Throwback Series: “Terrible” Tim Witherspoon

By Reg Jones


Throwback Series: “Terrible” Tim Witherspoon

BT: Tim, thanks for joining today. What have you been up to in the boxing world?

TW: No problem, I’m still training and looking for new guys to train.

BT: Tim, growing up in South Philadelphia were there any fighters who were influential in you being interested in fighting?

TW: Muhammad Ali was my biggest influence. Matthew Saad Muhammad was a big influence as well. I began my career sparring with Matt.

BT: Tim, let’s get right into your career. You started your career off by winning your first 15 professional fights. You beat Renaldo Snipes in a 10 round decision to get an opportunity to meet Larry Holmes for the WBC belt in 1983, going into that fight what was your game plan in trying to beat Holmes, knowing his jab was his money punch?

TW: Well my trainer Slim Jim Robinsin and I both knew that we were up against the best jab in the business so we prepared to shut Larry’s jab done. We lost the fight to Holmes but in the minds of many we won that decision.

BT: Two months later you picked yourself back up after losing to Holmes in a decision that many thought you deserved and fought Floyd Cummings to a unanimous 10 round decision. The win over Cummings put you in position to challenge James “Quick”Tillis for the NABF heavyweight Title which was only 4 months after your loss to Holmes…looking back who was the tougher challenge between Holmes and Tillis?

TW: Larry Holmes is a good friend...I believe he was the tougher challenge.

BT: Tim, you held the WBA strap for almost a year after beating Tony Tubbs  in 1986…you went on to meet James “Bonecrusher” Smith later that year to suffer the worst defeat in your career  a first round TKO by the hands of Smith a man you easily beat a year earlier by a decisive decision. Can you explain what went wrong in your second meeting with Smith?

TW: I was originally supposed to rematch Tony Tubbs but he had a shoulder injury and the powers that be made James "Bonecrusher" Smith the fill –in. I had already beaten him easily about a year before. Due to issues with my promoter at the time, Don King, me not being in my best shape, I lost…He knocked me down three times but never hurt me, at the time the three knock-down rule was in effect.

BT: Tim, I know you were training Kassim Ouma what happened with that?

TW: I introduced Kassim to the people who handle his career right now and if you remember I was in his corner his three fights prior to fighting Roman Karmazin. I was in the audience for the Karmazin fight...things didn’t work out. I had differences mainly with Tom Moran and they fired me.

BT: Do you think if given the chance Kassim will have the chance to avenge is loss to Karmazin?

TW: Definitely!

BT: Tim, 2005 gave us Corrales vs Castillo which many believe was one of the greatest fights you think this fight is worthy of being mentioned amongst the greats of all time?

TW: Absolutely, it was an incredible fight and Corrales showed the talent that he has in that fight. That fight no doubt deserves to be mentioned with the greats
BT: Jermain Taylor just won his second fight over Bernard Hopkins what are your thoughts on both fights they had?

TW: Jermain Taylor’s defense is weak, had Bernard gotten inside on Taylor early in both of those fights Bernard would have won both of those fights easily.

BT: Would a Tim Witherspoon in his prime be the undisputed champion if he were still boxing today?

TW: Yes!!!

BT: Roy Jones and Bernard Hopkins have agreed to meet in a rematch in March. Boxing has waited for this rematch some 12 years, who do you believe will be victorious?

TW: Both fighters are past their primes and Roy is scared to get hit and Bernard is coming off two losses. Had this fight taken place some years back it would’ve been a bigger fight. This could potentially be a boring fight.

BT: Tim, have you heard the rumors that Tyson and Tarver may fight?

TW: What!

BT: Yup, they’ve been on for the past couple of weeks pressing the issue for the fight to be made.

TW: Tyson will knock Tarver out even at this stage in his career...

BT : Tim, on behalf of I’d like to thank you for taking us back to you era in the fight game and your thoughts on today’s game. We wish you the best in you future endeavors in and outside the ring.


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