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Ernie Terrell
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    (April 4, 1939-December 16, 2014)
    Born in Belzoni, Mississippi
    WBA Heavyweight Champion (1965-67)
    46 wins (21 by KO), 9 losses
    His boxing style was described as 'strategically masterful but aesthetically boring.'
    He only got a shot at the WBA championship because Muhammad Ali had been stripped of the title (ostensibly for scheduling a rematch with Sonny Liston, but more likely for converting to the Nation of Islam).
    Sports Illustrated wrote that he was 'embarrassingly inept' in his victory over Eddie Machen to claim the vacated WBA title.
    Before the title unification bout against Muhammad Ali (February 6, 1967), he ticked off Ali by constantly using his birth name, Cassius Clay.
    He retired from the ring to concentrate on a singing career, then came back three years later (1967-70).
    He ran unsuccessfully for Chicago alderman (1987).
    His boxing style, while not a crowd pleaser, was usually effective.
    He knew how to make the most of his height (6'6) and reach (82 inches).
    He made two successful title defenses before his bout with Ali.
    He later said that he thought Ali taking umbrage at being called Clay was just part of the pre-fight hype.
    He discovered it was serious when Ali repeatedly pummeled him while yelling 'What my name, Uncle Tom?'
    Ali's apparent refusal to knock out Terrell in order to keep punishing him was described as 'a wonderful demonstration of boxing skill and a barbarous display of cruelty.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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