Riddick Bowe vs Andrew Golota II Heavyweight Contest Also Featuring Tim Witherspoon vs Ray Mercer Official Onsite Programme

Riddick Bowe vs Andrew Golota II Heavyweight Contest Also Featuring Tim Witherspoon vs Ray Mercer Official Onsite Programme

Riddick Bowe vs Andrew Golota II heavyweight contest also featuring Tim Witherspoon vs Ray Mercer official on-site 30 page programme billed, "Millions Of People Still Have Questions, Only Two Men Have The Answers", 14th December 1996, Convention Center, Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Condition excellent

Bowe W Golota disqualified round 9
*It was a bizarre and brutal fight. And when it ended, Riddick Bowe was writhing in pain on the canvas, the victim of a final, intentional, vicious low blow from Andrew Golota in the ninth round.

Golota did it again just as he did in the first Bowe-Golota fight. Once again, Golota was disqualified for low blows and Bowe was awarded a victory. Once again, Golota was winning the fight on the scorecards of all three judges when the bout was stopped. But once again, Golota resorted to dirty tactics, and the outcome further tarnished Golota's reputation and raised serious questions about his future.

Bowe not so much won the fight as he survived it.

The crowd of 12,013 at the Atlantic City Convention Center saw nine rounds of punishing heavyweight action that tested Bowe's courage and chin. Bowe was floored in the second round and in the fifth, and Golota staggered him on several other occasions. But Bowe, a former heavyweight champion, refused to quit. He knocked Golota down in the fourth round; he survived when lesser fighters would have succumbed, and after the fight, it was Golota who was taken to a local hospital with a possible broken jaw.

Golota's condition kept him from attending the post-fight news conference, so he could not answer for his actions. But there was no logical explanation for his consistently senseless behavior. In the second round, Golota opened a nasty cut over his own left eye when he intentionally head-butted Bowe. At that point, Referee Eddie Cotton took a point away from Golota.

In the fourth round, Cotton took away another point when Golota hit Bowe below the belt, sending Bowe to one knee and forcing him to take a 30-second break. Finally, Golota hit Bowe low again in the ninth round, and Cotton felt he had no choice but to stop the fight.

Nobody from Golota's camp put up an argument.

"I can't defend him," said Lou Duva, Golota's co-trainer. "I wish I could. I can't explain it. I said: 'Andrew, you're winning the fight. Just get out there and box.' What made him do what he did, I don't know.' "

What will it all mean? For Bowe (40-1) it meant victory, but his heart was more impressive than his boxing skills. Bowe was hit easily by Golota, and if the fight had gone the 10-round distance, Bowe most likely would have lost. It was far from the overwhelming victory that Bowe wanted, and at age 29, major questions remain about his ability to become a champion again.

Bowe did not sound like he would retire, but he admitted he would do some soul-searching. He mentioned hope for possible future fights against Evander Holyfield (whom he has beaten twice in three previous bouts), Lennox Lewis or Mike Tyson.

"I want to fight, but I don't want to fight as hard," Bowe said. "I think I will continue to fight. Being a fighter, you're in the hurt business. Everybody gets a turn. A guy is going to get in there and hurt you one day. But he who rises shows determination and heart. Tonight, I showed I'm championship material. I believe if I wasn't in shape, Golota would have been able to get me out of there. Hopefully, some day, Mr. Holyfield gives me another opportunity."

But a few minutes later, when Bowe was asked what his mother, Dorothy, thought of the fight, he sounded more reflective.

"My mother never liked boxing, so the first thing that came out of her face was that she still wants me to retire," Bowe said. "I'm going to go home and enjoy the holidays, and the first of the year, I'm going to see what happens, weigh my options."

As for Golota (28-2), will anyone want to fight someone who violates rules so blatantly and intentionally? Golota, a 28-year-old Polish-born fighter, has skill and power. But he has a sordid reputation to go with it.

"I don't know what Golota's going to do, but before we do anything I'm going to sit down and ask Andrew in no uncertain terms if he wants to continue fighting," Duva said. "Does he want to fight like a fighter, or like a brawler in a bar or an alley?"

Bowe said he would never fight Golota again. After their first bout in July at Madison Square Garden, there was a long brawl involving both fighters' camps and angry fans. There was no trouble outside the ring Saturday night, but everyone involved with these two fights has grown tired of Golota's tactics.

