Jesse Ferguson

Last updated
Jesse Ferguson
Statistics
Real nameJesse Ferguson
Nickname(s)"The Boogieman"
Weight(s) Heavyweight
Height6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Reach77 in (196 cm)
Nationality American
Born (1957-03-20) March 20, 1957 (age 64)
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights44
Wins26
Wins by KO16
Losses18
Draws0

Jesse Ferguson (born March 20, 1957) is a retired American boxer who fought in several noteworthy boxing matches in the 1980s and 1990s. His professional career is filled with matches with champions and contenders and his name is linked with numerous boxing stars of the 1980s and 1990s.

Contents

Early years

Ferguson grew up in rural Knightdale, North Carolina, one of 13 children of a tobacco farm workers William and Jesse Ferguson. [1]

Military service

Ferguson took up boxing at the age of 22, while serving with the U.S. Marines. [1]

Professional career

After an amateur career in the early 80s, Ferguson turned pro in 1983 at the age of 25. He had 10 straight wins (all by knockout), the most notable being a 4-round knockout of Reggie Gross. To supplement his meager boxing earnings, Jesse Ferguson was working as a construction worker and a security guard. [1]

This earned him a place in ESPN's 1985 Young Heavyweight tournament. He made a debut with a 4-round knockout of Richard Scott, and followed it up in the semi-finals with a 10-round points win where he outpunched James "Buster" Douglas, a fight that would become more significant over the years, as Douglas went on to upset Mike Tyson in 1990 and win the undisputed heavyweight championship of the world. In the final he took on Tony Anthony and knocked him out in the 10th round, earning himself a world ranking.

His success was short-lived however. He was matched up with Carl "The Truth" Williams, who was himself coming off a disputed 15-round points loss to Larry Holmes. Williams' experience won out, as he climbed off the floor twice to knock out Ferguson in 10 rounds.

Ferguson was employed as a sparring partner for Mike Tyson, Razor Ruddock, Lennox Lewis, and Michael Moorer. [1]

Tyson fight

In a theme that would continue throughout his long career, Ferguson was matched tough in his next fight. In 1986 he took on prospect Mike Tyson who was 17-0, and making his national television debut. Tyson broke Ferguson's nose in the fifth round with an uppercut, sending him to the canvas. Referee Luis Rivera disqualified Ferguson in the next round, for what he deemed "excessive holding." The local commission later changed the result to a "TKO" for Tyson.

Journeyman

From this point on Ferguson became a part-time boxer, finding it difficult to find meaningful fights but used regularly by all the top contenders as a sparring partner, who preferred training with him than risking fighting him. In 1987 he fought only once, on the undercard of the Tyson/Tucker fight, knocking out ex-contender George Chaplin, sending him into retirement. In 1988 he fought 22-0 Orlin Norris for his NABF belt. Norris was a fast-rising prospect with slick skills and some big wins under his belt already. Ferguson's ring rust showed as he was outpointed over 12 dull rounds.

It may be said that by this point Ferguson's heart was no longer fully in the game. By the time he fought Oliver McCall in 1991, he had only had one fight in three years, a 6-round kayo of Terry Armstrong in 1990. Although rusty and overweight, Ferguson appeared to get the better of McCall. However Ferguson had been relegated to 'trial horse' status and McCall was given the decision. Three years later in 1994, McCall would knockout Lennox Lewis in two rounds to become heavyweight champion of the world. In 1992 he took on Bruce Seldon where an indifferent Ferguson retired after five rounds with an eye injury. Three years later, Seldon would win the vacant WBA heavyweight title.

Ferguson dropped decisions to two ex-world champions, Michael "Dynamite" Dokes and Tony "TNT" Tubbs, but in 1993 would see a turnaround of his fortunes.

Upset, controversy and title shot

On February 6, 1993, Ferguson fought on the untelevised undercard of an HBO event at Madison Square Garden in New York. Ferguson was signed to fight Ray Mercer, a former World Boxing Organization world Heavyweight champion, in what was actually a heavyweight title eliminator but was regarded by many as a tune up for Mercer for a potential second shot at a world championship. The winner of the bout was to face the winner of the main event between reigning WBA and IBF champion Riddick Bowe and former champion Michael Dokes for the titles at a future date. Ferguson, however, defied the odds and defeated an underprepared Mercer by a unanimous decision to earn his shot against Bowe, who knocked out Dokes in the first round.

