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Witherspoon in 2008
|Height||6 ft 3 1⁄2 in (192 cm)|
|Reach||78 in (198 cm)|
December 27, 1957 |
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Wins by KO||38|
Tim Witherspoon (born December 27, 1957) is an American former professional boxer who competed from 1979 to 2003. He is a two-time world heavyweight champion, having held the WBC title in 1984, and the WBA title in 1986. Upon winning his second world title, Witherspoon joined Floyd Patterson and Muhammad Ali as the only boxers to win multiple world heavyweight championships.
Witherspoon also worked as a regular sparring partner for Muhammad Ali. Witherspoon's style was that of a pressure fighter, using an unusual cross-arm guard similar to Ken Norton, with a strong and 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 complimentary ring alias of "Terrible" Tim Witherspoon.
In 1982, he was matched with Renaldo Snipes, who had just given champion Larry Holmes a fair challenge (and knocked Holmes down), and outpointed him over 10 rounds, setting up his own challenge to Holmes.
Witherspoon vs. Larry Holmes: WBC heavyweight title
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: WBC heavyweight champion
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: WBA heavyweight champion
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.
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
|Professional record summary|
|69 fights||55 wins||13 losses|
|69||Loss||55–13–1||Brian Nix||SD||10||Mar 15, 2003||Grand Casino, Gulfport, Mississippi, U.S.|
|68||Loss||55–12–1||Lou Savarese||TKO||5 (12), 2:42||Sep 22, 2002||Table Mountain Casino, Friant, California, U.S.||For vacant WBO Inter-Continental heavyweight title|
|67||Win||55–11–1||Ahmed Abdin||UD||10||May 18, 2002||Silver Star Hotel & Casino, Choctaw, Mississippi, U.S.|
|66||Win||54–11–1||Darroll Wilson||KO||2 (10), 1:02||Mar 10, 2002||Green Valley Ranch, Henderson, Nevada, U.S.|
|65||Win||53–11–1||Ed White||TKO||1, 1:10||Jan 18, 2002||Entertainment & Sports Arena, Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S.|
|64||Win||52–11–1||Cleveland Woods||KO||1 (10), 2:30||Jul 29, 2001||Tachi Palace, Lemoore, California, U.S.|
|63||Loss||51–11–1||Monte Barrett||SD||10||Jun 28, 2001||Turning Stone Resort & Casino, Verona, New York, U.S.|
|62||Win||51–10–1||Danny Wofford||TKO||3 (10)||Apr 13, 2001||University, Hampton, Virginia, U.S.|
|61||Win||50–10–1||Elieser Castillo||MD||10||Mar 31, 2001||Bally's Park Place, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|60||Win||49–10–1||David Bostice||TKO||1 (10), 2:21||Feb 22, 2001||Zembo Shrine Building, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, U.S.|
|59||Win||48–10–1||David Smith||TKO||2 (10), 2:12||Jul 8, 2000||Monroe, Louisiana, U.S.|
|58||Draw||47–10–1||Mike Sedillo||PTS||12||Apr 29, 2000||St. John's, Antigua and Barbuda||For NBA heavyweight title|
|57||Win||47–10||Joe Ballard||KO||1||Feb 25, 2000||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.|
|56||Loss||46–10||Greg Page||RTD||7 (10), 3:00||Jun 18, 1999||Cumberland County Crown Coliseum, Fayetteville, North Carolina, U.S.|
|55||Loss||46–9||Brian Nielsen||TKO||4 (10)||Apr 16, 1999||K.B. Hallen, Copenhagen, Denmark|
|54||Loss||46–8||Andrew Golota||UD||10||Oct 2, 1998||Centennial Hall, Wrocław, Poland|
|53||Loss||46–7||Jimmy Thunder||UD||10||Apr 7, 1998||Harrah's Hotel and Casino, Cherokee, North Carolina, U.S.|
|52||Loss||46–6||Larry Donald||UD||12||Dec 13, 1997||Foxwoods Resort Casino, Ledyard, Connecticut, U.S.||For WBC Continental Americas heavyweight title|
|51||Win||46–5||Levi Billups||TKO||1 (10), 1:44||Nov 4, 1997||Grand Casino, Tunica, Mississippi, U.S.|
|50||Loss||45–5||Ray Mercer||UD||10||Dec 14, 1996||Convention Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|49||Win||45–4||Jorge Luis González||TKO||5 (10), 2:54||May 10, 1996||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.|
|48||Win||44–4||Al Cole||UD||10||Jan 12, 1996||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.|
|47||Win||43–4||Tim Puller||TKO||2 (10), 0:45||Nov 14, 1995||Casino Magic, Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, U.S.|
|46||Win||42–4||Everton Davis||TKO||7 (10), 1:34||Oct 31, 1995||Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.|
|45||Win||41–4||Jesse Shelby||TKO||1 (10)||Mar 24, 1995||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.|
|44||Win||40–4||Nathaniel Fitch||TKO||6 (10)||Dec 17, 1994||Etess Arena, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|43||Win||39–4||Sherman Griffin||TKO||3 (10), 2:58||Aug 12, 1994||South Padre Island, Texas, U.S.|
|42||Win||38–4||Tony Willis||UD||10||Aug 25, 1992||Harrah's Marino Resort, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|41||Loss||37–4||Everett Martin||SD||10||Jul 21, 1992||The Palace, Auburn Hills, Michigan, U.S.|
|40||Win||37–3||James Pritchard||UD||10||Mar 23, 1992||Harrah's Marina Resort, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|39||Win||36–3||Jimmy Lee Smith||KO||1 (10), 2:27||Feb 4, 1992||Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|38||Win||35–3||Art Tucker||TKO||3 (12), 1:33||Sep 10, 1991||The Blue Horizon, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.||Retained USBA heavyweight title|
