World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Ernie Terrell

Ernie Terrell
Real name Ernest Terrell
Rated at Heavyweight
Height 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
Reach 82 in (208 cm)
Nationality American
Born (1939-04-04)April 4, 1939
Belzoni, Mississippi
Died December 16, 2014(2014-12-16) (aged 75)
Evergreen Park, Illinois
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights 55
Wins 46
Wins by KO 21
Losses 9
Draws 0
No contests 0

Ernie Terrell (April 4, 1939 – December 16, 2014) was an American singer, record producer, and World Boxing Association (WBA) heavyweight boxing champion. At 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m), he was very tall, by the standards of the day. By comparison, Muhammad Ali was 6 ft 3 in, and Joe Frazier was 5 ft 11 in. Terrell was the older brother of The Supremes' early 1970s lead singer Jean Terrell. In the 1960s, she sang with his group, "Ernie Terrell & the Heavyweights".[1]

In his early boxing career, Terrell defeated some good contenders, including Cleveland Williams (Terrell won the rematch by decision after losing to Williams in their first fight by knockout), Zora Folley, and future Light Heavyweight champion Bob Foster. But he's best remembered for his challenge to World Heavyweight Champion Muhammad Ali, on February 6, 1967—a bout in which he was badly beaten.

Ali was scheduled to fight WBA champion Ernie Terrell (the WBA stripped Ali of his title after his agreement to fight a rematch with Liston) on March 29, but Terrell backed out and Ali won a 15-round decision against substitute opponent George Chuvalo. World Boxing Association matched Terrell and Eddie Machen for the vacant crown. Terrell defeated Machen to win the belt on March 5, 1965. He held it until February 6, 1967 when he lost to Muhammad Ali. During this time, most in the boxing world continued to recognize Ali as the legitimate champion, since he had not lost his championship in a boxing match. The WBA's rival, the World Boxing Council, had also continued to recognize Ali as champion.

During his reign as WBA Champion, Terrell defended the title twice, beating George Chuvalo.

In February 1967, Ali and Terrell met to end the debate about who was the legitimate heavyweight champion. Before the bout, Terrell repeatedly called Ali by his birth name. He explained later that he had known Clay for years in the amateurs and hadn't gotten used to calling him another name. Ali took offense to this, and vowed he would punish Terrell. For his part, Ali further stoked the prefight ill will by labeling Terrell "an Uncle Tom nigger who is going to get his ass whupped."[2]

Ali won a lopsided 15 round decision, reclaiming the undisputed championship. The Daily Telegraph wrote that the resulting fight was "the nastiest display of Ali's celebrated ring career," recounting how he seized Terrell in a headlock and dragged Terrell's eye along the top rope, and declared, "The fight will be remembered for Ali's constant taunts of 'what's my name?' to an opponent he was apparently content not merely to defeat, but also to belittle and humiliate."[3] The fight is recounted by the film Ali starring Will Smith.

Terrell lost an upset 12 round decision later in 1967 in the WBA Heavyweight Tournament which was organized after Ali was stripped of his title in April 1967. He left the sport for three years following the loss, but returned in 1970, winning seven consecutive fights before losing to Chuck Wepner by decision.

In 55 professional fights, Terrell earned a record of 46 wins (21 by knockout), nine losses and no draws. After retiring from boxing in 1973 following a knockout loss to Jeff Merritt, he began a career as a music producer in Chicago, Illinois, the city where he'd attended Farragut Career Academy.

Ernie Terrell ran unsuccessfully for alderman of Chicago's 34th ward in 1987. He finished second in the primary but lost to Lemuel Austin in a runoff. Terrell died on December 16, 2014 in a hospital at Evergreen Park, Illinois. He had been suffering from dementia.[4]