The win over Mercer proved controversial as Mercer was later investigated for allegedly trying to bribe Ferguson to let Mercer win the bout. [2]

The fight was signed for May 22, 1993, and was staged at RFK Stadium in Washington, DC. Ferguson came into the fight below 230 pounds for the first time in years and was considered to be in the best shape of his career. Because the IBF did not consider Ferguson to be a legitimate contender, they would not sanction the defense for Bowe and only the WBA and lineal championships were on the line. Ferguson thought he had a legitimate chance to knock the champion out, but Bowe disregarded his boasts. Ferguson was knocked down toward the end of the first round and barely made it back to his feet at the bell, then was dropped again as the second round began and knocked out.

Remainder of pro career

Despite the defeat, Ferguson was back in the ring shortly afterwards. He was matched against Mercer yet again, who this time came in shape at 223. Although the fight was closer, Ferguson still appeared to outpunch Mercer and get the better of him. Once again Ferguson was on the wrong end of a close decision as Mercer was awarded a split decision that was even jeered by his hometown crowd at Atlantic City. In 1994 Ferguson travelled to the U.K. to fight Frank Bruno, who was returning after his loss to Lennox Lewis. The overweight Ferguson collapsed in one round in a passionless performance. A year later Bruno would outpoint Oliver McCall and win the WBC heavyweight title.

In his only other fight in 1994 Ferguson was matched with Larry Holmes, the 44-year-old former great who was on another comeback trail. Ferguson despite being out of shape had Holmes reeling in the second, and appeared to get the best of the ex-champ. Yet again Ferguson was on the wrong side of the points decision, and even the New York Times reported it as: "A robbery. Larry Holmes came off second-best against Jesse Ferguson." By 1995 Ferguson was frequently out of shape and made little effort in his fights. He had Jeremy Williams out on his feet but quit in the 7th with a swollen eye. He dropped Alex Stewart twice but was denied the decision. He did nothing against Danell Nicholson and pulled out after 8 rounds. In all three fights he looked distinctly uninterested.

Return to form

In 1996 he was hired as chief sparring partner for champion Mike Tyson in the lead-up to his fight with Bruce Seldon. It was during this time, with a little encouragement from Team Tyson, Ferguson began to realise he was better than he gave himself credit for.

He returned late in 1996, now aged 39, and beat undefeated Bobby Harris. He followed this up with two more wins before a high-profile fight on HBO with Tongan Samson Po'uha, in 1997. He decked Po'uha several times before knocking him out in the 8th round.

This led to another big fight on HBO in 1998, where a now 40-year-old Ferguson took on young and undefeated powerful punching contender Hasim Rahman for the USBA belt. Ferguson lost by decision. Rahman would go on to defeat Lennox Lewis and become the Heavyweight Champion of the World.

Ferguson followed up the Rahman fight with a 10-round decision win over ex-cruiserweight champ Tyrone Booze. He then took on Obed Sullivan, ranked No. 4 in the world, and won an upset decision.

In 1999 Jimmy Thunder, citing an injury, dropped out of a fight with Polish contender Andrew Golota. Ferguson was tapped as Thunder's replacement and accepted the bout on short notice; he lost the fight by decision.

After this loss Ferguson's manager handed him back his contract and stopped answering his calls. Ferguson could no longer find fights. His career ended in 1999 with a record of 26-18-0 with 16 knockouts.

Ferguson spoke of comebacks in 2000 and 2002 but each time nothing came of them. He complained of being "blackballed" by the boxing establishment.

