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Boxing – 1986 – HBO Sports Special Feature – Career Highlights Of Terrible Tim Witherspoon

Tim Witherspoon (born December 27, 1957) is an American former professional boxer that competed from 1979 to 2003….who was a two-time world heavyweight champion….after having held the WBC title in 1984….and the WBA title in 1986….plus Witherspoon also worked as a regular sparring partner for Muhammad Ali.

Making his professional debut with a first-round TKO over Joe Adams on October 30, 1979….Terrible Tim quickly rose through the ranks….when in 1981, he participated in his first high-profile fight….while knocking out future world cruiserweight champion Alfonzo Ratliff….after which he was signed by promoter Don King….as Witherspoon was a sparring partner of Ali when he was training to fight Larry Holmes and Trevor Berbick….for Ali also gave Witherspoon his complimentary ring alias of “Terrible” Tim Witherspoon.  In 1982, he was matched with Renaldo Snipes….who had just given champion Larry Holmes a fair challenge…and knocked Holmes down….while outpointing him over 10 rounds.  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….when Witherspoon, then a relative unknown, lost by a split decision.  He returned later in the year to outpoint Floyd “Jumbo” Cummings….who had drawn with Joe Frazier in Smokin’ Joe’s last fight….then winning the NABF title with a first-round knockout of James “Quick” Tillis.  In December 1983, Holmes relinquished his WBC title rather than defend against Greg Page….and chose to accept that of the newly formed IBF (International Boxing Federation)….so, Tim  Witherspoon was matched with Page for the vacant title on March 9, 1984….while Page was in constant war with promoter Don King….and turned up overweight….and was outpointed by Terrible Tim 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.  

In 1985 Witherspoon regained his NABF belt by beating James Broad in two rounds….and made a successful twelve round defense against James “Bonecrusher” Smith in his first defense of the belt. This earned him another chance at a heavyweight title and he signed to fight reigning WBA champion Tony Tubbs on January 17, 1986 in Atlanta….which Witherspoon won in a close fight by majority decision….winning by only one point on one of the scorecards and three on another with one even, to become champion for a second time.  In his first defense of his newly won championship, Witherspoon traveled to London and fought a young up-and-coming English heavyweight and future world champion Frank Bruno at Wembley Stadium….as part of the heavyweight unification series…. when in the eleventh round of a scheduled fifteen….Witherspoon recorded a technical knockout and did something he had not done when he was champion the first time….when he made a successful defense of the title after winning it. 

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