Tony Tucker

Last updated

Tony Tucker
Statistics
Real nameTony Craig Tucker
Nickname(s)TNT
Weight(s)
Height6 ft 3 in (191 cm)
Reach82 in (208 cm)
NationalityAmerican
Born (1958-12-27) December 27, 1958 (age 62)
Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S.
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights65
Wins57
Wins by KO47
Losses7
No contests1
Medal record
Men's amateur boxing
Representing Flag of the United States.svg  United States
Pan American Games
Gold medal icon (G initial).svg 1979 San Juan Light heavyweight
World Cup
Gold medal icon (G initial).svg 1979 New York Light heavyweight

Tony Craig Tucker (born December 27, 1958) is an American former professional boxer who competed from 1980 to 1998. He won the IBF heavyweight title in 1987, and was the shortest-reigning world heavyweight champion at just 64 days. In an interview with Barry Tompkins, he referred to himself as the "invisible champion," due to the press and general public largely neglecting him. [1] He is best known for giving Mike Tyson in his prime a relatively close fight, in which he, in words of Larry Merchant, "rocked Tyson in the first round," [1] but Mike managed to withstand pressure and won a unanimous decision. As an amateur, he won the 1979 United States national championships, the 1979 World Cup, and a gold medal at the 1979 Pan American Games, all in the light heavyweight division.

Contents

Amateur career

Tony Tucker became a boxer under influence of his father Bob Tucker, also a former amateur boxer, who became his trainer and manager, put all his wealth into the development of his son's boxing career. Tony fought out of Grand Rapids, Michigan, competing almost entire his amateur career in the light heavyweight division with his billed weight at the 1979 Pan American Games exactly matching the weight limit of the division (178 lbs). [2]

Robert Surkein, the national boxing chairman for the Amateur Athletic Union, said of Tucker: “Believe me, he's better than Leon Spinks. Spinks couldn't hold this kid's gloves at a comparable stage.” [3] Rollie Schwartz, past national chairman of the AAU Boxing Commission, said of Tucker prior to the Olympics, "Tucker is a combination boxer and puncher, much akin to Joe Louis. He comes right at you. I'd take him tomorrow over the two so-called light Heavyweight champs." [4]

Highlights

International Duals

1980 Olympics

Since 1979 Tony Tucker anticipated participating in the Moscow Olympics. [5] [6] Tucker was an alternate for the United States Olympic Team for the 1980 Summer Olympics (Lee Roy Murphy qualified as the prime.) President Jimmy Carter ordered to boycott the Olympics, which led the U.S. Team to cancel its participation in the Olympics, instead it embarked on a series of exhibitions in Europe. On March 14, 1980, en route to Poland, their plane Polish Airlines IL-62 crashed near Warsaw, with the U.S. boxing team aboard, consisting of 22 boxers, there were no survivors. Several people, including Tony Tucker, missed the flight and stayed in the United States due to various reasons, in Tucker's case an injury sustained just prior to the accident. At that point Tucker became religious, believing that God spared his life for a purpose, in order for him to become the heavyweight champion of the world. Shortly thereafter Tucker turned pro. [7] [1] [8]

Tucker finished his amateur career having 121 fights under his belt, with a record of 115–6. [9] [10]

Professional career

After turning pro in 1980, Tucker's early fights were often shown on NBC, as part of a collection known as "Tomorrow's Champions".

Tucker's progress in the professional ranks was slow. He was injury prone, and he changed managers and trainers several times. Eventually his father Bob Tucker performed both roles. After enjoying a high-profile upon his professional debut, Tucker spent the majority of the 1980s boxing in off-TV bouts. In addition, he injured his knee in a bout against Danny Sutton, which caused him to miss a little over a year.

In June 1984, he scored a win by knocking out Eddie "The Animal" Lopez in 9 rounds on the undercard of the Tommy Hearns Roberto Durán fight. It was the first time Lopez had ever been knocked down. In September 1984, he followed it up by outpointing Jimmy Young .

In September 1986, Tucker finally landed a big fight, against 242 lb James "Broad-Axe" Broad, for the USBA belt and a world title eliminator. Tucker won by unanimous decision.

