On the last Tuesday, December 16, the world of boxing said goodbye to the another great warrior of the ring, The Real Heavyweight. The former WBA heavyweight Champion of the world, Ernie Terrell, pasted away!
Ernest Terrell was born April 4, 1939, in Belzoni, Texas. Turning pro in 1957, Terrell needed eight long years until he earned the title shot. The reigning champion Muhammad Ali was scheduled to fight Ernie Terrell (the WBA stripped Ali of his title after his agreement to fight a rematch with Liston) on March 29, 1965. WBA matched Terrell and Eddie Machen for the vacant crown. Terrell defeated Machen to win the belt on March 5, 1965, in Chicago. During his reign as WBA Champion, Terrell defended the title twice. In February 1967, Ali and Terrell met to end the debate about who was the legitimate heavyweight champion. Before the bout, Terrell repeatedly called Ali by his birth name- Cassius Clay. He explained later that he had known Clay for years in the amateurs and hadn't gotten used to calling him another name. Ali took offense to this, and vowed he would punish Terrell. Ali won a lopsided 15 round decision, reclaiming the undisputed championship. The Daily Telegraph wrote that the resulting fight was "the nastiest display of Ali's celebrated ring career," recounting how he seized Terrell in a headlock and dragged Terrell's eye along the top rope, and declared, "The fight will be remembered for Ali’s constant taunts of “what’s my name?”
Terrell retired from the ring in 1973, with the record of 46(21 KO)-9(2 KO). After retiring from boxing, he began a career as a music producer in Chicago, Illinois. Terrell was the older brother of The Supremes' early 1970s lead singer Jean Terrell. In the 1960s, she sang with his group, "Ernie Terrell & the Heavyweights". Ernie Terrell pasted away on December 16, he was 75! Rest In Peace, Champion!