"In the first fight, I thought there were some theatrics on Bowe's part," said Dino Duva, one of the fight's promoters. "But in this fight, no way. If Bowe was looking for an out, he would've gone down four rounds earlier."

So while Golota's career is in question, Bowe was relieved to close this chapter of his career, regardless of what he decides to do next.

"Riddick is one of the toughest guys in the world, but I want him doing the kind of things we worked on," said Thell Torrence, Bowe's trainer. "He got a little lazy. That's one reason why he got hurt early. He went away from the game plan.

"But Golota continued to hit him low, and low blows take so much out of you. They get you out of your game plan. That's what bothered me about this fight. I'm not surprised at all. I said it last time, and I say it this time. When Golota gets in the pit, and things start going rough for him, he looks for some way to gain advantage, and he hits low. He did it over and over again."

And in the process of hurting Bowe, Golota hurt himself much more.

Mercer W unanimous decision

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Riddick Bowe vs Andrew Golota II

Riddick Lamont Bowe (born August 10, 1967) an American former two-time World heavyweight champion, having first won the WBA, WBC and IBF titles in 1992, thus becoming undisputed heavyweight champion.

Bowe's second reign as heavyweight champion was in 1995, when he won the WBO title. He retired in 1996, but made a return to the ring in 2004. He has been inactive since 2008, when he won his last pro bout in Germany.

Bowe became the first fighter to knock down and defeat Evander Holyfield when he defeated Holyfield for the World heavyweight title in 1992 by unanimous decision for the undisputed World heavyweight title. Holyfield won the rematch by decision when he regained the title from Bowe in 1993. Bowe later became the first fighter to stop Holyfield by TKO, when he won their third match in 1995. Bowe's professional boxing record stands at 43–1 with one no-contest, and 33 stoppages. Bowe ranked as the 21st greatest heavyweight of all time in a 2010 article by BoxingScene, was inducted into the 2015 class for the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

Early Years
Bowe was born on August 10, 1967, the twelfth of his mother Dorothy Bowe's thirteen children. Bowe was born and raised in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn. His brother Henry died of AIDS, and his sister Brenda was stabbed to death by a drug addict during an attempted robbery.

Amateur Boxing Career
As an amateur, Bowe won the prestigious New York Golden Gloves Championship and other tournaments. In 1984, age 17, he knocked out opponent James Smith in just 4 seconds.

In 1985, at the National Golden Gloves championships, he lost to Fort Worth Heavyweight Donald Stephens. Bowe won the silver medal in the 1988 Seoul Olympics, where he was stopped in two rounds by future World heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis.

Amateur Highlights
* Amateur Record: 104-18
* 1983 at United States Junior Championships, as a middleweight, lost to Adolpho Washington by second round TKO
* 1985 Junior World Champion as a light heavyweight, in competition in Bucharest. Defeated Péter Hart of Hungary in final.
* 1987 Heavyweight Bronze Medallist at Pan-American Games in Indianapolis. Lost to Jorge Luis Gonzalez on points
* 1988 Super Heavyweight Silver Medalist, boxing at the 1988 Summer Olympic Games, the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games. Results were:
* Defeated Biko Botowamungu (Zaire, Congo) KO 2
* Defeated Peter Hrivnak (Czechoslovakia) TKO 1
* Defeated Alex Miroshnichenko (Soviet Union) on points
* Lost to Lennox Lewis (Canada) TKO by 2

New York Golden Gloves Championships
Bowe won four New York Golden Gloves Championships. Bowe won the 1985 178 lb Novice Championship, 1986 178 lb Open Championship and the 1987 and 1988 Super Heavyweight Open Championship. Bowe trained at the Bed-Stuy BA.

Professional Career
Bowe turned professional after his Olympic loss. Highly regarded trainer Eddie Futch took on the job of developing Bowe as he saw the talent. Eddie would say that Bowe had more potential than any boxer he had ever trained.

Bowe turned professional in March 1989, and knocked out Lionel Butler. His then manager, Rock Newman kept Bowe active, fighting 13 times in 1989, beating journeymen, the most notable being Garing Lane whom he beat twice.

In September 1990, Bowe made his first step up in class, fighting faded ex-champion Pinklon Thomas, who he dominated until Thomas gave up after eight rounds. The following month, Bowe knocked out Bert Cooper in two rounds, which added to his reputation and high ranking.

