Trevor Berbick

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Trevor Berbick
Trevor Berbick
Born(1954-08-01)1 August 1954
Norwich, Port Antonio, Jamaica
Died28 October 2006(2006-10-28) (aged 52)
Norwich, Port Antonio, Jamaica
Height6 ft 2 in (188 cm)
Reach78 in (198 cm)
Boxing record
Total fights61
Wins by KO29
Medal record
Men's amateur boxing
Representing  Jamaica
Pan American Games
Bronze medal – third place 1975 Mexico City Heavyweight

Trevor Berbick (1 August 1954 – 28 October 2006) was a Jamaican professional boxer who competed from 1976 to 2000. He won the WBC heavyweight title in 1986 by defeating Pinklon Thomas, then lost it in his first defense in the same year to Mike Tyson. Berbick was the last boxer to fight Muhammad Ali, defeating him in 1981 by unanimous decision.

As an amateur, Berbick won a bronze medal in the heavyweight division at the 1975 Pan American Games. In both his early and late professional career he held the Canadian heavyweight title twice, from 1979 to 1986 and 1999 to 2001. Berbick is the only boxer to have fought Muhammad Ali, Larry Holmes, and Mike Tyson.

Amateur career[edit]

At 22, Berbick represented his native Jamaica in the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Quebec, Canada as a heavyweight boxer, despite having had only 11 prior amateur bouts. His lack of experience was evident as he lost to the eventual silver medalist, Mircea Şimon of Romania. However, he still displayed a lot of promise as a young heavyweight boxer. The previous year, in his only bout at the Pan American Games in Mexico City, Berbick lost a decision to future heavyweight champion Michael Dokes in the semi-finals, winning a bronze medal.[1]

Leroy Caldwell, a boxer who fought almost all notable top-ranked heavyweights of the 1970s and early 1980s, including several world champions, recalled that Berbick was his most talented opponent.[2]

Professional career[edit]

Berbick left Jamaica after the Olympics. He opted to settle in Montreal and fight professionally out of Halifax. He won his first 11 fights (10 by knockout) before suffering his first pro loss to another rising contender, Bernardo Mercado, on 3 April 1979. As an amateur, Berbick had soundly beaten Mercado. However, with 10 seconds remaining in the first round of their only professional meeting, Berbick walked into a punch and was knocked out.

A 1980 upset of ex-champ John Tate (9th-round KO) secured a title shot against Larry Holmes on 11 April 1981, but Berbick lost a 15-round unanimous decision. In his second fight after the loss, he beat 39-year-old Muhammad Ali by unanimous decision in the final fight of Ali's career.

In 1982, he beat undefeated prospect Greg Page, and in 1984 he moved to Miramar, Florida and signed with promoter Don King. Wins over undefeated Mitch "Blood" Green and David Bey scored him another title fight.

Berbick won the WBC world heavyweight title by upsetting Pinklon Thomas with a unanimous decision on 22 March 1986. The champion Thomas was a 6.5-1 favorite, however Berbick won a battle of attrition by wearing Thomas down with his strength and quickness. Almost knocking down Thomas in the 11th round with a powerful left hook. Both fighter's faces showed the "meanness and toughness" of the battle; Berbick marked around both eyes, Thomas cut in the corner of his left eye. The scores for Berbick were 115/113 twice, and 115/114. The Associated Press (AP) scored it 116-113 for Berbick.[3]

However, his reign as champion would be brief.

On 22 November, in his first defense of the title, Berbick took on Mike Tyson, who was looking to break Floyd Patterson's record and become, at the age of twenty, the youngest ever heavyweight champion. In the second round, Tyson dropped Berbick with a quick knockdown. Berbick was quickly overwhelmed by his opponent and late in the round, he went down again. The champion rose to his feet, but immediately stumbled backward and fell back to the canvas. Berbick tried twice more to make it to his feet but fell both times, and referee Mills Lane stopped counting and waved the fight off to end Berbick's reign as champion.

