Trevor Berbick

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Trevor Berbick
Height6 ft 2 in (188 cm)
Reach78 in (198 cm)
Born(1954-08-01)August 1, 1954
Norwich, Port Antonio, Jamaica
DiedOctober 28, 2006(2006-10-28) (aged 52)
Norwich, Port Antonio, Jamaica
Boxing record
Total fights61
Wins by KO29

Trevor Berbick (August 1, 1954 – October 28, 2006) was a Jamaican Canadian 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 also the last boxer to fight Muhammad Ali, defeating him in 1981.

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.

Amateur career[edit]

At 21, 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 April 3, 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 cold. Nevertheless, he remained in contention for the heavyweight title.

A 1980 upset of ex-champ John Tate (9th-round KO) secured a title shot against Larry Holmes on April 11, 1981, but Berbick lost a 15-round unanimous decision. In his second fight after the loss, he beat 39-year-old Muhammad Ali 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, and he won the WBC world heavyweight title by upsetting Pinklon Thomas with an easy unanimous decision on March 22, 1986. However, his reign as champion would be brief.

On November 22, 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.

Along with Larry Holmes, Berbick is one of only two men in professional boxing history to have fought both Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson.

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. 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.[3]

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 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.[4] Later in 1999 he won the right to remain in Canada.[5]

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.[6]


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 December 2, 2002.


On October 28, 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.[7]

Police arrested two men, one of whom was Berbick's 20-year-old nephew Harold Berbick,[8] in connection with the murder. They were interrogated at the Port Antonio police station in Portland early on the morning of October 29.[9] Local residents indicated that the suspect was involved in a land dispute with Berbick.[10] On November 3 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.[11] On December 20, 2007, Harold Berbick was convicted for the murder of his uncle. His alleged accomplice, Kenton Gordon, was convicted of manslaughter and both men were sentenced on January 11, 2008.[12] Harold Berbick was sentenced to life in prison; Kenton Gordon was sentenced to fourteen years in prison.[13] Trevor Berbick's body was buried at the Berbick Family Plot Norwich, in Portland, Jamaica.

Professional boxing record[edit]

