Trevor Berbick

Trevor Berbick (1 August 1954 – 28 October 2006) was a Jamaican professional boxer who competed from 1976 to 2000. He won the WBC heavyweight title in 1986 by defeating Pinklon Thomas, then lost it in his first defense in the same year to Mike Tyson. Berbick was also the last boxer to fight Muhammad Ali, defeating him in 1981.

Trevor Berbick
Height6 ft 2 in (188 cm)
Reach78 in (198 cm)
Born(1954-08-01)1 August 1954
Norwich, Port Antonio, Jamaica
Died28 October 2006(2006-10-28) (aged 52)
Norwich, Port Antonio, Jamaica
Boxing record
Total fights61
Wins by KO29

As an amateur, Berbick won a bronze medal in the heavyweight division at the 1975 Pan American Games. In both his early and late professional career he held the Canadian heavyweight title twice, from 1979 to 1986 and 1999 to 2001.

Amateur careerEdit

At 21, Berbick represented his native Jamaica in the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Quebec, Canada as a heavyweight boxer, despite having had only 11 prior amateur bouts. His lack of experience was evident as he lost to the eventual silver medalist, Mircea Şimon of Romania. However, he still displayed a lot of promise as a young heavyweight boxer. The previous year, in his only bout at the Pan American Games in Mexico City, Berbick lost a decision to future heavyweight champion Michael Dokes in the semi-finals, winning a bronze medal.[1]

Leroy Caldwell, a boxer who fought almost all notable top-ranked heavyweights of the 1970s and early 1980s, including several world champions, recalled that Berbick was his most talented opponent.[2]

Professional careerEdit

Berbick left Jamaica after the Olympics. He opted to settle in Montreal and fight professionally out of Halifax. He won his first 11 fights (10 by knockout) before suffering his first pro loss to another rising contender, Bernardo Mercado, on 3 April 1979. As an amateur, Berbick had soundly beaten Mercado. However, with 10 seconds remaining in the first round of their only professional meeting, Berbick walked into a punch and was knocked out. Nevertheless, he remained in contention for the heavyweight title.

A 1980 upset of ex-champ John Tate (9th-round KO) secured a title shot against Larry Holmes on 11 April 1981, but Berbick lost a 15-round unanimous decision. In his second fight after the loss, he beat 39-year-old Muhammad Ali in the final fight of Ali's career.

In 1982 he beat undefeated prospect Greg Page, and in 1984 he moved to Miramar, Florida and signed with promoter Don King. Wins over undefeated Mitch "Blood" Green and David Bey scored him another title fight, and he won the WBC world heavyweight title by upsetting Pinklon Thomas with an easy unanimous decision on 22 March 1986. However, his reign as champion would be brief.

On 22 November, in his first defense of the title, Berbick took on Mike Tyson, who was looking to break Floyd Patterson's record and become, at the age of twenty, the youngest ever heavyweight champion. In the second round, Tyson dropped Berbick with a quick knockdown. Berbick was quickly overwhelmed by his opponent and late in the round, he went down again. The champion rose to his feet, but immediately stumbled backward and fell back to the canvas. Berbick tried twice more to make it to his feet but fell both times, and referee Mills Lane stopped counting and waved the fight off to end Berbick's reign as champion.

Berbick is the only man in professional boxing history to have fought Muhammad Ali, Larry Holmes, and Mike Tyson.

In 1991, he traveled to the UWFi promotion in Japan to fight Nobuhiko Takada in a "boxer vs. wrestler" bout. Berbick claimed that he had been double-crossed and that he had expected the fight to be like American kickboxing, but it turned out that the rules allowed Takada to kick Berbick below the belt. Berbick refused to mount any offense, instead repeatedly complaining to the referee as Takada kicked him repeatedly in the legs. Takada claimed victory by default when Berbick exited the ring.[3]

Berbick resumed his boxing career in 1994, frequently fighting on the USA Tuesday Night Fights. He would score a mild upset over Melvin Foster but would go on to lose to prospects such as Jimmy Thunder and Hasim Rahman. He eventually fought his last bout in 2000 against Canadian journeyman Shane Sutcliffe, winning a 12-round unanimous decision. Afterwards, a CAT scan revealed a blood clot in his brain and his boxing license was revoked. His final professional record was 49 wins (33 by knockout), 11 losses, and 1 draw.