In March 1991, Bowed knocked k1984 Olympic Super Heavyweight Gold medalist Tyrell Biggs. In Bowe's next fight, ex-champion Tony Tubbs appeared to outbox and outsmart Bowe in a close bout, only to have the judges award Bowe a unanimous decision. In August 1991, Bowe knocked out future World heavyweight champion Bruce Seldon in one round. In July 1992 knocked out South African Pierre Coetzer in the seventh round of a World title eliminator.

Fights Against Elijah Tillery
Bowe fought two interesting bouts against Elijah Tillery in Atlantic City in 1991. Their first fight at Harrah's Casino was known as the 'crazy fight' for its bizarre conclusion. Bowe dominated the first round and dropped Tillery. After the round ended, Tillery walked toward Bowe and taunted him, and Bowe responded by punching Tillery. Tillery then threw several low kicks at Bowe, who then unleashed a flurry of punches on Tillery as he lay on the ropes. Bowe's trainer Rock Newman grabbed Tillery from behind on the ring apron and pulled him over the ropes as Bowe continued to throw punches. Tillery somersaulted over the ropes, and was quickly detained by security.

After order was restored and the fighters returned to the ring, Tillery and Bowe continued a war of words, and minor incidents continued until the ring was cleared. Tillery was controversially disqualified for kicking Bowe, with Bowe getting the win, much to the surprise of the television announcers. The referee, Karl Milligan, had stepped between the two fighters to separate them and stepped forward as he did so, inadvertently missing the action behind him after the bell between the combatants. The fighters fought a rematch two months later at Convention Hall in Atlantic City, with Bowe dominating and stopping Tillery in four rounds.

World Heavyweight Champion
In November 1992 he fought reigning champ Evander Holyfield for the undisputed heavyweight title. With his heart and dedication still in question, Bowe won a unanimous decision in an entertaining fight, flooring Holyfield in the 11th round. However, it was the tenth round most boxing fans will remember. The epic brutal back and forth exchanges helped make it Ring Magazine's "Round of the Year." Commentator Al Bernstein exclaimed, ""That was one of the greatest rounds in heavyweight history. Period!"
A couple of weeks earlier in London, Bowe's old Olympic rival, Lennox Lewis, knocked out Canadian Donovan "Razor" Ruddock in two rounds, establishing himself as the World Boxing Council's number one contender.

The Bowe-Holyfield and Lewis-Ruddock fights were part of a mini-tournament, whereby all four fighters agreed the two winners would meet each other for the undisputed World heavyweight championship. Bowe's manager Rock Newman made a proposal: the $32 million purse HBO was offering should be split 90-10 in Bowe's favour, an 'absurd' offer which Lennox Lewis rejected. Lewis's manager, Frank Maloney, rejected another offer of two million for Lewis to fight on a Bowe undercard, citing his distrust of the Bowe camp after the aforementioned financial negotiations. Bowe responded by holding a press conference in which he dumped the WBC World heavyweight championship belt into a trash can rather than fighting Lewis.

Bowe's first defence of his remaining titles came on February 6, 1993, when he fought 34-year-old former champion Michael Dokes at Madison Square Garden and knocked him out in the first round. In Bowe's next fight, May 22, 1993 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., Bowe knocked out Jesse Ferguson in the second round to retain the title. This set up a rematch with Evander Holyfield.

In the rematch with Holyfield, Bowe looked overweight. He had entered training camp at a 266 lbs and weighed in at 246 lbs, eleven pounds heavier than in the first fight with Holyfield.

Bowe and Holyfield exchanged hard punches. Bowe ended up losing the belts to Holyfield by a majority decision. This fight was also known for a bizarre stunt in which parachutist James "Fan Man" Miller dropped into the open air arena, landing in the ropes by Bowe's corner. This surreal scene delayed the fight in the seventh round by nearly a half hour.

Bowe stated afterwards he thought the bout should have declared a 'technical draw' or a 'no contest' owing to the unfair delay.

After Title Loss
Riddick Bowe vs Larry Donald
In August 1994, Bowe fought two comeback fights. He faced the much smaller Buster Mathis Jr and, after struggling to connect with his bobbing and weaving target, hit him Mathis while he was down with what ruled an accidental blow, and the bout was ruled a 'No Contest' by referee Arthur Mercante, Sr. In December 1994, Bowe punched Larry Donald at a prefight press conference, later beating him by 12 round unanimous decision for the WBC Continental Americas Heavyweight title, giving the 16-0 heavyweight contender Donald his first loss.

