Tim Witherspoon

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Tim Witherspoon
Tim Witherspoon in Apperknowle (cropped).JPG
Witherspoon in 2008
Height6 ft 3+12 in (192 cm)
Reach78 in (198 cm)
Born (1957-12-27) December 27, 1957 (age 63)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Boxing record
Total fights69
Wins by KO38

Tim Witherspoon (born December 27, 1957) is an American former professional boxer who competed from 1979 to 2003. He was a two-time world heavyweight champion, having held the WBC title in 1984, and the WBA title in 1986. Witherspoon also worked as a regular sparring partner for Muhammad Ali.

Professional career[edit]

Early years[edit]

Witherspoon had six amateur bouts, losing the last 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 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.[1]

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[edit]

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 gave Holmes all he could handle, including rocking him badly in the ninth round, before losing a disputed twelve round split decision.

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 with a first-round knockout of James "Quick" Tillis.

First title reign: WBC heavyweight champion[edit]

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).[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

Second title reign: WBA heavyweight champion[edit]

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 and future world champion Frank Bruno at Wembley Stadium, as part of the heavyweight unification series. 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.[citation needed] The fight was scheduled for December 12, 1986 at Madison Square Garden and Witherspoon a heavy favorite against the 17-5 Smith.[citation needed] With fifty seconds remaining in the first 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.[citation needed]

Post-championship career[edit]

Following the end his second title reign, Witherspoon spent years in litigation against Don King.[citation needed] In 1991 won the USBA heavyweight title by defeating fellow contender Carl "The Truth" Williams but lost a points decision to Everett Martin.[citation needed] Ring magazine called this inexplicable loss the low point of his career.[citation needed]

In 1993 Don King settled out of court and paid Witherspoon a million dollars. By 1994 Witherspoon had won five fights in a row by knockout.[citation needed] Aged 38 he was signed 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.[citation needed] Later in the year he was matched with Ray Mercer but lost a 10-round decision.[citation needed]

After that loss Witherspoon laid off a year, and when he came back he was outpointed by 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.[citation needed]

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 Lou Savarese, who stopped him in five rounds.[citation needed]

Witherspoon also competed in Cedric Kushner's 2003 Thunderbox Heavyweight Tournament, "Fistful of Dollars," but lost in the opening stages.[citation needed]

Life after boxing[edit]

Witherspoon resides near 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.[citation needed]

In 2014, Witherspoon published his book with the help of British entrepreneur Kevin Baker and ghost writer Ryan Danes.[2]

Professional boxing record[edit]