IBF heavyweight champion

Home Box Office and Don King Productions orchestrated a heavyweight unification series for 1987, planning among its bouts a match between reigning IBF champion Michael Spinks and Tucker. Spinks refused to face Tucker, opting instead for a more lucrative bout with Gerry Cooney. The IBF withdrew its championship recognition of Spinks on February 19, mandating that Tucker (as the IBF's number 1-ranked contender) face its number 2 contender, Buster Douglas. Tucker won the bout, and the vacant IBF crown, via 10th-round technical knockout.

Tucker vs. Tyson

Tucker, as the winner of the IBF title, was obliged to immediately defend his title in a unification bout with WBA and WBC champion Mike Tyson, in what would be the tournament final, where Tucker was a 10-to-1 underdog. [1] Before Tucker was managed by Emmanuel Steward, who received a negotiated percent of each payday. By that time for that same purpose a joint venture named Tucker Inc. was formed by his promoters Cedric Kushner (18% of total share), and Josephine Abercrombie with Jeff Levine (also 18%), partnering with Dennis Rappaport and Alan Kornberg (13%,) and lastly Emmanuel Steward (6%). His father Bob Tucker also secured a share in Tucker Inc. (12%) [11]

Before the fight versus Tyson, Tucker has been on an eight-year-long winning streak, his last defeat was in 1979, while competing in amateurs.

Despite having a broken right hand, Tucker faced Tyson on August 1, 1987. [12] Tyson defeated Tucker by unanimous decision to unify the three championship titles, in the process giving Tucker the distinction of having the shortest championship reign in the history of the Heavyweight division (64 days). According to the HBO Punch Statistics, Tucker landed 174 of 452 punches thrown, while Tyson landed 216 of 412, and in fact outjabbed Tucker, who had more than a 10-inch reach advantage (81½" to 71"). [1]

The best praise for Tucker's performance at the ring came from one of the HBO hosts, and one of the greatest boxers of all time pound-for-pound, Sugar Ray Leonard, who said that: "What Tucker displayed tonight was the fact that he is a non-conformist. He did what a lot of us thought he couldn't do, and that's why I respect him so much, because he boxed, he clinched, he was very strategic, very tactical, very intelligent fighter." [1]

Coincidentally, eight years later this exact scenario would unfold to give Tucker another title shot, as the WBA would withdraw its championship recognition of George Foreman on March 4, 1995 after Foreman refused to face Tucker (who was its designated #1 contender). Unlike the 1987 scenario, this time Tucker would not earn a championship, as he would lose the match mandated by the WBA, against #2-ranked contender Bruce Seldon.

Comeback

Tucker returned to boxing in 1989, and by 1992 was back in Don King's stable. He won the NABF belt with a split decision over the highly ranked Orlin Norris, and successfully defended it against future world champion Oliver McCall, winning another 12-round decision. He finished 1992 with a 6th-round TKO of Frankie Swindell and set himself up for another world title shot.

By 1993, Tucker had run his record up to 48–1 and in May of that year he challenged Lennox Lewis for the WBC world heavyweight title. Lewis won a 12-round unanimous decision, knocking down Tucker twice (for a first time in his career.) It was the first time in 34-year-old Tucker's career that he had been off his feet.

"They tried to force me to fight Tony Tucker. And I remember looking at Tony Tucker, and saying, 'Mama didn't raise no fools. I'm not fighting him.' And they took the titles. Some people I'm not gonna fight. That's the good reason. I didn't want to fight him. Too tough."

George Foreman, on his refusal to fight Tucker. [13]

In 1995, George Foreman, who beat Michael Moorer in November 1994 to become the oldest heavyweight champion in history, refused to defend his WBA world heavyweight title against Tucker, choosing to fight German Axel Schulz. For the noncompliance with the rules the WBA officials stripped Foreman of the title. Tucker and Bruce Seldon fought for the vacant WBA belt in April 1995. Seldon won by TKO after 7 rounds when doctors stopped the fight due to Tucker's eye closing shut.

Tucker lost his shot at a rematch when later that year he was outpointed by a newly signed Don King heavyweight, British-Nigerian boxer Henry Akinwande, over ten rounds.

In 1996 he was outpointed by old rival Orlin Norris. He scored two low-key wins in California, and in 1997 traveled to the U.K. to challenge Herbie Hide for the vacant WBO title. Tucker was dropped three times and knocked out in round 2.