WBO title And Holyfield Rubber Match
In March 1995, Bowe won the WBO version of the World heavyweight championship by knocking down England's Herbie Hide six times en route to scoring a sixth round knockout.

In June 1995, after a heated build up, Bowe defended the WBO heavyweight title against his arch rival in the amateurs, Jorge Luis González, At the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The prefight hype contained bizarre trash talk, which included Gonzalez declaring a desire to eat Bowe's heart and likening himself to a lion which making Bowe out to be a hyena.Bowe won by sixth round knockout over Gonzalez. He vacated the WBO championship soon after.

After the Gonzales fight, Bowe fought a rubbermatch with Evander Holyfield, their third and final meeting. Holyfield knocked Bowe down during the fight, but Bowe maintained his composure, and persevered to score an eighth round stoppage victory.

Bowe vs Golota I And II
After defeating Holyfield in the third bout of their trilogy, Bowe was matched against undefeated heavyweight contender Andrew Golota at the Madison Square Garden in an HBO Boxing event. Bowe's weight problem again resurfaced, as the favourite entered the ring at a career high of 252 lbs. Though ahead on points, Golota was penalized several times for low blows, and was finally disqualified in the seventh round after a volley of punches to Bowe's testicles. Seconds after Golota was disqualified, Bowe's entourage rushed the ring, attacked Golota with a two way radio (Golota traded punches with one of them, requiring 11 stitches to close the wound caused by the radio) and assaulted Golota's 74-year-old trainer Lou Duva, who collapsed in the ring and was taken out of The Garden on a stretcher).

The entourage began rioting, fighting with spectators, staff and policemen alike, resulting in a number of injuries before they were forced out of the arena in what evolved into a lengthy televised ring spectacle.

The fight made many sports shows, including SportsCenter, and there was a good amount of public interest in a rematch.

The rematch was on Pay Per View. Golota, after dropping Bowe in the second round, and being dropped himself later, was leading on the scorecards, only to be disqualified in the ninth round, once again for repeated shots to the testicles.

Despite not having another riot, this fight also proved to be controversial, with an unsuccessful protest filed by Golota's camp to try to overturn the fight's result.

This fight was featured on HBO's documentary Legendary Nights: The Tale of Bowe-Golota.

Joining The Marine Corps
After the Golota fights, Bowe retired from boxing and decided to join the United States Marine Corps Reserve. He said he made the decision both to make his mother proud and to rededicate himself to training, with the intention of returning to boxing shortly after. On his first day of recruit training, however, Bowe discussed leaving the Corps with Marine commanders, and quit after 3 days of training with his platoon at the recruit depot at Parris Island, South Carolina. The Marine Corps has been criticized for compromising their traditional recruiting measures and accommodating Bowe's request.

Legal Troubles
Bowe was convicted of the February 1998 kidnapping of his estranged wife Judy,and their five children. Thinking it would reconcile his marriage, Bowe went to his wife's Cornelius, North Carolina home and threatened her with a knife, handcuffs, duct tape and pepper spray. He forced her and their children into a vehicle and set out for his Fort Washington, Maryland home. During the kidnapping, Bowe stabbed his wife in the chest. Police captured Bowe in South Hill, Virginia, freeing his family. Bowe agreed to a plea bargain of guilty to 'interstate domestic violence', and was sentenced to 18 to 24 months in prison.

Despite the agreed sentence, on February 29, 2000, the judge sentenced Bowe to only 30 days, due to a claim of brain damage by Bowe's defence. This sentence, counter to the plea agreement, was later overturned. Bowe served 17 months in Federal prison. On February 8, 2001, Bowe was arrested in Long Island after a domestic dispute with his new wife. Bowe allegedly dragged his wife and left her with cuts on her knees and elbows.

Return To Boxing
On September 25, 2004, after seven and a half years away from boxing, Bowe returned with a second round knockout over Marcus Rhode. In a second comeback fight, in April 2005, an overweight Bowe narrowly defeated journeyman Billy Zumbrun by ten round split decision.

Bowe declared bankruptcy in 2005. On December 13, 2008, with the help of new manager Bob Bain, Bowe, 41, returned to the ring for the first time in over three and a half years on the undercard of the Wladimir Klitschko versus Hasim Rahman World heavyweight title bout in Mannheim, Germany and won an eight round unanimous decision over Gene Pukall.
His current boxing record stands at 43-1 with 33 knockouts.

