Friday, 9 August 2013


                                        BLACK          SOCIAL        HISTORY                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Tim Witherspoon born December 27, 1957 is a retired American boxer who for two brief periods in the mid-1980s held the WBC then WBA World Heavyweight Championship titles.

Early career

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 ring alias of "Terrible" Tim Witherspoon.
In 1982, he was matched with Renaldo Snipes, who had just given champion Larry Holmes a stiff challenge (and knocked Holmes down), and outpointed him over 10 rounds, setting up his own challenge to Holmes.
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, a relative unknown, utilized his awkward style and natural physical strength and fought valiantly. However, he lost the fight by a split decision.
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

In December 1983, Holmes relinquished his WBC title rather than defend against Greg Page (boxer), 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

In 1985 Witherspoon regained his NABF belt by beating James Broad in two rounds, and retaining it with a twelve round decision over James "Bonecrusher" Smith, earning a match against reigning WBA (World Boxing Association) champion Tony Tubbs on January 17, 1986. Witherspoon won a majority decision over 15 rounds (144–143, 143–143, 144–141) over Tubbs to take the title.
Witherspoon's second reign as a Heavyweight champion saw him travel to London, England and defend his title against Frank Bruno in front of 60,000 fans. Witherspoon came from behind to stop Bruno in the 11th, retaining his title. After the fight, Bruno received one million pounds sterling from his promoters. Witherspoon, due the same amount, received less than $100,000 after Don King's creative accounting and deductions.
Witherspoon was supposed to fight a rematch against Tubbs next, but due to Tubbs pulling out of the fight he ended up facing Bonecrusher Smith in a rematch of their 1985 fight. Witherspoon came into the fight as a favorite but Smith came out aggressively against the champion. Witherspoon was felled three times in the span of 2:16 and the fight was stopped with Smith winning by TKO in what was considered by some (including HBO's Larry Merchant at ringside) as a monumental upset.

Post championship career

Following the end his second title reign, Witherspoon would lose 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 journeyman Everett Martin.
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 Gonzales, 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.
Witherspoon also competed in Cedric Kushner's 2003 Thunderbox Heavyweight Tournament, "Fistful of Dollars," but at 45 looked his age and lost in the opening stages.

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.