Professional record summary
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 Canada Shane Sutcliffe UD 12 May 26, 2000 Canada PNE Agrodome, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada Retained Canada heavyweight title
60 Loss 48–11–1 United States Tony LaRosa SD 8 Aug 12, 1999 Canada Slave Lake, Alberta, Canada
59 Win 48–10–1 United States Iran Barkley UD 8 Jun 29, 1999 Canada Molson Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
58 Win 47–10–1 Canada Shane Sutcliffe TKO 12 (12), 0:44 Feb 5, 1999 Canada Centre Pierre Charbonneau, Montreal, Quebec, Canada Won Canada heavyweight title
57 Win 46–10–1 Canada Ben Perlini UD 10 Aug 6, 1998 Canada Slave Lake, Alberta, Canada
56 Loss 45–10–1 United States Lyle McDowell SD 12 Sep 15, 1997 Canada Shaw Conference Centre, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada For vacant IBO Inter-Continental heavyweight title
55 Loss 45–9–1 United States Hasim Rahman UD 10 Oct 15, 1996 United States Circus Maximus Showroom, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
54 Win 45–8–1 United States Louis Monaco UD 10 Sep 18, 1996 United States Westbury Music Fair, North Hempstead, New York, U.S.
53 Win 44–8–1 United States Ken Smith TKO 4 (10), 1:05 Apr 26, 1996 United States Westbury Music Fair, North Hempstead, New York, U.S.
52 Win 43–8–1 United States Bruce Johnson TKO 3 (10) Aug 25, 1995 United States Columbus, Ohio, U.S.
51 Loss 42–8–1 New Zealand Jimmy Thunder UD 12 Mar 15, 1995 United States Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, Prior Lake, Minnesota, U.S. For vacant WBC Continental Americas heavyweight title
50 Win 42–7–1 United States Melvin Foster SD 10 Sep 13, 1994 United States Westbury Music Fair, North Hempstead, New York, U.S.
49 Win 41–7–1 United States Marselles Brown KO 2 (10) Aug 10, 1994 United States Lakefront Arena, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
48 Win 40–7–1 United States Paul Phillips KO 4 (10), 1:14 Jul 30, 1994 United States Myrl H. Shoemaker Center, Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.
47 Win 39–7–1 United States Danny Wofford PTS 8 Mar 14, 1994 United States Spartanburg, South Carolina, U.S.
46 Win 38–7–1 United States Garing Lane PTS 8 Aug 2, 1991 France Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, Cannes, France
45 Win 37–7–1 United States Bobby Crabtree KO 5 (10), 2:00 Dec 14, 1990 United States The Diplomat, Hollywood, Florida, U.S.
44 Win 36–7–1 United States Jeff Sims TKO 6 (10), 2:15 Jul 18, 1990 Canada Varsity Arena, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
43 Loss 35–7–1 United States Buster Douglas UD 10 Feb 25, 1989 United States Las Vegas Hilton, Winchester, Nevada, U.S.
42 Win 35–6–1 United States O T Davis KO 3 (10) Sep 20, 1988 United States Central Plaza Hotel, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, U.S.
41 Loss 34–6–1 United States Carl Williams UD 12 Jun 27, 1988 United States Convention Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S. For USBA heavyweight title
40 Win 34–5–1 United States Robert Evans UD 10 Nov 24, 1987 Canada Forum, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
39 Win 33–5–1 United States Lorenzo Boyd TKO 3 (10), 1:48 Oct 29, 1987 United States Musical Theater, Sunrise, Florida, U.S.
38 Win 32–5–1 United States Art Terry TKO 5 (10), 1:33 Jul 31, 1987 United States Lee County Civic Center, North Fort Myers, Florida, U.S.
37 Loss 31–5–1 United States Mike Tyson TKO 2 (12), 2:35 Nov 22, 1986 United States Las Vegas Hilton, Winchester, Nevada, U.S. Lost WBC heavyweight title
36 Win 31–4–1 United States Pinklon Thomas UD 12 Mar 22, 1986 United States Riviera, Winchester, Nevada, U.S. Won WBC heavyweight title
35 Win 30–4–1 United States Mike Perkins TKO 10 (10) Jan 17, 1986 United States Omni Coliseum, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
34 Win 29–4–1 United States Mitch Green MD 12 Aug 10, 1985 United States Riviera, Winchester, Nevada, U.S. Retained USBA heavyweight title
33 Win 28–4–1 United States David Bey TKO 11 (12), 2:30 Jun 15, 1985 United States Riviera, Winchester, Nevada, U.S. Won USBA heavyweight title
32 Win 27–4–1 United States Walter Santemore UD 10 Nov 28, 1984 United States Broadway by the Bay Theater, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
31 Win 26–4–1 The Bahamas Andros Ernie Barr TKO 4 (12) Sep 1, 1984 The Bahamas Nassau, Bahamas Retained Commonwealth heavyweight title
30 Win 25–4–1 United States Mark Lee PTS 10 Mar 13, 1984 United Kingdom Wembley Arena, London, England
29 Win 24–4–1 United States Mike Cohen KO 4 (10) Feb 19, 1984 United States Hyatt Regency, Tampa, Florida, U.S.
28 Win 23–4–1 Canada Ken Lakusta KO 10 (12), 1:52 Sep 9, 1983 Canada Northlands Coliseum, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Retained Commonwealth and Canada heavyweight titles
27 Loss 22–4–1 United States S. T. Gordon UD 10 May 28, 1983 United States Showboat Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
26 Loss 22–3–1 United States Renaldo Snipes UD 10 Oct 2, 1982 United States Sands, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
25 Win 22–2–1 United States Greg Page UD 10 Jun 11, 1982 United States Caesars Palace, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
24 Win 21–2–1 Canada Gordon Racette TKO 11 (12) Mar 5, 1982 Canada Frank Crane Arena, Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada Retained Commonwealth and Canada heavyweight titles
23 Win 20–2–1 United States Muhammad Ali UD 10 Dec 11, 1981 The Bahamas Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre, Nassau, Bahamas
22 Win 19–2–1 Canada Conroy Nelson KO 2 (15), 2:49 Jul 21, 1981 Canada Metro Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada Retained Canada heavyweight title;
Won vacant Commonwealth heavyweight title
21 Loss 18–2–1 United States Larry Holmes UD 15 Apr 11, 1981 United States Caesars Palace, Paradise, Nevada, U.S. For WBC, The Ring, and lineal heavyweight titles
20 Win 18–1–1 United States Chuck Gardner TKO 4 (10), 1:12 Jan 31, 1981 Jamaica Kingston, Jamaica
19 Win 17–1–1 Canada Chuck Findlay KO 1 (10), 2:47 Nov 11, 1980 Canada Metro Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
18 Win 16–1–1 Canada Ron Rouselle KO 1 (12), 0:33 Aug 27, 1980 Canada Northlands Coliseum, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Retained Canada heavyweight title
17 Win 15–1–1 United States John Tate KO 9 (10), 0:22 Jun 20, 1980 Canada Olympic Stadium, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
16 Win 14–1–1 United States Johnny Warr SD 10 Mar 11, 1980 Canada Metro Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
15 Win 13–1–1 Nigeria Ngozika Ekwelum TKO 5 (10), 0:01 Dec 11, 1979 Canada Metro Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
14 Draw 12–1–1 United States Leroy Caldwell PTS 10 Jun 14, 1979 Canada Convention Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
13 Win 12–1 Canada Earl McLeay TKO 7 (12), 2:07 May 26, 1979 Canada Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada Won vacant Canada heavyweight title
12 Loss 11–1 Colombia Bernardo Mercado KO 1 (12), 2:55 Apr 3, 1979 Canada Metro Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada For vacant WBC Continental Americas heavyweight title
11 Win 11–0 United States Greg Sorrentino TKO 1 (10), 1:27 Oct 8, 1978 Canada Metro Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
10 Win 10–0 United States Gregory Johnson KO 4 (10), 2:49 Sep 12, 1978 Canada Metro Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
9 Win 9–0 United Kingdom Tony Moore TKO 6 (10), 0:01 Aug 1, 1978 Canada Metro Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
8 Win 8–0 Canada Horst Geisler KO 1 (10), 1:21 Jun 28, 1978 Canada Metro Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
7 Win 7–0 United States Eugene Green UD 10 Dec 8, 1977 Canada Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
6 Win 6–0 United States Eddie Owens TKO 5 (10), 2:34 Sep 8, 1977 Canada Forum, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
5 Win 5–0 United States Willie Moore KO 4 (10), 2:04 Aug 18, 1977 Canada Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
4 Win 4–0 United States Joe Maye TKO 7 (10), 2:50 Jan 25, 1977 Canada Metro Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
3 Win 3–0 United States Michael Lucas TKO 2 (6), 2:21 Jan 9, 1977 Canada New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, Canada
2 Win 2–0 United States Bobby Halpern TKO 3 (6), 2:05 Nov 23, 1976 Canada Forum, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
1 Win 1–0 Canada Wayne Martin TKO 5 (6) Sep 27, 1976 Canada Festival Arena, Shediac, New Brunswick, Canada