In 1998 Tucker challenged John Ruiz for his NABF belt. Despite a big 6th round where he had Ruiz in trouble, Tucker was eventually stopped in the 11th round.

He came back in May to knock out journeyman Billy Wright in one round, but later had his license revoked due to medical concerns about Tucker's vision.

Professional boxing record

Professional record summary
65 fights57 wins7 losses
By knockout473
By decision104
No contests1
No.ResultRecordOpponentTypeRound, timeDateLocationNotes
65Win57–7 (1) Flag of the United States.svg Billy Wright KO1 (10), 2:08May 7, 1998 Flag of the United States.svg Sam's Town Hotel & Casino, Tunica, Mississippi, U.S.
64Loss56–7 (1) Flag of the United States.svg John Ruiz TKO11 (12), 0:58Jan 31, 1998 Flag of the United States.svg Ice Palace, Tampa, Florida, U.S.For NABF heavyweight title
63Win56–6 (1) Flag of the United States.svg Jerry HaynesTKO3 (10)Dec 16, 1997 Flag of the United States.svg Music City Mix Factory, Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
62Win55–6 (1) Flag of the United States.svg Abdul MuhayminUD10Nov 18, 1997 Flag of the United States.svg Music City Mix Factory, Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
61Loss54–6 (1) Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Herbie Hide TKO2 (12), 2:45Jun 28, 1997 Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Sports Village, Norwich, EnglandFor vacant WBO heavyweight title
60Win54–5 (1) Flag of the United States.svg Tyrone CampbellKO3 (10), 2:16Dec 16, 1996 Flag of the United States.svg Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, Indio, California, U.S.
59Win53–5 (1) Flag of the United States.svg David DixonKO1 (12), 2:24Jun 29, 1996 Flag of the United States.svg Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, Indio, California, U.S.For vacant NABF heavyweight title
58Loss52–5 (1) Flag of the United States.svg Orlin Norris MD10Feb 24, 1996 Flag of the United States.svg Coliseum, Richmond, Virginia, U.S.
57Loss52–4 (1) Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Henry Akinwande UD10Dec 16, 1995 Flag of the United States.svg CoreStates Spectrum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
56Loss52–3 (1) Flag of the United States.svg Bruce Seldon RTD7 (12), 3:00 Apr 8, 1995 Flag of the United States.svg Caesars Palace, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.For vacant WBA heavyweight title
55Win52–2 (1) Flag of the United States.svg Dan MurphyTKO3Dec 10, 1994 Flag of Mexico.svg Estadio de Béisbol, Monterrey, Mexico
54Win51–2 (1) Flag of the United States.svg Cecil CoffeeTKO2 (10)Jul 2, 1994 Flag of the United States.svg The Mirage, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
53Win50–2 (1) Flag of the United States.svg George StephensTKO1 (10)Feb 19, 1994 Flag of the United States.svg Coliseum, Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S.
52Win49–2 (1) Flag of the United States.svg David GravesTKO2Dec 18, 1993 Flag of Mexico.svg Estadio Cuauhtémoc, Puebla City, Mexico
51Loss48–2 (1) Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Lennox Lewis UD12 May 8, 1993 Flag of the United States.svg Thomas & Mack Center, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.For WBC heavyweight title
50Win48–1 (1) Flag of the United States.svg Frankie SwindellRTD6 (10), 3:00Dec 13, 1992 Flag of the United States.svg The Mirage, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
49Win47–1 (1) Flag of the United States.svg Paul PoirierTKO4 (10)Nov 7, 1992 Flag of the United States.svg Caesars Tahoe, Stateline, Nevada, U.S.
48Win46–1 (1) Flag of the United States.svg Everett MartinPTS10Sep 12, 1992 Flag of the United States.svg Thomas & Mack Center, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
47Win45–1 (1) Flag of the United States.svg Oliver McCall SD10Jun 26, 1992 Flag of the United States.svg CSU Convocation Center, Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.Retained NABF heavyweight title