Professional boxing record

46 Wins (21 knockouts), 9 Losses (2 knockouts)[5]
Res. Record Opponent Type Round
Date Location Notes
Loss 46–9 Jeff Merritt TKO 1 (10)
1973–09–10 Madison Square Garden,
New York City, New York
Loss 46–8 Chuck Wepner PTS 12 1973–06–23 Atlantic City Convention Hall,
Atlantic City, New Jersey
For vacant National Americas Heavyweight title.
Win 46–7 Bill Drover TKO 1 (10)
1973–02–19 The Spectrum,
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Win 45–7 José Luis García KO 6 (10) 1972–10–23 Caracas, Miranda
Win 44–7 Roberto Davila UD 10 1971–07–24 Playboy Club Hotel,
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Win 43–7 Luis Faustino Pires UD 10 1971–05–10 International Amphitheatre,
Chicago, Illinois
Win 42–7 Vic Brown UD 10 1971–04–28 Cleveland Arena,
Cleveland, Ohio
Win 41–7 John Hudgins TKO 1 (10)
1971–04–03 Playboy Club Hotel,
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Win 40–7 Sonny Moore UD 10 1970–12–15 Eagles Auditorium,
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Loss 39–7 Manuel Ramos UD 10 1967–10–14 Estadio Azteca, Mexico City
Loss 39–6 Thad Spencer UD 12 1967–08–05 Houston Astrodome,
Houston, Texas
WBA Heavyweight title eliminator.
Loss 39–5 Muhammad Ali UD 15 1967–02–06 Houston Astrodome,
Houston, Texas
Lost WBA Heavyweight title.
Win 39–4 Doug Jones UD 15 1966–06–28 Sam Houston Coliseum,
Houston, Texas
Retained WBA Heavyweight title.
Win 38–4 George Chuvalo UD 15 1965–11–01 Maple Leaf Gardens,
Toronto, Ontario
Retained WBA Heavyweight title.
Win 37–4 Eddie Machen UD 15 1965–03–05 International Amphitheatre,
Chicago, Illinois
Won vacant WBA Heavyweight title.
Win 36–4 Henry Wallitsch RTD 5 (10) 1964–10–23 St. Louis, Missouri
Win 35–4 Bob Foster TKO 7 (10)
1964–07–10 Madison Square Garden,
New York City, New York
Win 34–4 Jefferson Davis UD 10 1964–06–17 Miami Beach Auditorium,
Miami Beach, Florida
Win 33–4 Gerhard Zech UD 10 1963–03–06 Madison Square Garden,
New York City, New York
Win 32–4 Zora Folley UD 10 1963–07–27 Madison Square Garden,
New York City, New York
Win 31–4 Cleveland Williams SD 10 1963–04–13 Philadelphia Arena,
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Win 30–4 Herb Siler TKO 3 (10) 1963–03–07 Little River Auditorium,
Miami, Florida
Win 29–4 Young Jack Johnson UD 10 1963–01–05 Madison Square Garden,
New York City, New York
Win 28–4 Young Jack Johnson UD 10 1962–12–14 Chicago Coliseum,
Chicago, Illinois
Win 27–4 Reiniero Rey Lopez KO 3 (?)
1962–09–25 Comiskey Park,
Chicago, Illinois
Win 26–4 Eddie Jackson TKO 2 (10)
1962–08–24 Grand Olympic Auditorium,
Los Angeles, California
Win 25–4 Amos Lincoln UD 6 1962–06–09 Madison Square Garden,
New York City, New York
Loss 24–4 Cleveland Williams TKO 7 (10)
1962–04–03 Houston, Texas
Win 24–3 Herb Siler PTS 10 1962–02–28 Miami Beach Convention Hall,
Miami Beach, Florida
Win 23–3 Ernie Cab TKO 3 (6) 1961–12–04 Philadelphia Convention Hall,
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Win 22–3 Chuck Garrett UD 10 1961–05–15 Marigold Gardens,
Chicago, Illinois
Win 21–3 Willie Coleman KO 1 (?) 1961–04–17 Marigold Gardens,
Chicago, Illinois
Win 20–3 Ernie Cab TKO 8 (10) 1961–02–06 Marigold Gardens,
Chicago, Illinois
Loss 19–3 Wayne Bethea SD 10 1960–12–05 Marigold Gardens,
Chicago, Illinois
Win 19–2 Joe Hemphill UD 8 1960–07–20 Chicago Stadium,
Chicago, Illinois
Won Illinois State Heavyweight title.
Win 18–2 Frankie Daniels KO 7 (10) 1960–05–18 Chicago Stadium,
Chicago, Illinois
Win 17–2 Lee Williams UD 10 1960–03–30 Chicago Stadium,
Chicago, Illinois
Win 16–2 Clay Thomas KO 1 (?) 1960–01–06 Chicago Stadium,
Chicago, Illinois
Win 15–2 Chuck Garrett PTS 6 1959–11–11 Chicago Stadium,
Chicago, Illinois
Win 14–2 Tunney Hunsaker PTS 8 1959–07–24 Freedom Hall State Fairground,
Louisville, Kentucky
Loss 13–2 Johnny Gray SD 8 1959–02–25 Chicago Stadium,
Chicago, Illinois
Win 13–1 Willie Coleman PTS 8 1959–01–14 Chicago Stadium,
Chicago, Illinois
Win 12–1 Sid Peaks UD 8 1958–11–03 Joe Louis Gymnasium,
Chicago, Illinois
Win 11–1 John Hobart KO 1 (?) 1958–10–07 East Chicago, Indiana
Win 10–1 Joe Hemphill TKO 1 (6) 1958–09–24 Chicago Stadium,
Chicago, Illinois
Win 9–1 Billy Pickett KO 2 (8) 1958–07–01 Midwest Gymnasium,
Chicago, Illinois
Loss 8–1 Johnny Gray SD 8 1958–04–30 Chicago Stadium,
Chicago, Illinois
Win 8–0 Johnny Harper TKO 1 (8) 1958–03–11 Midwest Gymnasium,
Chicago, Illinois
Win 7–0 Emil Brtko TKO 2 (8) 1958–02–04 Joe Louis Gymnasium,
Chicago, Illinois
Win 6–0 Calvin Butler SD 6 1958–01–08 Chicago Stadium,
Chicago, Illinois
Win 5–0 Ted Poole TKO 1 (6) 1957–10–30 Chicago Stadium,
Chicago, Illinois
Win 4–0 Neal Welch UD 6 1957–08–21 Chicago Stadium,
Chicago, Illinois
Win 3–0 Ray Griggs KO 1 (4) 1957–07–24 Chicago Stadium,
Chicago, Illinois
Win 2–0 Andy Bond TKO 1 (4) 1957–06–26 Chicago Stadium,
Chicago, Illinois
Win 1–0 Norman Bolden UD 4 1957–05–15 Chicago Stadium,
Chicago, Illinois


  1. ^ Wynn, Ron. "Biography: Jean Terrell".  
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Ernie Terrell Professional boxing record". 
  • Konkol, Mark. "Even the champ doesn't feel safe", Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago, October 25, 2009, page 14A.

External links

  • Professional boxing record for Ernie Terrell from BoxRec
Preceded by
Muhammad Ali
Heavyweight boxing champion (WBA)
March 5, 1965 – February 6, 1967
Succeeded by
Muhammad Ali
Preceded by
Ingemar Johansson
Oldest Living Heavyweight Champion
January 30, 2009 – December 16, 2014
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Fair are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.