Professional boxing record

26 Wins (16 knockouts, 10 decisions), 18 Losses (7 knockouts, 11 decisions)
ResultRecordOpponentTypeRoundDateLocationNotes
Loss26-18 Flag of Poland.svg Andrew Golota UD1030/01/1999 Flag of New Jersey.svg Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States 89-100, 89-100, 90-99.
Win26-17 Flag of the United States.svg Obed "The Fighting Marine" Sullivan SD1008/12/1998 Flag of New York.svg New York City, United States 96-94, 96-94, 94-96.
Win25-17 Flag of the United States.svg Tyrone Booze UD1003/09/1998 Flag of Connecticut.svg Mashantucket, Connecticut, United States
Loss24-17 Flag of the United States.svg Hasim "The Rock" Rahman UD1231/01/1998 Flag of New Jersey.svg Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States USBA/IBF Intercontinental Heavyweight Titles. 109-119, 109-118, 109-118.
Win24-16 Flag of Tonga.svg Samson Po'uha TKO831/05/1997 Flag of New Jersey.svg Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States Referee stopped the bout at 2:53 of the eighth round.
Win23-16 Flag of the United States.svg Thomas "Top Dawg" Williams TKO803/04/1997 Flag of Idaho.svg Worley, Idaho, United States Referee stopped the bout at 2:38 of the eighth round.
Win22-16 Flag of Jamaica.svg Everton Davis UD1005/12/1996 Flag of Oklahoma.svg Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States
Win21-16 Flag of the United States.svg Bobby Harris UD1012/09/1996 Flag of New York.svg Melville, New York, United States 97-91, 96-94, 95-94.
Loss20-16 Flag of the United States.svg Danell "Doc" Nicholson TKO819/10/1995 Flag of Nevada.svg Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Loss20-15 Flag of Jamaica.svg Alex "The Destroyer" Stewart UD1008/08/1995 Flag of California.svg Coachella, California, United States 93-95, 91-97, 91-97.
Loss20-14 Flag of the United States.svg Jeremy "Half Man-Half Amazing" Williams RTD705/03/1995 Flag of California.svg Palm Springs, California, United States Ferguson could not answer the bell in round eight.
Loss20-13 Flag of the United States.svg Larry "Easton Assassin" Holmes UD1009/08/1994 Flag of Minnesota.svg Shakopee, Minnesota, United States 92-99, 94-97, 94-96.
Loss20-12 Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Frank Bruno TKO116/03/1994 Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Birmingham, West Midlands, United Kingdom
Loss20-11 Flag of the United States.svg "Merciless" Ray Mercer SD1019/11/1993 Flag of New Jersey.svg Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States 93-96, 93-96, 95-94.
Win20-10 Flag of the United States.svg Rocky Pepeli TKO922/07/1993 Flag of Mississippi.svg Biloxi, Mississippi, United States Referee stopped the bout at 1:30 of the ninth round.
Loss19-10 Flag of the United States.svg Riddick "Big Daddy" Bowe KO 222/05/1993 Flag of the United States.svg Washington, District of Columbia, United States WBA World Heavyweight Title. Ferguson knocked out at 0:17 of the second round.
Win19-9 Flag of the United States.svg "Merciless" Ray Mercer UD1006/02/1993 Flag of New York.svg New York City, New York, United States 96-94, 97-94, 99-91.
Loss18-9 Flag of the United States.svg Tony "TNT" Tubbs UD1024/11/1992 Flag of Michigan.svg Auburn Hills, Michigan, United States
Loss18-8 Flag of the United States.svg Michael "Dynamite" Dokes UD1028/07/1992 Flag of New Jersey.svg Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States 90-99, 91-98, 92-97.
Win18-7 Flag of the United States.svg Mike Robinson TKO605/06/1992 Flag of Pennsylvania.svg Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, United States
Loss17-7 Flag of the United States.svg Bruce "The Atlantic City Express" Seldon TKO519/01/1992 Flag of New Jersey.svg Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States IBF Intercontinental Heavyweight Title. Referee stopped the bout at 3:00 of the fifth round.
Loss17-6 Flag of the United States.svg Oliver "The Atomic Bull" McCall UD1008/08/1991 Flag of New Jersey.svg Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States 94-96, 94-96, 94-96.
Win17-5 Flag of the United States.svg Terry Armstrong TKO631/03/1990 Flag of Florida.svg Tampa, Florida, United States Referee stopped the bout at 1:19 of the sixth round.
Loss16-5 Flag of the United States.svg Orlin "The Juice" Norris UD1215/11/1988 Flag of California.svg San Diego, California, United States NABF Heavyweight Title.
Win16-4 Flag of the United States.svg John "Big Red" Morton UD1010/09/1988 Flag of North Carolina.svg Winston-Salem, North Carolina, United States
Win15-4 Flag of the United States.svg George Chaplin KO801/08/1987 Flag of Nevada.svg Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Chaplin knocked out at 1:52 of the eighth round.
Loss14-4 Flag of Sweden.svg Anders Eklund PTS817/10/1986 Flag of Denmark.svg Randers, Denmark
Loss14-3 Flag of the United States.svg James "Bonecrusher" Smith MD1007/06/1986 Flag of Bermuda.svg Hamilton, Bermuda 96-96, 94-98, 95-97.
Loss14-2 Flag of the United States.svg "Iron" Mike Tyson TKO616/02/1986 Flag of New York.svg Troy, New York, United States Referee stopped the bout at 1:19 of the sixth round.
Win14-1 Flag of the United States.svg Oscar Holman UD1011/01/1986 Flag of New Jersey.svg Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States 6-4, 6-0, 6-3.
Loss13-1 Flag of the United States.svg Carl "The Truth" Williams TKO1031/08/1985 Flag of New Jersey.svg Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States Referee stopped the bout at 0:37 of the tenth round.
Win13-0 Flag of the United States.svg Tony Anthony TKO1020/06/1985 Flag of New Jersey.svg Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States Referee stopped the bout at 2:55 of the tenth round.
Win12-0 Flag of the United States.svg James "Buster" Douglas MD1009/05/1985 Flag of New Jersey.svg Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States 5-5, 6-3, 7-2.
Win11-0 Flag of the United States.svg Richard Scott TKO427/03/1985 Flag of New Jersey.svg Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States Referee stopped the bout at 2:28 of the fourth round.
Win10-0 Flag of the United States.svg Oscar Holman UD813/12/1984 Flag of New Jersey.svg Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States 6-1, 6-2, 6-2.
Win9-0 Flag of the United States.svg Reggie Gross TKO320/09/1984 Flag of New Jersey.svg Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States Referee stopped the bout at 1:49 of the third round.
Win8-0 Flag of the United States.svg Kid Samson KO524/07/1984 Flag of Pennsylvania.svg Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Win7-0 Flag of the United States.svg Robert Hill TKO705/06/1984 Flag of Pennsylvania.svg Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Win6-0 Flag of the United States.svg Ernie Singleton TKO526/03/1984 Flag of New Jersey.svg Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States
Win5-0 Flag of the United States.svg "Smokin" Mike Perkins UD614/02/1984 Flag of New Jersey.svg Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States
Win4-0 Flag of the United States.svg "Grizzly" Joe Ballard KO408/10/1983 Flag of New Jersey.svg Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States
Win3-0 Flag of the United States.svg James Holmes TKO329/09/1983 Flag of New Jersey.svg Newark, New Jersey, United States
Win2-0 Eddie Cowart KO225/05/1983 Flag of Pennsylvania.svg Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Win1-0 Flag of the United States.svg Tony "The Tiger" Jackson KO112/01/1983 Flag of Pennsylvania.svg Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Related Research Articles

