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Sunday, 21 July 2013
BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY : AFRICAN AMERICAN PROFESSIONAL HEAVY WEIGHT BOXER CLEVELAND "BIG" WILLIAMS - RATEDS AS ONE OF THE FINEST BOXERS NEVER TO WIN A TITLE : GOES INTO THE " HALL OF BLACK GENIUS"
BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY Cleveland "Big Cat" Williams June 6, 1933 – September 3, 1999 was an American heavyweight boxer who fought in the 1950s through the 1970s. A Ring Magazine poll once rated him as one of the finest boxers never to win a title. He made an imposing figure, tall with an impressive athletic broad shouldered build.
Williams turned professional in 1951 and fought many of the best heavyweights of his era. He is best known for the two brutal bouts he had with Sonny Liston. Critics felt the second match was overrated and quickly over. Liston often said Williams was the hardest puncher he ever fought.
During the late 1950s and early 1960s the 6 ft 3 in Williams was a top-rated heavyweight. His quest to obtain a title fight, however, was consistently derailed. First he was knocked out by Liston on April 15, 1959, after hurting Liston early and breaking Liston's nose.
Williams recovered from the Liston fight to score more wins, but was again stopped by Liston in 2 rounds in their rematch on March 21, 1960. His quest for the title was later stalled when he was held to a draw by Eddie Machen on July 10, 1962, and when he dropped a split decision on March 13, 1963 to Ernie Terrell, a fighter he had previously knocked out in 7 rounds in 1962. During this time frame he defeated Billy Daniels.
Williams had been inactive the entire year of 1965 while recovering from gunshot wounds he suffered at the hands of a police officer arising out of a traffic stop. Boxing reporter Jerry Izenberg adds "...shot for no apparent reason." Williams was shot with a .357 Magnum in the abdomen, barely survived, and suffered permanent kidney damage, a loss of over ten feet of his small intestine, and nerve damage from the bullet which affected his left leg above the knee, causing it to atrophy as a result. Williams didn't however bear the policeman any malice. Some thought he had resisted arrest on suspected drunk driving.