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“Terrible” Tim Witherspoon

“TERRIBLE TIM” ; Why I liked Him…

In my opinion one of the most under rated heavyweights over the last twenty years has been “Terrible” Tim Witherspoon. He was a two time world champion and a solid contender for close to two decades. This man DESERVES some recognition.
Tim, a native of the great fight city of Philadelphia turned pro in 1979. He won his first fifteen fights beating the likes of Marvin Stinson, Alonzo Ratliff and Renaldo Snipes. This led to a 1983 title shot against the respected Larry Holmes. Larry walked away with a highly controversial decision win. Despite the loss the “Terrible” one had arrived.

Tim rebounded outscoring Jumbo Cummings and blasting out James “Quick” Tillis in one for the NABF title. In 1984 Witherspoon was matched with the talented Greg Page for the vacant WBC title. On this night Tim would outscore Page to win his first title. In his first defense Tim was out jabbed and out boxed by the speedy Pinklon Thomas. “Pinky” put on a class performance that night.

Witherspoon came back in 1985 to halt tough Mark Wills and score a highlight reel KO over James Broad. Tim then outpointed James “Bonecrusher” Smith. This led to a shot at the WBA title against fast handed Tony Tubbs. In 1986 Tim won the heavyweight title for a second time with a decision over Tubbs. He then defended it with a sensational come from behind KO of England’s heralded Frank Bruno. In Tim’s next defense, the walls came tumblin’ down. He met “Bonecrusher” again. This was a man he had defeated handily the first time around. This time Tim was caught cold and dropped three times in the first round. His title was gone. He would never again get a well deserved chance to reclaim it.

In 1987 he halted Mark Wills again. This time in the 1st. He then outscored prospect Mike Williams. In 1989 Tim scored a stunning one round KO over Anders Eklund who resembled a blond tree being felled. Witherspoon was back in business. In 1990 he halted dangerous Jeff Sims. Then he outclassed Jose Ribalta and then defeated the flashy Carl “The Truth” Williams for the USBA title. In 1991 he took out Art Tucker in three. To his credit, Tim ducked no one…

In 1992 Witherspoon beat rugged James Pritchard. Tim was then upset by the spoiler Everett “Big Foot” Martin. In 1996 he outscored Alfred Cole and bombed out Jorge Luis Gonzalez. Next Tim would lose a war to tough as nails Ray Mercer. From this point Tim’s career was up and down. He took out Levi Billips in one. He dropped verdicts to Larry Donald, Jimmy Thunder and Andrew Golota. In 1999 he was halted by Brian Nielsen and Greg Page. His career appeared to be over.

Tim made one last charge in 2000. He drew with Mike Sedillo.He then halted David Bostice in one. He upset Elieser Castillo but dropped a points call to Monte Barrettt. Tim then gave us one last highlight clip KO dropping Darroll Wilson. In 2002 the aging Witherspoon was savaged in five rounds by Lou Savarese. In 2003 Tim dropped a decision to Brian Nix and called it quits.

Witherspoon ended his career with a 55-13-1 ledger against the best heavyweights of his era. He knocked out 38 foes, several in spectacular fashion. He was only halted four times. He was tough, strong, powerful and durable. Sometimes his lack of training and dedication may have held him back. Nevertheless in my humble opinion, a well conditioned and prime Witherspoon would have been a handful for a peak “Iron” Mike Tyson. Too bad that fight never happened.

Jim Amato

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