In March 2013, Bowe announced his Muay Thai début, having trained under Kru Airr Phanthip and Kru Chan in Las Vegas.

He faced Levgen Golovin for the WPMF Super Heavyweight World Title in Pattaya, Thailand. On June 14, 2013, Bowe was knocked down five times from kicks to his leg. The championship match was called to a stop halfway through the second round.

In Popular Culture
In 1993, a video game entitled Riddick Bowe Boxing was released for various platforms. Also in 1993, Bowe appeared as himself in an episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, entitled "You Bet Your Life".

Andrew Golota (born January 5, 1968 in Warsaw, Poland). Nicknamed "Foul Pole," he won a bronze medal at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul and is a four-time World heavyweight title challenger.

Amateur Career
Golota had 111 wins in an amateur career that culminated in his winning a bronze medal at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Golota won other international amateur tournaments as well.

In 1990, he married a U.S. citizen of Polish descent and moved permanently from Poland to the city of Chicago. His wife had lived in Chicago since the age of eleven.

Gołota's Olympic results were as follows:
* 1st round bye
* Defeated Svilen Rusinov (Bulgaria) 5-0
* Defeated Harold Obunga (Kenya) 5-0
* Lost to Baik Hyun-Man (South Korea) RSC 2

Professional Career
In 1992, he turned professional, knocking out Roosevelt Shuler in three rounds. He had three more knockouts and then went the distance for the first time, defeating Robert Smith in six rounds. He won his next 16 fights by knockout.

His wins included Bobby Crabtree and Jeff Lampkin.

Following his KO of Crabtree he was featured in Ring Magazine's new faces section. Soon after, he faced a respected contender, Maron Wilson. Golota won a ten round decision. Gołota won his next five bouts by knockout. His opponents included Samson Po'hua and Darnell Nicholson, both of whom were considered fringe contenders at the time. The win over Po'hua was memorable for the moment in which Gołota bit Po'hua on the shoulder, two years before the infamous bite-filled rematch between Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson.

Golota vs Bowe
Golota's first high-profile fight came against former heavyweight champion Riddick Bowe. Bowe had not fought in nearly a year since his third and final fight with Evander Holyfield, which he won by technical knockout in the eighth round, and had said regarding his opponent, "how do you train for a bum?", paying no attention to his opponent's won-loss record. The fight was held at Madison Square Garden on July 11, 1996, and was televised by HBO as part of its World Championship Boxing series.

Early in the fight it appeared that Bowe had underestimated his opponent's skills, as Golota knocked him down in the second round. After being knocked down in the fourth round, Golota knocked Bowe down a second time in the fifth round and appeared to be winning the fight on all of the ringside scorecards. However, Golota's penchant for not following the rules was also showcased in this fight as he had trouble keeping his punches above Bowe's belt line. After being repeatedly warned, referee Wayne Kelly began deducting points from Golota and had done so twice prior to the seventh round. Early in that round Kelly took a third point from Golota and warned him that if he did it again, he was going to lose the fight. Golota continued to fight and with less than a minute left in the round landed several hard shots that appeared to have Bowe staggered.

However, with 37 seconds remaining in the round Golota dropped Bowe with another blatant low punch, directly to the genitals, and Kelly disqualified him.

What ensued was a dramatic riot that left a large number of civilians and policemen injured, including Gołota himself, who was hit by a member of Bowe's entourage with a two-way radio and required eleven stitches to close a cut on his head.

The riot, which has been named "Riot at the Garden", was called Event of the Year by the Ring Magazine.

The fight made a number of sports shows, including SportsCenter. The controversy of this fight created interest in a rematch. The rematch was on Pay Per View and Gołota once again led Bowe on the scorecards only to be disqualified in the ninth round, again for multiple low blows. This fight also proved to be controversial, and a protest was filed by Gołota's camp to try to overturn the fight's result. Michael Katz, a sportswriter, coined the term Foul Pole for Gołota.

Both fights are featured on HBO's documentary Legendary Nights The Tale of Bowe Golota.

Despite two losses in a row, Gołota became the WBC number one contender. On October 4, 1997, he received a shot at the World's Heavyweight championship against Lennox Lewis in Atlantic City, NJ. Gołota was knocked out in the first round.

