Michael Bentt former WBO heavyweight World champion SIGNED after fight 6" x 4" photo.
Michael Bentt vs Tommy Morrison
Michael A. Bentt (born September 4, 1965 in London, United Kingdom) is a film and television actor and retired heavyweight boxer of Jamaican lineage.
He was born in East Dulwich, London, but raised in the Cambria Heights section of Queens in New York City. Bentt is a one-time heavyweight champion, having held the World Boxing Organization championship from October 1993 until March 1994. As an actor he's best known for co-starring as Sonny Liston in Michael Mann's ALI and as Biggis/El Plaga in Damon Dash's indie urban hip hop classic 'State Property 2'.
Bentt won four New York Golden Gloves titles and five United States Amateur Boxing Championships. After having won the bronze medal at the 1986 World Amateur Boxing Championshipsand the 1987 PanAmerican Games he placed a controversial second in the 1988 United States Olympic Trials to the eventual 1988 Olympic Gold Medalist, Ray Mercer.
As both his mother and father are Jamaican citizens, he won the right to fight on the Jamaican Olympic Boxing Team after stopping the island nation's top amateur heavyweights in the 1988 Jamaican Olympic Trials. However, when confronted with the provision that he would have to relinquish his United States citizenship in order to accompany the Jamaican team to Seoul,he refused. Bentt is regarded as the most decorated boxer in the history of American amateur boxing never to have competed on a United States Olympic boxing team.
His other amateur titles included the 1981 New York City Police Athletic League Champion, 1980 NYC Kids Gloves Champion, Empire State Games Heavyweight Champion (1982, 1983, 1984). He was a three-time selected member of the United States All-American National Boxing Team (1985, 1986, 1987), captain of the 1986 United States Goodwill Games Boxing Team and the 1987 United States Pan American Games Boxing Team. He was a bronze medalist in each of those competitions. He also received the bronze medal at the 1985 World Amateur Championships in Seoul, South Korea and the gold medal at the 1985 North American Championship in Beaumont, Texas.
In 1985, he was the recipient of the Sugar Ray Robinson Award as the most outstanding boxer in the New York Golden Gloves tournament that year(among the 85' class of Golden Gloves champions were future professional champions Riddick Bowe, Kevin Kelly and Junior Jones). Bentt was also a three time member of the United States All-American Amateur Boxing Team.
Bentt counts as one of the greatest moments of his amateur boxing career as avenging an earlier defeat suffered at the hands of then three-time World Amateur Heavyweight Champion, Alexander Yagubkin, at the 1986 World Championships in Reno, Nevada.
Before the loss to Bentt, Yagubkin had been victorious over every American heavyweight he encountered during a three-year period. This included a Moscow decision-win over Bentt's older brother Winston, himself a member of the United States National Team. Bentt remained undefeated domestically for a four-year period before being denied an Olympic team berth at the 1988 United States Olympic Trials.
In homage to Stephan Johnson, a former amateur team-mate at the Bed-Stuy famed (Bedford-Stuyvesant) Boxing Association and fellow Golden Glover who succumbed to injuries suffered in a professional boxing match in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Michael privately presented Stephan's mother with a pair of his own New York Golden Gloves champion medallions.
Although he was the officially selected team alternate at 201 lbs Bentt declined to serve as an alternate on the 1988 Olympic Boxing Team.
Bentt turned professional under Emanuel Steward; and was knocked-out in the first round by Jerry Jones in his pro debut.
Bentt maintained that neither he nor Steward knew Jones was a southpaw but counts both the devastation and humiliation suffered that night as "hugely valuable and key" to his massive upset of Tommy Morrison some four years later.
After a 20-month hiatus following the loss to Jones, Bentt returned to boxing. After a few wins he signed with manager Stan Hoffman, and was trained by former Light Heavyweight Champion Eddie Mustafa Muhammad. Bentt then put together a modest winning streak, had a couple of losses, and retired with an 11-2 record.
For a two-year period in the early 1990s served as chief sparring partner for then World Heavyweight Champion Evander Holyfield.
In October 1993, Bentt sent tremors throughout the sports World with a shocking and decisive ninety-seven second first round knockout of Tommy Morrison to capture the WBO World Heavyweight Championship. The American-based boxer lost his WBO belt to Herbie Hide at The New Den, Bermondsey, United Kingdom, in 1994. The fight would be his last after being rushed to the hospital and told he could never fight again. Bentt had suffered brain injuries in the loss, and although the injuries did not negatively affect the quality of his thoughts or mental sharpness, it was feared that future impacts to the head could result in permanent long-term injury or even death.
At various times after relocating to numerous U.S. states, Bentt passed written exams and awaited entrance into police academies in New York City, Miami, Florida, and Las Vegas, Nevada.
Acting Career And Life After Boxing
Turning to acting, he was the second actor cast after Will Smith in Michael Mann's Ali. Michael landed the coveted role of Sonny Liston, while also serving as both Smith's chief sparring partner and assistant trainer during the six months of boxing training before principal photography began on the film.
Bentt has contributed essays as a writer for Bert Sugar's Fight Game and the HBO boxing website. He has commentated on boxing matches for Bob Arum's Top Rank Boxing on ESPN in the United States, Filmnet in The Netherlands, and BBC Radio in the United Kingdom.
In 2006, he had an on camera audition in Puerto Rico as part of HBO World Championship Boxing's search for an expert boxing commentator for the networks newest boxing segment. Eventually the candidates were narrowed down to Bentt and the then recently retired former Heavyweight Champion, Lennox Lewis.
In 2003, he was the first actor-in-residence at Northampton Community College in Pennsylvania, where he played the title role in Othello, The Moor of Venice.
He has worked with directors Michael Mann (four times), Ron Shelton (twice), Clint Eastwood, Sylvester Stallone, and Bill L. Norton (five times). He also starred as Biggis (El Plaga) opposite Beanie Sigel, Noriega, and Damon Dash in the Dash-directed hip hop cult classic State Property 2.
Appeared in Public Enemies starring Johnny Depp as John Dillinger. Director Michael Mann handpicked Bentt to play Herbert Youngblood, who along with Dillinger staged the imfamous Crown Point Jail break. This marked the fourth such time that Mann had directed Bentt.
Among his guest starring roles in television dramas are 'Calvin Trainier', a Suge Knight-esque record label honcho in Michael Mann's ROBBERY-HOMICIDE DIVISION(CBS-TV),as 'Charles Lambert', an NFL linebacker who years earlier suffered sexual abuse at the hands of his adoptive father, and as 'Dion'- an imprisoned homosexual snitch in SONS OF ANARCHY(FOX-TV).