Lennox Lewis British-Canadian boxer

Lennox Claudius Lewis is a former professional boxer who competed from 1989 to 2003. He is a three-time world heavyweight champion, a two-time lineal champion, and remains the last heavyweight to hold the undisputed championship. Holding dual British and Canadian citizenship, Lewis represented Canada as an amateur at the 1988 Summer Olympics, winning a gold medal in the super-heavyweight division after defeating Riddick Bowe in the final.

Ossie Ocasio Puerto Rican boxer

Osvaldo "Ossie" Ocasio is a Puerto Rican former boxer who held the world cruiserweight championship. Nicknamed "Jaws", his peculiar nickname was the result of him accidentally biting another boxer during a sparring session.

Evander Holyfield American boxer

Evander Holyfield is an American former professional boxer who competed from 1984 to 2011. He reigned as the undisputed champion at cruiserweight in the late 1980s and at heavyweight in the early 1990s, and remains the only boxer in history to win the undisputed championship in two weight classes in the three belt era. Nicknamed "the Real Deal", Holyfield is the only four-time world heavyweight champion, having held the unified WBA, WBC, and IBF titles from 1990 to 1992, the WBA and IBF titles again from 1993 to 1994, the WBA title a third time from 1996 to 1999; the IBF title a third time from 1997 to 1999 and the WBA title for a fourth time from 2000 to 2001.

Andrew Golota Polish boxer

Andrzej Jan Gołota, best known as Andrew Golota, is a Polish former professional boxer who competed from 1992 to 2013. He challenged four times for a heavyweight world title, and as an amateur won a bronze medal in the heavyweight division at the 1988 Olympics. Despite his accomplishments and more than 40 professional wins, Golota is best known for twice being disqualified against Riddick Bowe for low blows in fights that he was winning.

Riddick Bowe American boxer

Riddick Lamont Bowe is a retired American professional boxer who competed between 1989 and 2008. He reigned as the undisputed world heavyweight champion in 1992, and as an amateur he won a silver medal in the super heavyweight division at the 1988 Summer Olympics.

Michael Dokes American boxer

Michael Marshall Dokes was an American professional boxer who competed from 1976 to 1997, and held the WBA heavyweight title from 1982 to 1983. As an amateur he won a silver medal in the heavyweight division at the 1975 Pan American Games.

Michael Dokes vs. Gerrie Coetzee Boxing competition

Michael Dokes vs. Gerrie Coetzee, billed as "The Buckeye Homecoming", was a professional boxing match that took place on September 23, 1983, at the Richfield Coliseum in Richfield Township, Ohio, United States for Dokes' WBA heavyweight title.