Gołota subsequently claimed that an injection of lidocaine for tendonitis in his right knee given to him by his physician shortly before the fight made him woozy and impaired his vision. The adverse effects of lidocaine include dizziness, blurred vision, seizures. As a result, he filed a medical malpractice suit against his physician, claiming that the injection had cost him the fight and a deal with HBO for $21 million to broadcast his next four to five fights.

Later Career
Gołota's boxing career continued with him beating former 2-time World champion Tim Witherspoon by decision. In his next match, he lost to Michael Grant by a knockout in the tenth round in one of The Ring's 1999 fights of the year.

Gołota scored two knockdowns of Grant in the first round. He was ahead on all three judges' scorecards in the tenth round when he himself was knocked down. When asked by referee Randy Neuman whether he wanted to continue, he shook his head twice and then haltingly answered "No."

In 2000, Gołota fought in China beating Marcus Rhodes with a third round knockout.

Later in 2000, he faced former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson. In the third round, as he had done in the Grant match, Gołota told the referee he did not want to continue. The result of the fight was later changed to no contest when Tyson failed a post fight drug test, testing positive for marijuana.

Following the Tyson fight, Gołota was inactive for nearly three years before returning to the ring on August 14, 2003. He scored a technical knockout of journeyman Brian Nix in the seventh round. On November 15, Golota knocked out Terrence Lewis in the sixth round at Verona, New York.

Gołota then received a second World title shot, fighting IBF heavyweight champion Chris Byrd at New York City's Madison Square Garden on April 17, 2004. The fight resulted in a draw.

On November 13 of that year, he received his second World title shot in a row. Despite knocking down WBA champion John Ruiz twice within the bout, he lost by unanimous decision.

Golota received his third World title try in a row on May 21, 2005 against WBO champion Lamon Brewster. Though heavily favored to win, Gołota lost when Brewster knocked him down three times inside the first round, prompting the referee to stop the bout.

June 9, 2007, he beat Jeremy Bates in the 2nd round by technical knockout.

Gołota fought Kevin McBride on October 6, 2007 in Madison Square Garden and won by TKO in the 6th round, winning the IBF North American Heavyweight championship.

On January 19, 2008, Gołota defeated Mike Mollo by unanimous decision in 12 rounds to win the World Boxing Association Fedelatin heavyweight championship belt.

In January, 2009, Gołota lost by first round TKO to Ray Austin.

On October 24, 2009 in Łódź, Gołota fought Tomasz Adamek and lost by TKO in the 5th round. The event was hosted on Polsat TV, it was also broadcast live online on ipla.tv platform.

It was the largest live internet transmission in Poland.

Golota In Media
Andrew Golota took part in Census 2010 commercials, recorded in Polish and English.

In 2010 Golota appeared in the Polish edition of Dancing with the Stars Taniec z Gwiazdami. His partner was Magdalena Soszyńska-Michno. In his first appearance he danced waltz. He fell out on 7 November 2010, in 1/8 final. He reached 5th place.

Terrible" Tim Witherspoon (born December 27, 1957) former WBC & WBA heavyweight champion.

Early Career
Witherspoon had eight amateur bouts, losing one to Marvis Frazier on decision after getting knocked down. Making his professional debut with a first-round TKO over Joe Adams on October 30, 1979, Witherspoon quickly rose through the ranks. In 1981, he participated in his first high profile fight, knocking out future Cruiserweight World champion Alfonzo Ratliff, after which he was signed by an impressed Don King.

Witherspoon was a sparring partner of Ali as he was training to fight Larry Holmes and Trevor Berbick.

In 1982, he was matched with Renaldo Snipes, who had just given champion Larry Holmes a stiff challenge (and knocked Holmes down), and outpointed him over 10 rounds, setting up his own challenge to Holmes.

On May 20, 1983, Witherspoon would have his first attempt at earning a World title by taking on the recognized top man in the division World Boxing Council champion Larry Holmes at the Dunes Hotel in Las Vegas. Witherspoon, a relative unknown, utilized his awkward style and natural physical strength and fought valiantly. However, he was judged to have been defeateded by a split decision.

Years later Boxing Monthly would cite this decision as one of the 10 most controversial in history. However Witherspoon had caused a stir with his showing and the expectations of a potentially glorious career would color what he eventually did accomplish. He returned later in the year to outpoint Floyd "Jumbo" Cummings, who had drawn with Joe Frazier in Smokin Joe's last fight, and win the NABF title impressively with a first round knockout of James "Quick" Tillis.