In 1991, he traveled to the UWFi promotion in Japan to fight Nobuhiko Takada in a "boxer vs. wrestler" bout. Berbick claimed that he had been double-crossed and that he had expected the fight to be like American kickboxing, but it turned out that the rules allowed Takada to kick Berbick below the belt, and according to UWFi trainer Pat McCarthy, "no rules were ever changed, and [Berbick] just never wanted to listen". Berbick refused to mount any offense, instead repeatedly complaining to the referee as Takada kicked him repeatedly in the legs. Takada claimed victory by default when Berbick exited the ring.[4]

Berbick resumed his boxing career in 1994, frequently fighting on the USA Tuesday Night Fights. He would score a mild upset over Melvin Foster but would go on to lose to prospects such as Jimmy Thunder and Hasim Rahman. He eventually fought his last bout in 2000 against Canadian journeyman Shane Sutcliffe, winning a 12-round unanimous decision. Afterwards, a CAT scan revealed a blood clot in his brain and his boxing license was revoked. His final professional record was 49 wins (33 by knockout), 11 losses, and 1 draw.

Outside the ring[edit]

Berbick was a preacher at the Moments of Miracles Pentecostal church in Las Vegas.

Rape conviction[edit]

Berbick was arrested on a number of occasions throughout his life and was sentenced in Florida to 5 years in prison for raping his children's babysitter in 1992. He served only 15 months. In 1997, he violated his parole and was deported from the United States to Canada. Due to his legal issues, he also had problems staying in Canada, losing his landed immigrant status and being ordered back to Jamaica in 1999.[5] Later in 1999 he won the right to remain in Canada.[6]

Feud with Larry Holmes[edit]

Berbick had a well-publicized feud with Larry Holmes, whom he fought in the ring in 1981. Their feud culminated in a public confrontation and brawl in 1991, which was caught on tape. After a verbal altercation indoors, Berbick was outside complaining about being kicked and punched by Larry Holmes when Holmes climbed atop a parked car and launched himself at Berbick. Holmes was furious with Berbick badmouthing his family. The footage ends as the two are separated by police and others.[7]


Berbick retired in Florida to be with his wife and four children (he had three children with his first wife in Montreal) and started to train boxers at Kenny Barrett's Gym in Tamarac, Florida. Berbick's problems escalated. He was again deported from the U.S. on 2 December 2002.


On 28 October 2006, Berbick was murdered at a church in Norwich, Jamaica, by an assailant wielding a 2-inch-diameter (51 mm) steel pipe. He sustained repeated blows to the head and died at the scene.[8]

Police arrested two men, one of whom was Berbick's 20-year-old nephew Harold Berbick, in connection with the murder. They were interrogated at the Port Antonio police station in Portland early on the morning of 29 October. Local residents indicated that the suspect was involved in a land dispute with Berbick. On 3 November it was reported that Berbick's nephew, 20-year-old Harold Berbick, and an unidentified 18-year-old man had been charged with his murder by Jamaican police. On 20 December 2007, Harold Berbick was convicted for the murder of his uncle. His accomplice, Kenton Gordon, was convicted of manslaughter and both men were sentenced on 11 January 2008.[9] Harold Berbick was sentenced to life in prison; Kenton Gordon was sentenced to fourteen years in prison.[10]

Trevor Berbick was buried at the Berbick family plot in Norwich, Port Antonio, Portland, Jamaica.[citation needed]

Professional boxing record[edit]