Professional record summary
69 fights 55 wins 13 losses
By knockout 38 4
By decision 17 9
Draws 1
No. Result Record Opponent Type Round, time Date Location Notes
69 Loss 55–13–1 United States Brian Nix SD 10 Mar 15, 2003 United States Grand Casino, Gulfport, Mississippi, U.S.
68 Loss 55–12–1 United States Lou Savarese TKO 5 (12), 2:42 Sep 22, 2002 United States Table Mountain Casino, Friant, California, U.S. For vacant WBO Inter-Continental heavyweight title
67 Win 55–11–1 Syria Ahmed Abdin UD 10 May 18, 2002 United States Silver Star Hotel & Casino, Choctaw, Mississippi, U.S.
66 Win 54–11–1 United States Darroll Wilson KO 2 (10), 1:02 Mar 10, 2002 United States Green Valley Ranch, Henderson, Nevada, U.S.
65 Win 53–11–1 United States Ed White TKO 1, 1:10 Jan 18, 2002 United States Entertainment & Sports Arena, Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S.
64 Win 52–11–1 United States Cleveland Woods KO 1 (10), 2:30 Jul 29, 2001 United States Palace Indian Gaming Center, Lemoore, California, U.S.
63 Loss 51–11–1 United States Monte Barrett SD 10 Jun 28, 2001 United States Turning Stone Resort Casino, Verona, New York, U.S.
62 Win 51–10–1 United States Danny Wofford TKO 3 (10) Apr 13, 2001 United States University, Hampton, Virginia, U.S.
61 Win 50–10–1 Cuba Elieser Castillo MD 10 Mar 31, 2001 United States Bally's Park Place, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
60 Win 49–10–1 United States David Bostice TKO 1 (10), 2:21 Feb 22, 2001 United States Zembo Shrine Building, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, U.S.
59 Win 48–10–1 United States David Smith TKO 2 (10), 2:12 Jul 8, 2000 United States Monroe, Louisiana, U.S.
58 Draw 47–10–1 Mexico Mike Sedillo PTS 12 Apr 29, 2000 Antigua and Barbuda St. John's, Antigua and Barbuda For NBA heavyweight title
57 Win 47–10 United States Joe Ballard KO 1 Feb 25, 2000 United States Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
56 Loss 46–10 United States Greg Page RTD 7 (10), 3:00 Jun 18, 1999 United States Cumberland County Crown Coliseum, Fayetteville, North Carolina, U.S.
55 Loss 46–9 Denmark Brian Nielsen TKO 4 (10) Apr 16, 1999 Denmark K.B. Hallen, Copenhagen, Denmark
54 Loss 46–8 Poland Andrew Golota UD 10 Oct 2, 1998 Poland Centennial Hall, Wrocław, Poland
53 Loss 46–7 New Zealand Jimmy Thunder UD 10 Apr 7, 1998 United States Harrah's Hotel and Casino, Cherokee, North Carolina, U.S.
52 Loss 46–6 United States Larry Donald UD 12 Dec 13, 1997 United States Foxwoods Resort Casino, Ledyard, Connecticut, U.S. For WBC Continental Americas heavyweight title
51 Win 46–5 United States Levi Billups TKO 1 (10), 1:44 Nov 4, 1997 United States Grand Casino, Tunica, Mississippi, U.S.
50 Loss 45–5 United States Ray Mercer UD 10 Dec 14, 1996 United States Convention Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
49 Win 45–4 Cuba Jorge Luis González TKO 5 (10), 2:54 May 10, 1996 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
48 Win 44–4 United States Al Cole UD 10 Jan 12, 1996 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
47 Win 43–4 United States Tim Puller TKO 2 (10), 0:45 Nov 14, 1995 United States Casino Magic, Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, U.S.
46 Win 42–4 Jamaica Everton Davis TKO 7 (10), 1:34 Oct 31, 1995 United States Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.
45 Win 41–4 United States Jesse Shelby TKO 1 (10) Mar 24, 1995 United States Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
44 Win 40–4 United States Nathaniel Fitch TKO 6 (10) Dec 17, 1994 United States Etess Arena, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
43 Win 39–4 United States Sherman Griffin TKO 3 (10), 2:58 Aug 12, 1994 United States South Padre Island, Texas, U.S.
42 Win 38–4 United States Tony Willis UD 10 Aug 25, 1992 United States Harrah's Marino Resort, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
41 Loss 37–4 United States Everett Martin SD 10 Jul 21, 1992 United States The Palace, Auburn Hills, Michigan, U.S.
40 Win 37–3 United States James Pritchard UD 10 Mar 23, 1992 United States Harrah's Marina Resort, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
39 Win 36–3 United States Jimmy Lee Smith KO 1 (10), 2:27 Feb 4, 1992 United States Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
38 Win 35–3 United States Art Tucker TKO 3 (12), 1:33 Sep 10, 1991 United States The Blue Horizon, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. Retained USBA heavyweight title
37 Win 34–3 United States Carl Williams SD 12 Mar 8, 1991 United States Etess Arena, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S. Won USBA heavyweight title
36 Win 33–3 Cuba José Ribalta MD 10 Jul 19, 1990 United States Kingdome, Seattle, Washington, U.S.
35 Win 32–3 United States Greg Gorrell TKO 3 (10), 1:00 Mar 12, 1990 Indonesia Gelora Senayan Main Stadium, Jakarta, Indonesia
34 Win 31–3 United States Jeff Sims RTD 5 (10), 3:00 Jan 11, 1990 United States Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
33 Win 30–3 Sweden Anders Eklund KO 1 (10), 1:11 Oct 19, 1989 United States Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