Outside the ringEdit

Berbick was a preacher at the Moments of Miracles Pentecostal church in Las Vegas.

Rape convictionEdit

Berbick was arrested on a number of occasions throughout his life and was sentenced in Florida to 5 years in prison for raping his children's babysitter in 1992. He served only 15 months. In 1997, he violated his parole and was deported from the United States to Canada. Due to his legal issues, he also had problems staying in Canada, losing his landed immigrant status and being ordered back to Jamaica in 1999.[4] Later in 1999 he won the right to remain in Canada.[5]

Feud with Larry HolmesEdit

Berbick had a well-publicized feud with Larry Holmes, whom he fought in the ring in 1981. Their feud culminated in a public confrontation and brawl in 1991, which was caught on tape. After a verbal altercation indoors, Berbick was outside complaining about being kicked and punched by Larry Holmes when Holmes climbed atop a parked car and launched himself at Berbick. Holmes was furious with Berbick badmouthing his family. The footage ends as the two are separated by police and others.[6]


Berbick retired in Florida to be with his wife and four children (he had three children with his first wife in Montreal) and started to train boxers at Kenny Barrett's Gym in Tamarac, Florida. Berbick's problems escalated. He was again deported from the U.S. on 2 December 2002.


On 28 October 2006, Berbick was murdered at a church in Norwich, Jamaica by an assailant wielding a 2-inch-diameter (51 mm) steel pipe. He sustained repeated blows to the head and died at the scene.[7]

Police arrested two men, one of whom was Berbick's 20-year-old nephew Harold Berbick,[8] in connection with the murder. They were interrogated at the Port Antonio police station in Portland early on the morning of 29 October.[9] Local residents indicated that the suspect was involved in a land dispute with Berbick.[10] On 3 November it was reported that Berbick's nephew, 20-year-old Harold Berbick, and an unidentified 18-year-old man had been charged with his murder by Jamaican police.[11] On 20 December 2007, Harold Berbick was convicted for the murder of his uncle. His alleged accomplice, Kenton Gordon, was convicted of manslaughter and both men were sentenced on 11 January 2008.[12] Harold Berbick was sentenced to life in prison; Kenton Gordon was sentenced to fourteen years in prison.[13] Trevor Berbick's body was buried at the Berbick Family Plot Norwich, in Portland, Jamaica.

