|August 1, 1955
|Norwich, Port Antonio, Jamaica
|October 28, 2006
|Wins by KO
Trevor Berbick (August 1, 1955 – October 28, 2006), was a Jamaican heavyweight boxer who fought as a professional from 1976 until 2000. He died during a suspected robbery near his home town of Norwich, Jamaica. Berbick briefly held the WBC heavyweight title in 1986, before losing it to Mike Tyson. He was also noted for being the last man to fight Muhammad Ali, winning their 10-round contest in Nassau, Bahamas on December 11, 1981 by unanimous decision.
He was born on August 1, 1955 (though often reported as 1954) in Norwich, Port Antonio, Jamaica. At the age of 16, he claimed to have had a vision from God. This was the first of many colourful incidents in an eventful—if troubled—life.
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 plainly evident as he lost to the eventual silver medalist, Mircea Simon of Romania. However, he still displayed a lot of promise as a young heavyweight boxer.
Berbick left Jamaica after the Olympics. He opted to stay in Montreal and fight professionally out of Canada. He won his first 11 fights (10 by knockout) before losing his first pro fight to another rising contender, Bernardo Mercado, on April 3, 1979. As an amateur, Berbick had soundly beaten Mercardo. However, with 10 seconds remaining in the first round of their only professional meeting, Berbick walked into a punch and was knocked out cold. Nevertheless he remained in contention for the heavyweight title.
He secured a title shot against Larry Holmes on April 11, 1981, but lost a 15-round unanimous decision. In his second fight after the loss, he beat Muhammad Ali to secure his place in history as the man who finally ended the career of "The Greatest".
In 1984, he moved to Miramar, Florida and signed with promoter Don King. He won the WBC world heavyweight title by upsetting Pinklon Thomas in a unanimous decision on March 22, 1986. However, his reign as champion would be brief.
On November 22, in his first defense of the title, he was knocked down three times in the second round by 20-year-old Mike Tyson before the fight was stopped by referee Mills Lane, resulting in a second round TKO loss. Again, he made boxing history, this time by being the man who Tyson defeated for his first heavyweight title, symbolically bridging the eras of Ali and Tyson. As Jim Lampley said it best after the knockout "And we have a new era in Boxing!"
In 1991, he went to Japan to fight Nobuhiko Takada in a "wrestler vs. boxer" bout. Frustrated that he couldn't get any blows in edgewise and protesting against Takada's offense repeatedly, Berbick left the ring midway through the first round, claiming he had been doublecrossed. Berbick expected the fight to be like American kick boxing, but it turned out that the fight allowed Takada to kick Berbick below the belt.
Afterwards, his career deterioated further. 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 50 wins (33 by knockout), 11 losses, and 1 draw.
Outside the Ring
From his early life until his remaining moments, Berbick was actively involved in the church. He was a preacher at the Moments of Miracles Pentecostal church in Las Vegas while he was a fighter and was ironically killed in a church courtyard in 2006.
Troubles with the law
Berbick was arrested on a number of occassuions throughout his life and was sentenced in Florida to 5 years in prison (he served only 15 months) for sexually assaulting his childrens babysitter in 1992 . In 1997, he violated his parole and was ordered to be deported from the United States.
He retired in Florida to be with his wife and three children (he also had three children with his first wife in Montreal) and started to train boxers at Kenny Barrett's Gym (Tamarac Florida). However, Berbick's problems only escalated. He was again ordered deported from the U.S. on December 2, 2002.
On October 28, 2006, he was murdered at a church in Norwich, Jamaica by an assailant wielding a hatchet or possibly a machete, according to multiple news sources. He suffered a "gaping wound to the head" which resulted in him dying at the scene of the attack.
Police have arrested a man in connection with the death, and were interrogating him at the Port Antonio police station in Portland as of early in the morning of October 29
|Heavyweight boxing champion (WBC)
March 22, 1986 - November 22, 1986
Muhammad Ali vs Trevor Burbick - Drama In Bahama
Venue: Queen Elizabeth Sports Center, Nassau, Bahamas. 11th December, 1981.
“ I thought I should go out of boxing with a win, Muhammad Ali said, or if not with a win, at least throwing punches.” It was nonsense, of course. Almost 40 already damaged by the attrition of his profession and now the victim of another large financial scandal, Ali took a bout with Trevor Berbick, who had just lost a decision to Larry Holmes in a title bout.
Manoeuvrings behind the promotion, run by Nation of Islam member James Cornelius, were internecine. Even Don King received a beating “for interfering with Muslim business” as he pressed a claim for a part of Berbick’s end of the deal.
Berbick handed Ali another defeat, although Ali exited boxing on his feet, which was, as he had wanted. “I came out all right for an old man,” he said in the post-fight press conference. “We all lose sometimes. We all grow old.”
With those words, perhaps the greatest career in boxing came to an end.