32 Win 29–3 United States Larry Alexander SD 10 Jan 27, 1989 United States Bally's Las Vegas, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
31 Win 28–3 Mexico Mauricio Villegas TKO 9 (10) Feb 17, 1988 United Kingdom York Hall, London, England
30 Win 27–3 United States Mike Williams SD 10 Oct 14, 1987 United States Steel Pier, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
29 Win 26–3 United States Mark Wills TKO 1 (10), 1:15 Aug 4, 1987 United States Steel Pier, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
28 Loss 25–3 United States James Smith KO 1 (15), 2:12 Dec 12, 1986 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S. Lost WBA heavyweight title
27 Win 25–2 United Kingdom Frank Bruno TKO 11 (15), 2:57 Jul 19, 1986 United Kingdom Wembley Stadium, London, England Retained WBA heavyweight title
26 Win 24–2 United States Tony Tubbs MD 15 Jan 17, 1986 United States Omni Coliseum, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. Won WBA heavyweight title
25 Win 23–2 United States Sammy Scaff TKO 4 (10), 1:04 Oct 12, 1985 United Kingdom National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, England
24 Win 22–2 United States Larry Beilfuss TKO 1 (10), 1:35 Sep 6, 1985 United States Tamiami Park Auditorium, Miami, Florida, U.S.
23 Win 21–2 United States James Smith UD 12 Jun 15, 1985 United States Riviera, Winchester, Nevada, U.S. Retained NABF heavyweight title
22 Win 20–2 United States James Broad KO 2 (12), 2:35 Apr 29, 1985 United States Memorial Auditorium, Buffalo, New York, U.S. Retained NABF heavyweight title
21 Win 19–2 United States Mark Wills TKO 9 (10), 1:13 Mar 25, 1985 United States The Forum, Inglewood, California, U.S.
20 Loss 18–2 United States Pinklon Thomas MD 12 Aug 31, 1984 United States Riviera, Winchester, Nevada, U.S. Lost WBC heavyweight title
19 Win 18–1 United States Greg Page MD 12 Mar 9, 1984 United States Las Vegas Convention Center, Winchester, Nevada, U.S. Won vacant WBC heavyweight title
18 Win 17–1 United States James Tillis TKO 1 (12), 2:16 Sep 23, 1983 United States Coliseum, Richfield, Ohio, U.S. Won vacant NABF heavyweight title
17 Win 16–1 United States Floyd Cummings UD 10 Jul 16, 1983 United States Dunes, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
16 Loss 15–1 United States Larry Holmes SD 12 May 20, 1983 United States Dunes, Paradise, Nevada, U.S. For WBC and The Ring heavyweight titles
15 Win 15–0 United States Renaldo Snipes MD 10 Jun 5, 1982 United States Caesars Palace, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
14 Win 14–0 Argentina Luis Acosta KO 2 (10), 0:42 Mar 30, 1982 United States Playboy Hotel and Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
13 Win 13–0 United States Alfonzo Ratliff TKO 7 (10), 2:25 Dec 5, 1981 United States Sands, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
12 Win 12–0 United States Curtis Gaskins KO 2 (8) Nov 17, 1981 United States Playboy Hotel and Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
11 Win 11–0 United States Jerry Williams TKO 8 (10) Jul 30, 1981 United States Martin Luther King Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
10 Win 10–0 United States Bobby Jordan KO 4 (10) Jun 17, 1981 United States Martin Luther King Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
9 Win 9–0 United States Dave Johnson UD 8 Apr 11, 1981 United States Concord Resort Hotel, Thompson, New York, U.S.
8 Win 8–0 United States Marvin Stinson PTS 10 Feb 7, 1981 United States Steel Pier, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
7 Win 7–0 United States Ed Bednarik TKO 1, 2:06 Jan 24, 1981 United States Martin Luther King Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
6 Win 6–0 United States James Reid TKO 6 (8) Dec 11, 1980 United States Martin Luther King Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
5 Win 5–0 Jamaica Oliver Wright TKO 2 (8) Oct 24, 1980 United States Martin Luther King Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
4 Win 4–0 United States Charles Cox KO 5 Jul 20, 1980 United States The Great Gorge Playboy Club Hotel, McAfee, New Jersey, U.S.
3 Win 3–0 United States Robert Evans UD 6 May 9, 1980 United States Long Island Arena, Commack, New York, U.S.
2 Win 2–0 United States Robert Ritchie KO 1 Apr 26, 1980 United States Lynchburg, Virginia, U.S.
1 Win 1–0 United States Joe Adams TKO 1, 1:58 Oct 30, 1979 United States Forum, Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, U.S.


  1. ^ Frank bruno's autobiography
  2. ^ "Tim Witherspoon biography on the way – "Terrible" Tim to finally tell his side of the story". Boxing News. April 4, 2013. Retrieved November 11, 2013.

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Regional boxing titles
Title last held by
Michael Dokes
NABF heavyweight champion
September 23, 1983 – January 1986
Title next held by
James Broad
Preceded by
Carl Williams
USBA heavyweight champion
March 8, 1991 – February 1992
Title next held by
Mike Hunter
World boxing titles
Title last held by
Larry Holmes
WBC heavyweight champion
March 9, 1984 – August 31, 1984
Succeeded by
Pinklon Thomas
Preceded by
Tony Tubbs
WBA heavyweight champion
January 17, 1986 – December 12, 1986
Succeeded by
James Smith