Friday, 9 August 2013


                          BLACK         SOCIAL        HISTORY                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Trevor Berbick  August 1, 1954 – October 28, 2006  was a Jamaican-Canadian heavyweight boxer

 who fought as a professional from 1976 until 2000. Berbick briefly held the WBC heavyweight championship in 1986 (after beating Pinklon Thomas via 12-round unanimous decision), before losing it in his first defence to 20-year old Mike Tyson, via 2nd-round TKO. He was the last man to fight Muhammad Ali, winning a 10-round unanimous decision in Nassau, Bahamas on December 11, 1981.

Early life

He was born on August 1, 1954 in Norwich, Port Antonio, Jamaica.

Amateur career

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 plainly evident as he lost to the eventual silver medalist, Mircea ┼×imon of Romania. However, he still displayed a lot of promise as a young heavyweight boxer. He lost a decision to future heavyweight champion Michael Dokes in the Pan-Am semifinals.

Professional career

Berbick left Jamaica after the Olympics. He opted to stay in Canada and fight professionally out of Montreal and 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, he was knocked down twice in the second round by 20-year-old Mike Tyson. Berbick got up from the first knockdown, but after the second he fell to the canvas three times while trying to get up, prompting referee Mills Lane to stop the fight, which gave Berbick a TKO loss. Again, he made boxing history—this time by being the man who Tyson defeated for his first heavyweight title, symbolically bridging the eras of Ali and Tyson, as fight commentator Barry Tompkins said after the knockout: "And we have a new era in boxing!"
In an interview on the YES Network's Center stage in 2010, Mike Tyson told host Michael Kay that he had wanted to exact revenge on champion Trevor Berbick during their 1986 title bout for the beating Berbick gave Muhammad Ali in Ali's last fight in 1981.
"I just thought he unmercifully beat the crap out of Ali," Tyson says. "I just thought that he didn't have to do that. This guy, Ali, was absolutely helpless... Ali couldn't do nothing."
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 went to the UWFI 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.
Afterwards, his career deteriorated further. 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), 12 losses, and 1 draw.

Outside the ring

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

Troubles with the law

Berbick was arrested on a number of occasions throughout his life and was sentenced in Florida to 5 years in prison for sexually assaulting his children's babysitter in 1992. He served 15 months. In 1997, he violated his parole and was deported from the United States.

Feud with Larry Holmes

Berbick had a well-publicized feud with Larry Holmes, whom he fought in 1981. Their feud culminated in a public brawl in 1991 which was caught on tape. Holmes landed a flying drop kick on Berbick off the hood of a car while Berbick was being escorted from the scene by police; Berbick was complaining about being kicked and punched by Larry Holmes moments before a camera caught Holmes fly kicking Berbick.


He 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-thick (51 mm) steel pipe. He suffered multiple blows to the head and died at the scene.
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 as of early in the morning of October 29. Local residents indicated that the suspect was involved in a land dispute with Berbick. 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. On December 20, 2007, Harold Berbick was found guilty of the murder of his uncle. His alleged accomplice, Kenton Gordon, was found guilty of manslaughter. Both were sentenced on January 11, 2008. Harold Berbick was sentenced to life in prison; Kenton Gordon was sentenced to fourteen years in prison.

Berbick is survived by four sons and three daughters Quinn, Jamaal, Shawn, Trevor Jr, Trisha, Nadia, and Anita and they live in Halifax, Nova Scotia and South Florida.