61 fights 49 wins 11 losses
By knockout 33 2
By decision 16 9
Draws 1
No. Result Record Opponent Type Round, time Date Location Notes
61 Win 49–11–1 Shane Sutcliffe UD 12 26 May 2000 PNE Agrodome, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada Retained Canada heavyweight title
60 Loss 48–11–1 Tony LaRosa SD 8 12 Aug 1999 Slave Lake, Alberta, Canada
59 Win 48–10–1 Iran Barkley UD 8 29 Jun 1999 Molson Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
58 Win 47–10–1 Shane Sutcliffe TKO 12 (12), 0:44 5 Feb 1999 Centre Pierre Charbonneau, Montreal, Quebec, Canada Won Canada heavyweight title
57 Win 46–10–1 Ben Perlini UD 10 6 Aug 1998 Slave Lake, Alberta, Canada
56 Loss 45–10–1 Lyle McDowell SD 12 15 Sep 1997 Shaw Conference Centre, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada For vacant IBO Inter-Continental heavyweight title
55 Loss 45–9–1 Hasim Rahman UD 10 15 Oct 1996 Circus Maximus Showroom, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
54 Win 45–8–1 Louis Monaco UD 10 18 Sep 1996 Westbury Music Fair, North Hempstead, New York, U.S.
53 Win 44–8–1 Ken Smith TKO 4 (10), 1:05 26 Apr 1996 Westbury Music Fair, North Hempstead, New York, U.S.
52 Win 43–8–1 Bruce Johnson TKO 3 (10) 25 Aug 1995 Columbus, Ohio, U.S.
51 Loss 42–8–1 Jimmy Thunder UD 12 15 Mar 1995 Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, Prior Lake, Minnesota, U.S. For vacant WBC Continental Americas heavyweight title
50 Win 42–7–1 Melvin Foster SD 10 13 Sep 1994 Westbury Music Fair, North Hempstead, New York, U.S.
49 Win 41–7–1 Marselles Brown KO 2 (10) 10 Aug 1994 Lakefront Arena, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
48 Win 40–7–1 Paul Phillips KO 4 (10), 1:14 30 Jul 1994 Myrl H. Shoemaker Center, Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.
47 Win 39–7–1 Danny Wofford PTS 8 14 Mar 1994 Spartanburg, South Carolina, U.S.
46 Win 38–7–1 Garing Lane PTS 8 2 Aug 1991 Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, Cannes, France
45 Win 37–7–1 Bobby Crabtree KO 5 (10), 2:00 14 Dec 1990 The Diplomat, Hollywood, Florida, U.S.
44 Win 36–7–1 Jeff Sims TKO 6 (10), 2:15 18 Jul 1990 Varsity Arena, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
43 Loss 35–7–1 Buster Douglas UD 10 25 Feb 1989 Las Vegas Hilton, Winchester, Nevada, U.S.
42 Win 35–6–1 O T Davis KO 3 (10) 20 Sep 1988 Central Plaza Hotel, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, U.S.
41 Loss 34–6–1 Carl Williams UD 12 27 Jun 1988 Convention Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S. For USBA heavyweight title
40 Win 34–5–1 Robert Evans UD 10 24 Nov 1987 Forum, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
39 Win 33–5–1 Lorenzo Boyd TKO 3 (10), 1:48 29 Oct 1987 Musical Theater, Sunrise, Florida, U.S.
38 Win 32–5–1 Art Terry TKO 5 (10), 1:33 31 Jul 1987 Lee County Civic Center, North Fort Myers, Florida, U.S.
37 Loss 31–5–1 Mike Tyson TKO 2 (12), 2:35 22 Nov 1986 Las Vegas Hilton, Winchester, Nevada, U.S. Lost WBC heavyweight title
36 Win 31–4–1 Pinklon Thomas UD 12 22 Mar 1986 Riviera, Winchester, Nevada, U.S. Won WBC heavyweight title
35 Win 30–4–1 Mike Perkins TKO 10 (10) 17 Jan 1986 Omni Coliseum, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
34 Win 29–4–1 Mitch Green MD 12 10 Aug 1985 Riviera, Winchester, Nevada, U.S. Retained USBA heavyweight title
33 Win 28–4–1 David Bey TKO 11 (12), 2:30 15 Jun 1985 Riviera, Winchester, Nevada, U.S. Won USBA heavyweight title
32 Win 27–4–1 Walter Santemore UD 10 28 Nov 1984 Broadway by the Bay Theater, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
31 Win 26–4–1 Andros Ernie Barr TKO 4 (12) 1 Sep 1984 Nassau, Bahamas Retained Commonwealth heavyweight title
30 Win 25–4–1 Mark Lee PTS 10 13 Mar 1984 Wembley Arena, London, England
29 Win 24–4–1 Mike Cohen KO 4 (10) 19 Feb 1984 Hyatt Regency, Tampa, Florida, U.S.
28 Win 23–4–1 Ken Lakusta KO 10 (12), 1:52 9 Sep 1983 Northlands Coliseum, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Retained Commonwealth and Canada heavyweight titles
27 Loss 22–4–1 S. T. Gordon UD 10 28 May 1983 Showboat Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
26 Loss 22–3–1 Renaldo Snipes UD 10 2 Oct 1982 Sands, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
25 Win 22–2–1 Greg Page UD 10 11 Jun 1982 Caesars Palace, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
24 Win 21–2–1 Gordon Racette TKO 11 (12) 5 Mar 1982 Frank Crane Arena, Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada Retained Commonwealth and Canada heavyweight titles
23 Win 20–2–1 Muhammad Ali UD 10 11 Dec 1981 Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre, Nassau, Bahamas
22 Win 19–2–1 Conroy Nelson KO 2 (15), 2:49 21 Jul 1981 Metro Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada Retained Canada heavyweight title;
Won vacant Commonwealth heavyweight title
21 Loss 18–2–1 Larry Holmes UD 15 11 Apr 1981 Caesars Palace, Paradise, Nevada, U.S. For WBC and The Ring heavyweight titles
20 Win 18–1–1 Chuck Gardner TKO 4 (10), 1:12 31 Jan 1981 Kingston, Jamaica
19 Win 17–1–1 Chuck Findlay KO 1 (10), 2:47 11 Nov 1980 Metro Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
18 Win 16–1–1 Ron Rouselle KO 1 (12), 0:33 27 Aug 1980 Northlands Coliseum, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Retained Canada heavyweight title
17 Win 15–1–1 John Tate KO 9 (10), 0:22 20 Jun 1980 Olympic Stadium, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
16 Win 14–1–1 Johnny Warr SD 10 11 Mar 1980 Metro Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
15 Win 13–1–1 Ngozika Ekwelum TKO 5 (10), 0:01 11 Dec 1979 Metro Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
14 Draw 12–1–1 Leroy Caldwell PTS 10 14 Jun 1979 Convention Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
13 Win 12–1 Earl McLeay TKO 7 (12), 2:07 26 May 1979 Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada Won vacant Canada heavyweight title
12 Loss 11–1 Bernardo Mercado KO 1 (12), 2:55 3 Apr 1979 Metro Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada For vacant WBC Continental Americas heavyweight title
11 Win 11–0 Greg Sorrentino TKO 1 (10), 1:27 8 Oct 1978 Metro Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
10 Win 10–0 Gregory Johnson KO 4 (10), 2:49 12 Sep 1978 Metro Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
9 Win 9–0 Tony Moore TKO 6 (10), 0:01 1 Aug 1978 Metro Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
8 Win 8–0 Horst Geisler KO 1 (10), 1:21 28 Jun 1978 Metro Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
7 Win 7–0 Eugene Green UD 10 8 Dec 1977 Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
6 Win 6–0 Eddie Owens TKO 5 (10), 2:34 8 Sep 1977 Forum, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
5 Win 5–0 Willie Moore KO 4 (10), 2:04 18 Aug 1977 Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
4 Win 4–0 Joe Maye TKO 7 (10), 2:50 25 Jan 1977 Metro Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
3 Win 3–0 Michael Lucas TKO 2 (6), 2:21 9 Jan 1977 New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, Canada
2 Win 2–0 Bobby Halpern TKO 3 (6), 2:05 23 Nov 1976 Forum, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
1 Win 1–0 Wayne Martin TKO 5 (6) 27 Sep 1976 Festival Arena, Shediac, New Brunswick, Canada


