John Tate (boxer)

John Tate (January 29, 1955 – April 9, 1998) was the WBA heavyweight champion of the world from 1979 to 1980. As an amateur he won a bronze medal in the heavyweight division at the 1976 Summer Olympics.

John Tate
Statistics
Nickname(s)Big John
Weight(s)Heavyweight
Height6 ft 4 in (193 cm)
Reach80 in (203 cm)
NationalityAmerican
Born(1955-01-29)January 29, 1955
Marion, Arkansas, U.S.
DiedApril 9, 1998(1998-04-09) (aged 43)
Knoxville, Tennessee, U.S.
StanceOrthodox
Boxing record
Total fights37
Wins34
Wins by KO23
Losses3

Amateur careerEdit

"Big John" Tate (named due to his 6-foot-4-inch or 193-centimetre height) captured a bronze medal at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, losing to Olympic boxing legend Teófilo Stevenson in a semifinal bout.

1976 Olympic resultsEdit

Tate lost in the finals of the 1975 National Golden Gloves to Emory Chapman. He lost in the quarterfinals the next year in a split decision to Michael Dokes. He avenged his loss to Dokes in the Olympic Trials by decision, and beat 1976 National AAU Champion Marvin Stinson to advance to the Olympic team. He also beat future heavyweight champion Greg Page by two close decisions, one in the quarterfinals of the 1975 National Golden Gloves tournament.

Tate met his future trainer, Ace Miller, during an amateur tournament in Knoxville, Tennessee. Tate and Miller worked together through 1983.[1]

Professional careerEdit

Tate turned pro in 1977 and scored a series of high-profile wins, knocking out highly ranked contenders Duane Bobick, Bernardo Mercado, and Kallie Knoetze. He captured the vacant WBA title on October 20, 1979 by defeating Gerrie Coetzee by decision, succeeding Muhammad Ali, who had relinquished the title that summer. Tate's fights with Knoetze and Coetzee were held in Apartheid South Africa, the latter before 80,000 fans.

Tate lost the title to Mike Weaver in his first defence just five months later. Tate was well ahead on all scorecards going into the 15th and final round when the big hitting Weaver landed a left hook punch to the chin that left the champion twitching unconscious on the canvas for several minutes.[2]

Tate came back from the loss on June 20, 1980 against up and coming Trevor Berbick. This was on the undercard of the legendary fight between Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Durán. The former champion started well, but tired throughout the bruising battle and was defeated by Berbick early in the 9th round—being knocked out by a punch that caught him on the back of the head and left him unconscious.[2]

Tate was in the frame to challenge Larry Holmes for the heavyweight title in 1984, but the fight fell apart due to injury. Tate boxed on and off for the remainder of the 1980s but was often grossly overweight. He weighed in at an astonishing 281 pounds (127 kg) prior to losing a points decision to journeyman Noel Quarless in London, in his final fight in 1988. Tate's professional career record was 34-3, with 23 wins by knockout.

Outside the ringEdit

Tate's life after his championship reign was brief and troubled, suffering from a cocaine addiction during the 1980s, being convicted on petty theft and assault charges,[3] serving time in prison, and at times panhandling on the streets of Knoxville, Tennessee.[4] He was rumored to have ballooned to over 400 pounds (180 kg) in his post-fighting years.[4]

DeathEdit

On April 9, 1998, Tate died of injuries sustained following a one-car automobile accident. It was determined that he suffered a massive stroke, caused by a brain tumor, while driving. The pickup truck crashed into a utility pole. Two other passengers were not seriously injured.[5]