Bruce Seldon American boxer

Bruce Samuel Seldon is an American former professional boxer who competed from 1988 to 1996, and 2004 to 2009. He held the WBA heavyweight title from 1995 to 1996, most notably losing to Mike Tyson via knockout in his second defense.

Donovan "Razor" Ruddock is a Jamaican-Canadian former professional boxer who competed from 1982 to 2001, and in 2015. He is known for his two fights against Mike Tyson in 1991, and a fight against Lennox Lewis in 1992. Ruddock was also known for his exceptional punching power: one of the best examples of his left hand power was his knockout of former WBA heavyweight champion Michael Dokes in 1990. His favoured weapon at the ring proved to be a highly versatile half-hook, half-uppercut left-handed punch he called "The Smash," which accounted for the majority of his knockout wins, and also happened to be his major downside during his entire career, as he didn't throw a single right hand during most of knockout flurries, being a left-handed puncher fighting out of the orthodox stance.

As in the 1980s, the 1990s in boxing's popularity focused on all divisions. When 1980s legends Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns, as well as others retired, newer superstars filled the void: Pernell Whitaker, Julio César Chávez, in the early 1990s, Oscar De La Hoya, Félix Trinidad, Roy Jones Jr. and Floyd Mayweather, Jr. in the mid to late 1990s.

Mike Tyson vs. Evander Holyfield Boxing competition

Mike Tyson vs. Evander Holyfield, billed as Finally, was a professional boxing match fought between Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson for the World Boxing Association heavyweight championship on November 9, 1996 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Paradise, Nevada. The bout was Tyson's first defense of the WBA title that he had won from Bruce Seldon on September 7 of that year.

Evander Holyfield vs. Riddick Bowe Boxing competition

Evander Holyfield vs. Riddick Bowe was a professional boxing match that took place on November 13, 1992 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The fight was contested for the undisputed world heavyweight championship, which consisted of the WBA, WBC, IBF and Lineal championships.

Riddick Bowe vs. Evander Holyfield II Boxing competition

Riddick Bowe vs. Evander Holyfield II, billed as "Repeat or Revenge", was a professional boxing match that took place on November 6, 1993 for the WBA, IBF and Lineal Heavyweight championships.

Riddick Bowe vs. Evander Holyfield III Boxing competition

Riddick Bowe vs. Evander Holyfield III, billed as "The Final Chapter", was a professional boxing match contested on November 4, 1995. The non-title match marked the third and final fight in the Bowe–Holyfield trilogy.

Michael Moorer vs. George Foreman 1994 professional boxing match

Michael Moorer vs. George Foreman, billed as "One for the Ages", was a professional boxing match contested on November 5, 1994 for the WBA, IBF and Lineal Heavyweight championships.

Evander Holyfield vs. Lennox Lewis Boxing competition

Evander Holyfield vs. Lennox Lewis, billed as "Undisputed", was a professional boxing match contested on March 13, 1999 for the WBA, WBC, IBF and Lineal Heavyweight Championships. The result was a draw, specifically a split draw, which proved controversial.

Riddick Bowe vs. Michael Dokes Boxing competition

Riddick Bowe vs. Michael Dokes, billed as "The Homecoming", was a professional boxing match contested on February 6, 1993 for the WBA, IBF and Lineal heavyweight world championships. This was Bowe's first defense of the titles he had won from Evander Holyfield, while Dokes was trying to join Floyd Patterson, Muhammad Ali, and Tim Witherspoon as the only fighters to regain a piece of the heavyweight title after having lost it.

Riddick Bowe vs. Jesse Ferguson Boxing competition

Riddick Bowe vs. Jesse Ferguson, billed as "The Heavyweight Debate", was a professional boxing match contested on May 22, 1993, for the WBA and Lineal Heavyweight championships. The fight took place in RFK Stadium in Washington, DC, was Bowe's second defense of the title he had won from Evander Holyfield in November 1992, and was the main event of a card that included a fight between Roy Jones, Jr. and Bernard Hopkins for the vacant IBF middleweight championship, which Jones won.

Riddick Bowe vs. Andrew Golota Boxing competition

Riddick Bowe vs. Andrew Golota, billed as "Big Daddy's Home", was a professional boxing match contested on July 11, 1996. The fight was held at Madison Square Garden in New York City and was televised as part of an HBO World Championship Boxing card.

Lennox Lewis vs. Oliver McCall Boxing competition

Lennox Lewis vs. Oliver McCall, billed "Whose Moment of Glory", was a professional boxing match contested on September 24, 1994 for the WBC Heavyweight Championship.

References