Professional boxing recordEdit

Professional record summary
61 fights 49 wins 11 losses
By knockout 33 2
By decision 16 9
Draws 1
No. Result Record Opponent Type Round, time Date Location Notes
61 Win 49–11–1   Shane Sutcliffe UD 12 26 May 2000   PNE Agrodome, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada Retained Canada heavyweight title
60 Loss 48–11–1   Tony LaRosa SD 8 12 Aug 1999   Slave Lake, Alberta, Canada
59 Win 48–10–1   Iran Barkley UD 8 29 Jun 1999   Molson Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
58 Win 47–10–1   Shane Sutcliffe TKO 12 (12), 0:44 5 Feb 1999   Centre Pierre Charbonneau, Montreal, Quebec, Canada Won Canada heavyweight title
57 Win 46–10–1   Ben Perlini UD 10 6 Aug 1998   Slave Lake, Alberta, Canada
56 Loss 45–10–1   Lyle McDowell SD 12 15 Sep 1997   Shaw Conference Centre, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada For vacant IBO Inter-Continental heavyweight title
55 Loss 45–9–1   Hasim Rahman UD 10 15 Oct 1996   Circus Maximus Showroom, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
54 Win 45–8–1   Louis Monaco UD 10 18 Sep 1996   Westbury Music Fair, North Hempstead, New York, U.S.
53 Win 44–8–1   Ken Smith TKO 4 (10), 1:05 26 Apr 1996   Westbury Music Fair, North Hempstead, New York, U.S.
52 Win 43–8–1   Bruce Johnson TKO 3 (10) 25 Aug 1995   Columbus, Ohio, U.S.
51 Loss 42–8–1   Jimmy Thunder UD 12 15 Mar 1995   Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, Prior Lake, Minnesota, U.S. For vacant WBC Continental Americas heavyweight title
50 Win 42–7–1   Melvin Foster SD 10 13 Sep 1994   Westbury Music Fair, North Hempstead, New York, U.S.
49 Win 41–7–1   Marselles Brown KO 2 (10) 10 Aug 1994   Lakefront Arena, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
48 Win 40–7–1   Paul Phillips KO 4 (10), 1:14 30 Jul 1994   Myrl H. Shoemaker Center, Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.
47 Win 39–7–1   Danny Wofford PTS 8 14 Mar 1994   Spartanburg, South Carolina, U.S.
46 Win 38–7–1   Garing Lane PTS 8 2 Aug 1991   Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, Cannes, France
45 Win 37–7–1   Bobby Crabtree KO 5 (10), 2:00 14 Dec 1990   The Diplomat, Hollywood, Florida, U.S.
44 Win 36–7–1   Jeff Sims TKO 6 (10), 2:15 18 Jul 1990   Varsity Arena, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
43 Loss 35–7–1   Buster Douglas UD 10 25 Feb 1989   Las Vegas Hilton, Winchester, Nevada, U.S.
42 Win 35–6–1   O T Davis KO 3 (10) 20 Sep 1988   Central Plaza Hotel, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, U.S.
41 Loss 34–6–1   Carl Williams UD 12 27 Jun 1988   Convention Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S. For USBA heavyweight title
40 Win 34–5–1   Robert Evans UD 10 24 Nov 1987   Forum, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
39 Win 33–5–1   Lorenzo Boyd TKO 3 (10), 1:48 29 Oct 1987   Musical Theater, Sunrise, Florida, U.S.
38 Win 32–5–1   Art Terry TKO 5 (10), 1:33 31 Jul 1987   Lee County Civic Center, North Fort Myers, Florida, U.S.
37 Loss 31–5–1   Mike Tyson TKO 2 (12), 2:35 22 Nov 1986   Las Vegas Hilton, Winchester, Nevada, U.S. Lost WBC heavyweight title
36 Win 31–4–1   Pinklon Thomas UD 12 22 Mar 1986   Riviera, Winchester, Nevada, U.S. Won WBC heavyweight title
35 Win 30–4–1   Mike Perkins TKO 10 (10) 17 Jan 1986   Omni Coliseum, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
34 Win 29–4–1   Mitch Green MD 12 10 Aug 1985   Riviera, Winchester, Nevada, U.S. Retained USBA heavyweight title
33 Win 28–4–1   David Bey TKO 11 (12), 2:30 15 Jun 1985   Riviera, Winchester, Nevada, U.S. Won USBA heavyweight title
32 Win 27–4–1   Walter Santemore UD 10 28 Nov 1984   Broadway by the Bay Theater, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
31 Win 26–4–1   Andros Ernie Barr TKO 4 (12) 1 Sep 1984   Nassau, Bahamas Retained Commonwealth heavyweight title
30 Win 25–4–1   Mark Lee PTS 10 13 Mar 1984   Wembley Arena, London, England
29 Win 24–4–1   Mike Cohen KO 4 (10) 19 Feb 1984   Hyatt Regency, Tampa, Florida, U.S.
28 Win 23–4–1   Ken Lakusta KO 10 (12), 1:52 9 Sep 1983   Northlands Coliseum, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Retained Commonwealth and Canada heavyweight titles
27 Loss 22–4–1   S. T. Gordon UD 10 28 May 1983   Showboat Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
26 Loss 22–3–1   Renaldo Snipes UD 10 2 Oct 1982   Sands, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
25 Win 22–2–1   Greg Page UD 10 11 Jun 1982   Caesars Palace, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
24 Win 21–2–1   Gordon Racette TKO 11 (12) 5 Mar 1982   Frank Crane Arena, Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada Retained Commonwealth and Canada heavyweight titles
23 Win 20–2–1   Muhammad Ali UD 10 11 Dec 1981   Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre, Nassau, Bahamas
22 Win 19–2–1   Conroy Nelson KO 2 (15), 2:49 21 Jul 1981   Metro Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada Retained Canada heavyweight title;
Won vacant Commonwealth heavyweight title
21 Loss 18–2–1   Larry Holmes UD 15 11 Apr 1981   Caesars Palace, Paradise, Nevada, U.S. For WBC, The Ring, and lineal heavyweight titles
20 Win 18–1–1   Chuck Gardner TKO 4 (10), 1:12 31 Jan 1981   Kingston, Jamaica
19 Win 17–1–1   Chuck Findlay KO 1 (10), 2:47 11 Nov 1980   Metro Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
18 Win 16–1–1   Ron Rouselle KO 1 (12), 0:33 27 Aug 1980   Northlands Coliseum, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Retained Canada heavyweight title
17 Win 15–1–1   John Tate KO 9 (10), 0:22 20 Jun 1980   Olympic Stadium, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
16 Win 14–1–1   Johnny Warr SD 10 11 Mar 1980   Metro Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
15 Win 13–1–1   Ngozika Ekwelum TKO 5 (10), 0:01 11 Dec 1979   Metro Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
14 Draw 12–1–1   Leroy Caldwell PTS 10 14 Jun 1979   Convention Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
13 Win 12–1   Earl McLeay TKO 7 (12), 2:07 26 May 1979   Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada Won vacant Canada heavyweight title
12 Loss 11–1   Bernardo Mercado KO 1 (12), 2:55 3 Apr 1979   Metro Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada For vacant WBC Continental Americas heavyweight title
11 Win 11–0   Greg Sorrentino TKO 1 (10), 1:27 8 Oct 1978   Metro Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
10 Win 10–0   Gregory Johnson KO 4 (10), 2:49 12 Sep 1978   Metro Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
9 Win 9–0   Tony Moore TKO 6 (10), 0:01 1 Aug 1978   Metro Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
8 Win 8–0   Horst Geisler KO 1 (10), 1:21 28 Jun 1978   Metro Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
7 Win 7–0   Eugene Green UD 10 8 Dec 1977   Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
6 Win 6–0   Eddie Owens TKO 5 (10), 2:34 8 Sep 1977   Forum, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
5 Win 5–0   Willie Moore KO 4 (10), 2:04 18 Aug 1977   Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
4 Win 4–0   Joe Maye TKO 7 (10), 2:50 25 Jan 1977   Metro Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
3 Win 3–0   Michael Lucas TKO 2 (6), 2:21 9 Jan 1977   New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, Canada
2 Win 2–0   Bobby Halpern TKO 3 (6), 2:05 23 Nov 1976   Forum, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
1 Win 1–0   Wayne Martin TKO 5 (6) 27 Sep 1976   Festival Arena, Shediac, New Brunswick, Canada


