By David Martinez / dmboxing.com
On December 16, 2014 my friend, former WBA heavyweight champion Ernie Terrell, passed away at the age of seventy-five.
I met Ernie while serving my tenure (1997-2007) with the World Boxing Hall of Fame. I was honored in October 2003, when Ernie was inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame, to be his presenter and to speak on his behalf on his outstanding ring career.
Ernie was a gentleman of the highest level and he will be missed by his loved ones and the boxing family. May his soul rest peacefully in heaven with God.
One of my first articles during the beginning stages of this website was on Ernie. I am delighted to bring back this article that was published on dmboxing.com August 2, 2007 for viewing now.
By David Martinez / Boxing Historian
My friend – Ernie Terrell
On October 16, 2004, Ernie Terrell was inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame, and I was so honored to be chosen as his presenter.
In my 47 years of following boxing, I have been gifted to have met so many wonderful people – but Ernie just has to be that one on the top, as he is such a humble man that I respect, not only as a fighter, but as a human being.
David Martinez with former WBA Heavyweight Champion Ernie Terrell
Here’s my capsule look at Ernie Terrell, born April 4, 1939 in Inverness, Mississippi.
Ernie won the vacant WBA Heavyweight championship on March 5, 1965 with a unanimous 15 round decision over Eddie Machen.
Prior to the Machen win, Ernie defeated Cleveland Williams, Zora Folley, Gehard Zech and Bob Foster to be ranked the number one heavyweight to fight for the WBA title.
Ernie defended the title twice – both 15 round decisions over George Chuvalo (1965) and Doug Jones (1966) before losing the title to Muhammad Ali in 1967 by 15 round decision.
Ernie briefly retired in December 1967, only to return to the ring exactly three years later in December 1970, winning seven of nine bouts before he officially retired in 1973.
Ernie (a former sparring partner to Sonny Liston) fought all the top heavyweights in his career including: Amos “big train” Lincoln, Thad Spencer, Manuel Ramos and Jose Luis Garcia.
That evening up on the dais for Ernie’s induction was a very special moment for Ernie – as it was a very special moment for me, as well.
My Friend – Ernie Terrell