/1988||York Hall, Bethnal Green, London, England, United Kingdom|
|Win||27–3||Mike Williams||SD||10||14/10/1987||Resorts International, Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States|
|Win||26–3||Mark Wills||TKO||1 (10)||04/08/1987||Resorts International, Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States||Witherspoon swarms all over Wills who fails to punch back and is stopped on his feet.|
|Loss||25–3||James Smith||TKO||1 (15)||12/12/1986||Madison Square Garden, New York City, United States||Lost WBA World Heavyweight title.|
|Win||25–2||Frank Bruno||KO||11 (12)||19/07/1986||Wembley Stadium, Wembley, London, England, United Kingdom||Retained WBA World Heavyweight title.|
|Win||24–2||Tony Tubbs||MD||15||17/01/1986||The Omni, Atlanta, Georgia, United States||Won WBA World Heavyweight title.|
|Win||23–2||Sammy Scaff||TKO||4 (10)||12/10/1985||National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, West Midlands, England, United Kingdom|
|Win||22–2||Larry Beilfuss||TKO||1 (10)||06/09/1985||Tamiani Fairgrounds Auditorium, Miami, Florida, United States||Beilfuss down twice during the bout.|
|Win||21–2||James Smith||UD||12||15/06/1985||Riviera Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Retained NABF Heavyweight title.|
|Win||20–2||James Broad||KO||2 (12)||29/04/1985||Memorial Auditorium, Buffalo, New York, United States||Retained NABF Heavyweight title.|
|Win||19–2||Mark Wills||KO||9 (10)||25/03/1985||Forum, Inglewood, California, United States|
|Loss||18–2||Pinklon Thomas||MD||12||31/08/1984||Riviera Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Lost WBC Heavyweight title.|
|Win||18–1||Greg Page||MD||12||09/03/1984||Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Won vacant WBC Heavyweight title.|
|Win||17–1||James Tillis||TKO||1 (12)||23/09/1983||Richfield Coliseum, Richfield, Ohio, United States||Won vacant NABF Heavyweight title. Title had been vacated by Michael Dokes when he won the WBA title.|
|Win||16–1||Floyd Cummings||UD||10||16/07/1983||Dunes Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Cummings was down in the second round.|
|Loss||15–1||Larry Holmes||SD||12||20/05/1983||Dunes Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||For WBC Heavyweight title.|
|Win||15–0||Renaldo Snipes||MD||10||05/06/1982||Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||14–0||Luis Acosta||KO||2 (8)||30/03/1982||Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States|
|Win||13–0||Alfonzo Ratliff||TKO||7 (10)||05/12/1981||Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States|
|Win||12–0||Curtis Gaskins||TKO||2 (?)||17/11/1981||Playboy Hotel & Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States|
|Win||11–0||Jerry Williams||TKO||8 (10)||30/07/1981||Martin Luther King Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States|
|Win||10–0||Jerry Williams||KO||4 (10)||17/06/1981||Martin Luther King Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States|
|Win||9–0||Dave Johnson||UD||8||11/04/1981||Concord Hotel, Kiamesha Lake, New York, United States|
|Win||8–0||Marvin Stinson||PTS||10||07/02/1981||Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States|
|Win||7–0||Ed Bednarik||PTS||10||24/01/1981||Martin Luther King Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States|
|Win||6–0||James Reid||KO||6 (?)||11/12/1980||Martin Luther King Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States|
|Win||5–0||Oliver Wright||TKO||2 (8)||24/10/1980||Martin Luther King Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States|
|Win||4–0||Charles Cox||KO||5 (?)||20/07/1980||Great Gorge Playboy Club, McAfee, New Jersey, United States|
|Win||3–0||Robert Evans||UD||6||09/05/1980||Great Gorge Playboy Club, McAfee, New Jersey, United States|
|Win||2–0||Robert Ritchie||KO||1 (?)||26/04/1980||Lynchburg, Virginia, United States|
|Win||1–0||Joe Adams||TKO||1 (?)||30/10/1979||Forum, Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, United States|
|Awards and achievements|
|NABF Heavyweight Champion
September 23, 1983 – March 9, 1984
|Heavyweight boxing champion (WBC)
March 9, 1984 – August 31, 1984
|NABF Heavyweight Champion
April 29, 1985 – January 17, 1986
|Heavyweight boxing champion (WBA)
January 17, 1986 -December 12, 1986
James 'Bonecrusher' Smith
- BBC interviews with both and The Ring magazine
- Ring managzine, actual fight commentary plus daily papers reports
- "Tim Witherspoon biography on the way – "Terrible" Tim to finally tell his side of the story". Boxing News. April 4, 2013. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
- Interview with Brian D'Ambrosio, May 2013. http://www.boxing.com/terrible_times_a_life_of_tim_witherspoon.html