Tony Tubbs


Tony Tubbs

Tony Tubbs (born February 15, 1958) was the WBA World Heavyweight champion from 1985 to 1986.

In the late 1970s he was an outstanding amateur, who compiled a record of around 240-13. However, due to the presence of Greg Page, Tubbs did not immediately win any national titles. In 1978 he lost in the quarter finals of the World Championships to the great Cuban Teofilo Stevenson, and in 1979 he won the National AAU title and the Heavyweight World Cup. Favoured to represent the USA at Heavyweight in the Olympics, in January 1980 he confirmed he would not compete as he (correctly) suspected a US boycott. A month later he defeated Marvis Frazier (son of Smokin' Joe) and prepared to turn professional.

Early career

Tubbs, nicknamed TNT, came from Cincinnati, Ohio and was known for his above average technical skills and fast hands. He made his professional debut in June 1980 with a first-round knockout of Bruce Scott.

After 11 fights he took his first step up when fighting and outpointing fellow prospect Clarence Hill (boxer) in August 1982. After outpointing slick stylist Jimmy Young (boxer) (who had defeated George Foreman) in April 1983 he was signed by Don King and began rising quickly up the rankings whilst appearing on several King undercards.

In March 1985 he faced future WBA World champ James "Bonecrusher" Smith in a WBA Eliminator on a Larry Holmes undercard. Tubbs won a unanimous decision taking his record to 20-0 (15 knockouts).

World Championship fights

On April 29 1985 Tubbs challenged Greg Page for the WBA World Heavyweight title. In the build up, Page claimed as an amateur to have fought Tubbs "seven times and won six of them." However, Tubbs weighed in at a trim 228 pounds and boxed excellently, winning a unanimous decision.

Attempts to unify the title with long-reigning IBF champ Larry Holmes proved fruitless as shortly thereafter Holmes lost his undefeated record and title to Light-Heavyweight Michael Spinks.

In January 1986 Tubbs came in overweight (244 pounds) for his first defence against ex-champ Tim Witherspoon, in Atlanta, Georgia. Tubbs lost a close majority decision, and after nine months his reign was over.

Weight problems, a lack of interest in training, and bad living outside of the ring would hold back Tubbs for the remainder of his prime years and stifle his attempts to return to the top.

In 1987 he put together three wins to obtain a March 1988 title challenge to now undisputed heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, a promotion Don King staged in Tokyo. Tubbs was reportedly offered $50,000 to come in under 235 ibs, however his trainer hid this information from him. Realising his trainer was trying to steal the money from under his nose, Tubbs claimed he came in overweight on purpose. After winning the first round, Tubbs walked into a Tyson left hook towards the end of the second, ending the fight and leaving Tubbs on the canvas for several minutes.

Ex-Champ

Tubbs continued to fight after the Tyson loss, reeling off three more wins before outpointing top contender Orlin Norris in November 1989 and claiming his North American Boxing Federation title. However Tubbs tested positive for cocaine and was stripped of the title, the fight being declared a 'no contest'.

In April 1991 Tubbs resurfaced for a high profile fight with future undisputed champion Riddick Bowe. According to press reports, Tubbs outboxed Bowe relatively easily, however the judges scored in favor of the up and coming Bowe, and Tubbs lost a disputed decision.

In 1992 Tubbs took on dangerous-looking puncher Lionel Butler who was on a winning knockout streak, and tried take the fight to Butler. He walked into a left hook and was out cold, victim of a first-round knockout.

Despite no longer being in shape, Tubbs skills alone allowed him to linger around the Boxing Illustrated independent top 12 ratings for some time. He rebounded the same year with significant wins over future champ Bruce Seldon and the dangerous Jesse Ferguson gaining a top ten ranking in the World Boxing Council (WBC). In 1993 he beat highly rated Alexander Zolkin, and was in the picture for a rematch with reigning Undisputed champ Bowe.

Alleged dive fight

Tubbs lost all momentum and rankings with a strange fight against white clubfighter Jimmy Ellis in August 1993. Video tape shows Tubbs losing unconvincingly by first-round KO, and it has been alleged that Tubbs accepted money to take a dive.Fact|date=February 2007 Tubbs has stated in a 2003 interview with Dominic Calder-Smith that during this period of his life "I was a cocaine addict first, and a boxer second. I did fight several fights while under the influence of coke." Fact|date=February 2007

People's Choice £1000,000 Tournament

Despite his serious personal problems, Tubbs won four fights in one night to win the People's Choice Heavyweight Tournament in December 1993, including victories over Olympic gold medalist Tyrell Biggs and veteran Jose Ribalta. Although the winner was guaranteed a million dollar prize, Tubbs later admitted the purse was nowhere close to that figure, somewhere around $60,000.

Aging contender

In December 1994 Tubbs, now age 36, took on hot contender Jimmy Thunder for a lightly regarded IBO belt. According to the boxing press and television announcers he appeared to "easily outbox the New Zealand muscleman" Fact|date=February 2007 but was again the victim of a highly controversial decision as the judges sided with Thunder.

In 1995 Tubbs challenged for his old NABF belt against ex-victim Alexander Zolkin, but the ageing fighter lost a close majority decision. He travelled to Denmark but lost to local Brian Nielsen under strange circumstances. Having outboxed Nielsen easily for three rounds, Tubbs quit on his stool citing "a rib injury".

Comeback

Tubbs spent the next few years in and out of prison in short stints for child support but now claims to be clean and free of drugs and has been in training camps with such fighters a Vitali Klitschko, Herbie Hide, Brian Nielsen, and Wladimir Klitschko. While many would like Tubbs to use his considerable ring expertise as a trainer, Tubbs has instead launched a comeback in October 2004 in St Joseph, Missouri, compiling a 5-0 (2 knockouts) record since this latest comeback. His best win was a December 2004 points victory over popular Brian Minto.

Tubbs is now age 50 and his overall record is 47-10 (25 knockouts)

External links

* [http://boxrec.com/boxer_display.php?boxer_id=834 Boxing Record] at BoxRec.com
* [http://images.google.com/images?q=tony+tubbs&hl=en&btnG=Search+Images Google Image Search: Tony Tubbs]


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