  1. ^ "7.Panamerican Games - Ciudad Mexico, Mexico - October 12-26 1975". Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  2. ^ Did Earnie Shavers or George Foreman hit harder? Leroy Caldwell, who fought both, gives his take, an interview by Jeff Mayweather, Las Vegas, Nevada (7 July 2016).
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Trevor Berbick Ordered from Canada". AP News Archive. Associated Press. 18 February 1999. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  5. ^ CBC News (5 December 1999). "Boxer Berbick wins deportation fight". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  6. ^ Canada. "Sports - The Globe and Mail". Retrieved 13 August 2012.
  7. ^ "Former heavyweight boxing champion found dead". London: The Guardian. 28 October 2006. Retrieved 28 October 2006.
  8. ^ Sun Sentinel[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ "Former heavyweight boxing champion found dead". Casper Star-Tribune. 29 October 2006. Retrieved 29 October 2006.[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ "Jamaican police make arrest in slaying of ex-boxing champ Trevor Berbick". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 30 October 2006. Retrieved 30 October 2006.[dead link]
  11. ^ "Nephew Charged With Berbick's Slaying". New York Times. 3 November 2006. Retrieved 3 November 2006.[dead link]
  12. ^ "Berbick's nephew one of two convicted in boxer's murder - boxing - ESPN". 21 December 2007. Retrieved 13 August 2012.
  13. ^ "Berbick Killer Gets Life". Archived from the original on 3 October 2009.

External linksEdit

Sporting positions
Regional boxing titles
Title last held by
George Chuvalo
Canada heavyweight champion
26 May 1979 – 1986
Title next held by
Ken Lakusta
Title last held by
John L. Gardner
heavyweight champion

21 July 1981 – 1986
Title next held by
Horace Notice
Preceded by
David Bey
USBA heavyweight champion
15 June 1981 – March 1986
Title next held by
Tony Tucker
Preceded by
Shane Sutcliffe
Canada heavyweight champion
5 February 1999 – October 2001
Title next held by
Donovan Ruddock
World boxing titles
Preceded by
Pinklon Thomas
WBC heavyweight champion
22 March 1986 – 22 November 1986
Succeeded by
Mike Tyson