First Title Reign
In December, 1983, Holmes relinquished his WBC title rather than defend against Greg Page, and chose to accept that of the newly formed IBF (International Boxing Federation).

Witherspoon was matched with Page for the vacant title on March 9, 1984. Page, in constant war with promoter Don King, turned up overweight and was outpointed in a close, mauling fight.

Witherspoon's reign as champion would not be long however, as soon he himself was in constant war with King, and on August 31 of that year he was outpointed by Pinklon Thomas via majority decision.

Second Title Reign
In 1985 Witherspoon regained his NABF belt by impressively destroying James Broad in two rounds, and retaining it with a twelve round decision over James "Bonecrusher" Smith, earning a match against reigning WBA (World Boxing Association) champion Tony Tubbs on January 17, 1986. In a fairly enjoyable bout, Witherspoon would win a majority decision over 15 rounds (144-143, 143-143, 144-141) over an overweight Tubbs to take the title.

Witherspoon's second reign as a Heavyweight champion saw him travel to London, England and defend his title against hard hitting local Frank Bruno in front of 60,000 fans. After a tough, bruising fight, Witherspoon came from behind to stop Bruno in the 11th, retaining his title. After the fight, Bruno would receive a million sterling from his promoters. Witherspoon, due the same amount, devastatingly received less than $100,000 after Don King's creative accounting and deductions.

Witherspoon Was Matched With Ex-victim James 'Bonecrusher' Smith in December 1986, after Tony Tubbs opted out of a rematch at the last minute. Knowing of Witherspoon's turmoil, Smith wisely came out fast and crushed Witherspoon in the opening round, knocking him down three times.

Post Championship Career
Following the end his second title reign, Witherspoon would lose years warring with Don King in court. Avoided by numerous big name fighters, Witherspoon would fight scarcely, in varying shape and form. In 1991 won the USBA Heavyweight title by defeating fellow contender Carl "The Truth" Williams but lost a dubious points decision to journeyman Everett Martin.

In 1993 Don King settled out of court and paid Witherspoon a million dollars. By 1994 a new and in shape Witherspoon was back, winning five fights in a row by knockout. Aged 38 he was inked by HBO and matched in high profile fights with Cruiserweight champion Al Cole and the Cuban amateur legend Jorge Luis Gonzales, both of whom he defeated comprehensively. Later in the year he was matched with Ray Mercer but lost a highly controversial decision.

After that loss Witherspoon laid off a year, and when he came back he had lost his edge. The ageing, out-of-shape fighter was outpointed convincingly by the slick Larry Donald on HBO, and, in 1998, lost a close decision when outworked by New Zealand muscleman Jimmy Thunder before travelling to Poland to be outpointed by Andrew Golota.

Surprisingly, a 43 year old Witherspoon resurfaced in 2001, knocking out the usually durable prospect David Bostice in one round, outpointing Cuban southpaw contender Eliecer Castillo and huge Syrian Ahmed Abdin, before his revival was ended by hard hitting white heavyweight Lou Savarese who stopped him in five rounds.

Witherspoon also competed in Cedric Kushner's 2003 Thunderbox Heavyweight Tournament, "Fistful of Dollars," but at 45 looked his age and lost in the opening stages.

Tim now resides in an area around Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he trains boxers, including his son, lightweight Tim Witherspoon Jr.; a heavyweight prospect named Robert Atkins; and many others. He has also trained Light Heavyweight champion Clinton Woods in the U.K.

Tim returns to the ring on 15th october in Gateshead fighting Paul Fiske in an unlicenced EBF fight.

Lawsuit Against Don King
Besides being known for his exploits inside the ring, Witherspoon also achieved notoriety by suing his long-time promoter Don King. In 1987, Witherspoon filed a $25 million suit against King and his son Carl King for fraud and conflict of interest. Carl King was Witherspoon's manager and represented Witherspoon in negotiation's with Carl's father, Don King. According to documents produced during discovery, Carl King improperly took half of Witherspoon's earnings as his manager's fee. Most managers receive, at most, a third.

However, instead of going to trial King agreed to settle the case for $1 million.

"Merciless" Ray Mercer (born April 4, 1961 in Jacksonville, Florida), former Olympic Gold Medallist and WBO heavyweight title holder who resides in Fayetteville, North Carolina. He has also competed in kickboxing and mixed martial arts.

Amateur Career
Mercer was the 1988 United States Amateur Champion at Heavyweight while in the US Army and compiled an Amateur record of 64-6. He won Gold in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul as a heavyweight. In 1989, Mercer fought Barry Flowers (USAF) which contributed to a K.O. win in the 7th round.