Professional boxing recordEdit

Professional record summary
37 fights 34 wins 3 losses
By knockout 23 2
By decision 10 1
By disqualification 1 0
No. Result Record Opponent Type Round, time Date Location Notes
37 Loss 34–3   Noel Quarless PTS 10 Mar 30, 1988   York Hall, London, England
36 Win 34–2   Wesley Smith UD 4 Jan 16, 1988   Viking Hall, Bristol, Tennessee, U.S.
35 Win 33–2   Mark Green KO 1 (6) Dec 19, 1987   Bristol, Tennessee, U.S.
34 Win 32–2   Calvin Jones MD 4 Nov 28, 1987   International Speedway, Bristol, Tennessee, U.S.
33 Win 31–2   Steve Eisenbarth TKO 1 (6) Apr 17, 1986   Convention Center, Bakersfield, California, U.S.
32 Win 30–2   Marty Capasso KO 2 (10), 1:26 Aug 19, 1983   Auditorium, West Palm Beach, Florida, U.S.
31 Win 29–2   Donnie Long UD 10 Apr 10, 1983   Hilton, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
30 Win 28–2   Danny Sutton TKO 5 (10), 2:55 Jan 13, 1983   Viking Hall, Bristol, Tennessee, U.S.
29 Win 27–2   Bruce Grandham TKO 3 (10) Aug 27, 1982   Bristol, Tennessee, U.S.
28 Win 26–2   Leroy Boone UD 10 Jul 8, 1982   Knoxville, Tennessee, U.S.
27 Win 25–2   Leroy Caldwell UD 10 Mar 25, 1982   Showboat Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
26 Win 24–2   Chuck Gardner KO 1 (10), 2:25 Nov 27, 1981   Civic Coliseum, Knoxville, Tennessee, U.S.
25 Win 23–2   Barry Funches TKO 7 (10), 2:59 Oct 15, 1981   Sands, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
24 Win 22–2   Clayman Parker TKO 1 (10), 2:47 Aug 8, 1981   Knoxville, Tennessee, U.S.
23 Win 21–2   Harvey Steichen UD 10 Feb 15, 1981   Civic Coliseum, Knoxville, Tennessee, U.S.
22 Loss 20–2   Trevor Berbick KO 9 (10), 0:22 Jun 20, 1980   Olympic Stadium, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
21 Loss 20–1   Mike Weaver KO 15 (15), 2:15 Mar 31, 1980   Stokely Athletic Center, Knoxville, Tennessee, U.S. Lost WBA heavyweight title
20 Win 20–0   Gerrie Coetzee UD 15 Oct 20, 1979   Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria, South Africa Won vacant WBA heavyweight title
19 Win 19–0   Kallie Knoetze TKO 8 (12), 2:52 Jun 2, 1979   Independence Stadium, Mmabatho, Bophuthatswana
18 Win 18–0   Duane Bobick KO 1 (10), 2:15 Feb 17, 1979   Market Square Arena, Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.
17 Win 17–0   Ron Draper KO 5 (10), 1:55 Dec 9, 1978   Cobo Arena, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
16 Win 16–0   Roy Wallace KO 9 (10), 0:43 Oct 14, 1978   The Summit, Houston, Texas, U.S.
15 Win 15–0   Johnny Boudreaux SD 10 Aug 26, 1978   Houston, Texas, U.S.
14 Win 14–0   Walter Santemore KO 6 (10), 2:45 Jul 7, 1978   Sports Stadium, Orlando, Florida, U.S.
13 Win 13–0   Bernardo Mercado TKO 2 (10), 2:24 Jun 22, 1978   Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
12 Win 12–0   Reinaldo Gorosito KO 2 (10) May 13, 1978   Sports Stadium, Orlando, Florida, U.S.
11 Win 11–0   Harold Carter DQ 4 Apr 25, 1978   Sports Stadium, Orlando, Florida, U.S.
10 Win 10–0   Leon Shaw KO 7 (10), 2:32 Mar 14, 1978   Sports Stadium, Orlando, Florida, U.S.
9 Win 9–0   James Dixon KO 3 Jan 29, 1978   Hyatt Regency, Knoxville, Tennessee, U.S.
8 Win 8–0   Charlie Jordan KO 1 Dec 3, 1977   Knoxville, Tennessee, U.S.
7 Win 7–0   Frank Schram TKO 1 (6) Nov 18, 1977   Caesars Palace, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
6 Win 6–0   Lou Esa KO 3 (6), 2:58 Oct 22, 1977   The Aladdin, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
5 Win 5–0   Eddie Lopez MD 6 Sep 13, 1977   Grand Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
4 Win 4–0   Walter Santemore PTS 6 Aug 23, 1977   Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.
3 Win 3–0   Baker Tinsley KO 2 (6) Aug 20, 1977   High School Gym, Pikeville, Kentucky, U.S.
2 Win 2–0   Norm Kues KO 1 (6), 1:45 Jun 1, 1977   Forum, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
1 Win 1–0   Jerry Thompkins TKO 5 (6), 2:40 May 7, 1977   Kiel Auditorium, St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Reflections on Big John Tate: Boxing Interview with Ace Miller". Doghouseboxing.com. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  2. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-10-12. Retrieved 2007-10-24.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1355/is_n14_v83/ai_13362481[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ a b Frank Litsky (1998-04-11). "John Tate, 43, Troubled Heavyweight Champ". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  5. ^ Thompson, Jack (April 12, 1998). "Examiner: Tate's Death From Stroke". Chicago Tribue. Retrieved 21 May 2018.

External linksEdit

Sporting positions
World boxing titles
Vacant
Title last held by
Muhammad Ali
WBA heavyweight champion
October 20, 1979 – March 31, 1980
Succeeded by
Mike Weaver