  1. ^ "7.Panamerican Games - Ciudad Mexico, Mexico - October 12-26 1975". Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  2. ^ Did Earnie Shavers or George Foreman hit harder? Leroy Caldwell, who fought both, gives his take, an interview by Jeff Mayweather, Las Vegas, Nevada (7 July 2016).
  3. ^ Ap (23 March 1986). "BERBICK WINS W.B.C. CROWN". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 16 February 2023.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Trevor Berbick Ordered from Canada". Associated Press News. AP News Archive. 18 February 1999. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  6. ^ CBC News (5 December 1999). "Boxer Berbick wins deportation fight". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  7. ^ Canada. "Sports - The Globe and Mail". Retrieved 13 August 2012.
  8. ^ "Former heavyweight boxing champion found dead". The Guardian. London. 28 October 2006. Retrieved 28 October 2006.
  9. ^ "Berbick's nephew one of two convicted in boxer's murder - boxing - ESPN". 21 December 2007. Retrieved 13 August 2012.
  10. ^ "Berbick Killer Gets Life". Archived from the original on 3 October 2009.

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Regional boxing titles
Title last held by
George Chuvalo
Canada heavyweight champion
26 May 1979 – 1986
Title next held by
Ken Lakusta
Title last held by
John L. Gardner
heavyweight champion

21 July 1981 – 1986
Title next held by
Horace Notice
Preceded by USBA heavyweight champion
15 June 1981 – March 1986
Title next held by
Tony Tucker
Preceded by Canada heavyweight champion
5 February 1999 – October 2001
Title next held by
Donovan Ruddock
World boxing titles
Preceded by WBC heavyweight champion
22 March 1986 – 22 November 1986
Succeeded by