Olympic Results
* 1st round bye
* Defeated Rudolf Gavenčiak (Czechoslovakia) RSC 3
* Defeated Luigi Gaudiano (Italy) KO 1
* Defeated Arnold Vanderlyde (Netherlands) RSC 2
* Defeated Baik Hyun-Man (South Korea) KO 1

Professional Career
Mercer turned pro in 1989 with a 3rd TKO of Jesse Hughes. He scored a series of knockouts and in August 1990 knocked down and outpointed big punching Smokin' Bert Cooper in a spectacular 12 round brawl that earned him Cooper's NABF title.

In January 1991 he challenged undefeated Francesco Damiani for the WBO heavyweight title, scoring a one punch knockout victory in the 9th when behind on points. Later that year he brutally demolished undefeated puncher Tommy Morrison in five, and with a major World title fight on the horizon vacated his WBO belt and fought 42 year old legend Larry Holmes rather than mandatory challenger Michael Moorer. It proved an unwise decision, as the crafty Holmes conned Mercer out of the fight, outjabbing the puzzled youngster and gaining both the points decision, and Mercer's World title fight with heavyweight king Evander Holyfield.

Having split fights with dangerous veteran Jesse Ferguson, laboured when overweight to a draw with trialhorse Marion Wilson, and seen a proposed 1994 bout in Hong Kong with Frank Bruno fall through, Mercer enjoyed an unexpected run of form in major fights, losing on points in a thrilling brawl with Holyfield in May 1995, losing a controversial decision in another wild punch up, this time with Lennox Lewis, in June 1996, and scoring a controversial points win over ex-champ Tim Witherspoon in yet another high action bout in December 1996. In the frame for a bout with Andrew Golota in 1997, Mercer suffered a neck injury and was out of action for 14 months. He returned February 1998 with a 2 round kayo of Leo Loiacono, but contracted Hepititis B and was again inactive, this time for 20 months.

In February 2001 a 42 year old Mercer launched a final comeback, knocking out four journeymen before being matched with WBO title holder Wladimir Klitschko in a high profile bout on HBO. Once famed for his incredible iron chin, Mercer looked his age and was knocked down in the first and stopped in the 6th. A brief dalliance in the mixed martial arts nixed a 2004 bout with DaVarryl Williamson, however he did return to boxing in 2005, now aged 44, but was stopped in seven by Shannon Briggs.

Kickboxing Career
Continuing to seek a fighting career, Mercer opted to travel to Japan and challenged Musashi in the kickboxing combat sport K-1 on June 6, 2004. Mercer held a reasonable account of himself, but his age and inability to successfully defend kicks was evident as he went on to lose the bout via unanimous decision. On March 19, 2005, he had one more K-1 bout against Remy Bonjasky, to whom he lost via verbal submission, the first and only strike of the night, a head kick, would land on the square on the head of Mercer.

It wasn't your typical fight; Mercer took one head kick and then quit in what was one of the most bizarre fights of all time as the kick didn't even seem to hurt him. As Mercer put it, "I got the shit kicked out of me".

Mixed Martial Arts Career
After a series of scheduled boxing matchups fell through (including a proposed bout against former champion Hasim Rahman), Mercer decided to try mixed martial arts (MMA) and approached Felix Martinez, co-founder of Cage Fury Fighting Championships, about working with the promotion. On March 21, 2007, Cage Fury announced that Mercer had signed to face underground street fighter and Internet legend Kimbo Slice at Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall on June 23, 2007, as part of Cage Fury Fighting Championship 5. The bout was a non-sanctioned exhibition under the New Jersey Unified MMA rules.

Kimbo Slice won the fight in the first round with a guillotine choke submission.

Mercer later stated in the press conference at Adrenaline III: Bragging Rights when he was scheduled to fight Tim Sylvia under MMA rules instead of Boxing rules that he had expected Kimbo Slice to box with him and said that he did not really train in any other aspect of MMA and was unprepared for the guillotine choke.

On June 13, 2009, Mercer made a big splash when he defeated Tim Sylvia at Adrenaline III: Bragging Rights. He won the fight via knockout in 9 seconds with a huge right hand to the chin, becoming the first man to ever defeat Sylvia by knockout.

In March 2010, it was announced that Mercer had signed with the King of the Cage organization.