|37||Win||34–3||Carl Williams||SD||12||Mar 8, 1991||Etess Arena, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.||Won USBA heavyweight title|
|36||Win||33–3||Jose Ribalta||MD||10||Jul 19, 1990||Kingdome, Seattle, Washington, U.S.|
|35||Win||32–3||Greg Gorrell||TKO||3 (10), 1:00||Mar 12, 1990||Gelora Senayan Main Stadium, Jakarta, Indonesia|
|34||Win||31–3||Jeff Sims||RTD||5 (10), 3:00||Jan 11, 1990||Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|33||Win||30–3||Anders Eklund||KO||1 (10), 1:11||Oct 19, 1989||Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|32||Win||29–3||Larry Alexander||SD||10||Jan 27, 1989||Bally's Las Vegas, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.|
|31||Win||28–3||Mauricio Villegas||TKO||9 (10)||Feb 17, 1988||York Hall, London, England|
|30||Win||27–3||Mike Williams||SD||10||Oct 14, 1987||Resorts International, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|29||Win||26–3||Mark Wills||TKO||1 (10), 1:15||Aug 4, 1987||Resorts International, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|28||Loss||25–3||James Smith||KO||1 (15), 2:12||Dec 12, 1986||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.||Lost WBA heavyweight title|
|27||Win||25–2||Frank Bruno||TKO||11 (15), 2:57||Jul 19, 1986||Wembley Stadium, London, England||Retained WBA heavyweight title|
|26||Win||24–2||Tony Tubbs||MD||15||Jan 17, 1986||Omni Coliseum, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.||Won WBA heavyweight title|
|25||Win||23–2||Sammy Scaff||TKO||4 (10), 1:04||Oct 12, 1985||National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, England|
|24||Win||22–2||Larry Beilfuss||TKO||1 (10), 1:35||Sep 6, 1985||Tamiami Park Auditorium, Miami, Florida, U.S.|
|23||Win||21–2||James Smith||UD||12||Jun 15, 1985||Riviera, Winchester, Nevada, U.S.||Retained NABF heavyweight title|
|22||Win||20–2||James Broad||KO||2 (12), 2:35||Apr 29, 1985||Memorial Auditorium, Buffalo, New York, U.S.||Retained NABF heavyweight title|
|21||Win||19–2||Mark Wills||TKO||9 (10), 1:13||Mar 25, 1985||The Forum, Inglewood, California, U.S.|
|20||Loss||18–2||Pinklon Thomas||MD||12||Aug 31, 1984||Riviera, Winchester, Nevada, U.S.||Lost WBC heavyweight title|
|19||Win||18–1||Greg Page||MD||12||Mar 9, 1984||Las Vegas Convention Center, Winchester, Nevada, U.S.||Won vacant WBC heavyweight title|
|18||Win||17–1||James Tillis||TKO||1 (12), 2:16||Sep 23, 1983||Coliseum, Richfield, Ohio, U.S.||Won vacant NABF heavyweight title|
|17||Win||16–1||Floyd Cummings||UD||10||Jul 16, 1983||Dunes, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.|
|16||Loss||15–1||Larry Holmes||SD||12||May 20, 1983||Dunes, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.||For WBC, The Ring, and lineal heavyweight titles|
|15||Win||15–0||Renaldo Snipes||MD||10||Jun 5, 1982||Caesars Palace, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.|
|14||Win||14–0||Luis Acosta||KO||2 (10), 0:42||Mar 30, 1982||Playboy Hotel and Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|13||Win||13–0||Alfonzo Ratliff||TKO||7 (10), 2:25||Dec 5, 1981||Sands, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|12||Win||12–0||Curtis Gaskins||KO||2 (8)||Nov 17, 1981||Playboy Hotel and Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|11||Win||11–0||Jerry Williams||TKO||8 (10)||Jul 30, 1981||Martin Luther King Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.|
|10||Win||10–0||Bobby Jordan||KO||4 (10)||Jun 17, 1981||Martin Luther King Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.|
|9||Win||9–0||Dave Johnson||UD||8||Apr 11, 1981||Concord Resort Hotel, Thompson, New York, U.S.|
|8||Win||8–0||Marvin Stinson||PTS||10||Feb 7, 1981||Resorts International, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|7||Win||7–0||Ed Bednarik||TKO||1, 2:06||Jan 24, 1981||Martin Luther King Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.|
|6||Win||6–0||James Reid||TKO||6 (8)||Dec 11, 1980||Martin Luther King Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.|
|5||Win||5–0||Oliver Wright||TKO||2 (8)||Oct 24, 1980||Martin Luther King Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.|
|4||Win||4–0||Charles Cox||KO||5||Jul 20, 1980||The Great Gorge Playboy Club Hotel, McAfee, New Jersey, U.S.|
|3||Win||3–0||Robert Evans||UD||6||May 9, 1980||Long Island Arena, Commack, New York, U.S.|
|2||Win||2–0||Robert Ritchie||KO||1||Apr 26, 1980||Lynchburg, Virginia, U.S.|
|1||Win||1–0||Joe Adams||TKO||1, 1:58||Oct 30, 1979||Forum, Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, U.S.||Professional debut|
Titles in boxing
Title last held byMichael Dokes
|NABF heavyweight champion
September 23, 1983 – January 1986
Title next held byJames Broad
|USBA heavyweight champion
March 8, 1991 – February 1992
Title next held byMike Hunter
Title last held byLarry Holmes
|WBC heavyweight champion
March 9, 1984 – August 31, 1984
|WBA heavyweight champion
January 17, 1986 – December 12, 1986
- Frank bruno's autobiography
- "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.