  1. ^ "7.Panamerican Games - Ciudad Mexico, Mexico - October 12-26 1975". Retrieved 2019-03-29.
  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. ^
  4. ^ Associated Press (1999-02-18). "Trevor Berbick Ordered from Canada". AP News Archive. Retrieved 2016-06-04.
  5. ^ CBC News (1999-12-05). "Boxer Berbick wins deportation fight". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2016-06-05.
  6. ^ Canada. "Sports - The Globe and Mail". Retrieved 2012-08-13.
  7. ^ "Former heavyweight boxing champion found dead". London: The Guardian. October 28, 2006. Retrieved 2006-10-28.
  8. ^ Sun Sentinel[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ "Former heavyweight boxing champion found dead". Casper Star-Tribune. October 29, 2006. Retrieved 2006-10-29.[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ "Jamaican police make arrest in slaying of ex-boxing champ Trevor Berbick". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. October 30, 2006. Retrieved 2006-10-30.[dead link]
  11. ^ "Nephew Charged With Berbick's Slaying". New York Times. November 3, 2006. Retrieved 2006-11-03.[dead link]
  12. ^ "Berbick's nephew one of two convicted in boxer's murder - boxing - ESPN". 2007-12-21. Retrieved 2012-08-13.
  13. ^ "Berbick Killer Gets Life". Archived from the original on 2009-10-03.

External links[edit]

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

July 21, 1981 – 1986
Title next held by
Horace Notice
Preceded by
David Bey
USBA heavyweight champion
June 15, 1981 – March 1986
Title next held by
Tony Tucker
Preceded by
Shane Sutcliffe
Canada heavyweight champion
February 5, 1999 – October 2001
Title next held by
Donovan Ruddock
World boxing titles
Preceded by
Pinklon Thomas
WBC heavyweight champion
March 22, 1986 – November 22, 1986
Succeeded by
Mike Tyson