46Win44–1 (1) Flag of the United States.svg Jesus ContrerasTKO6 (10), 1:27Apr 22, 1992 Flag of the United States.svg Brendan Byrne Arena, East Rutherford, New Jersey, U.S.
45Win43–1 (1) Flag of the United States.svg Mike FaulknerKO2Apr 10, 1992 Flag of Mexico.svg Toreo de Cuatro Caminos, Mexico City, Mexico
44Win42–1 (1) Flag of the United States.svg Kimmuel OdumTKO2 (10), 1:40Feb 15, 1992 Flag of the United States.svg The Mirage, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
43Win41–1 (1) Flag of the United States.svg Orlin Norris SD12Jun 3, 1991 Flag of the United States.svg Caesars Palace, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.Won NABF heavyweight title
42Win40–1 (1) Flag of the United States.svg James Ray ThomasKO1 (10), 1:43Apr 29, 1991 Flag of the United States.svg Great Western Forum, Inglewood, California, U.S.
41Win39–1 (1) Flag of the United States.svg Lionel WashingtonKO1 (12), 1:11Jan 28, 1991 Flag of the United States.svg Great Western Forum, Inglewood, California, U.S.Won California State heavyweight title
40Win38–1 (1) Flag of the United States.svg Mike RouseTKO5 (10), 2:27Jul 19, 1990 Flag of the United States.svg Kingdome, Seattle, Washington, U.S.
39Win37–1 (1) Flag of the United States.svg Mike EvansUD10Mar 8, 1990 Flag of the United States.svg Great Western Forum, Inglewood, California, U.S.
38Win36–1 (1) Flag of the United States.svg Calvin JonesKO5 (10), 2:09Jan 8, 1990 Flag of the United States.svg Great Western Forum, Inglewood, California, U.S.
37Win35–1 (1) Flag of the United States.svg Dino HomseyKO3 (10), 1:37Dec 12, 1989 Flag of the United States.svg Memorial Sports Arena, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
36Loss34–1 (1) Flag of the United States.svg Mike Tyson UD12 Aug 1, 1987 Flag of the United States.svg Las Vegas Hilton, Winchester, Nevada, U.S.Lost IBF heavyweight title;
For WBA and WBC heavyweight titles
35Win34–0 (1) Flag of the United States.svg Buster Douglas TKO10 (15), 1:36 May 30, 1987 Flag of the United States.svg Las Vegas Hilton, Winchester, Nevada, U.S.Won vacant IBF heavyweight title
34Win33–0 (1) Flag of the United States.svg James Broad UD12Sep 26, 1986 Flag of the United States.svg Convention Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.Won vacant USBA heavyweight title
33Win32–0 (1) Flag of the United States.svg Otis BatesKO2Aug 7, 1986 Flag of the United States.svg Houston, Texas, U.S.
32Win31–0 (1) Flag of the United States.svg Eddie RichardsonKO4 (10)Jul 10, 1986 Flag of the United States.svg Houston, Texas, U.S.
31Win30–0 (1) Flag of the United States.svg Eddie RichardsonUD10Feb 27, 1986 Flag of the United States.svg Cobo Arena, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
30Win29–0 (1) Flag of the United States.svg David Jaco TKO3Oct 19, 1985 Flag of Monaco.svg Stade Louis II, Monte Carlo, Monaco
29Win28–0 (1) Flag of the United States.svg Bobby CrabtreeTKO4 (10)Jun 28, 1985 Flag of the United States.svg Hammond, Indiana, U.S.
28Win27–0 (1) Flag of the United States.svg Danny SuttonUD10Nov 2, 1984 Flag of the United States.svg Congress Plaza Hotel, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
27Win26–0 (1) Flag of the United States.svg O. T. DavisKO1 (10), 1:58Nov 2, 1984 Flag of the United States.svg Cobo Arena, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
26Win25–0 (1) Flag of the United States.svg Jimmy Young UD10Sep 22, 1984 Flag of the United States.svg Gerald R. Ford Fieldhouse, Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S.
25Win24–0 (1) Flag of the United States.svg Eddie Lopez KO9 (10), 1:26Jun 15, 1984 Flag of the United States.svg Caesars Palace, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
24Win23–0 (1) Flag of the United States.svg Dave JohnsonTKO2 (10), 1:16May 9, 1984 Flag of the United States.svg Bismarck Hotel, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
23Win22–0 (1) Flag of the United States.svg Walter SantemoreTKO1, 2:29Apr 19, 1984 Flag of the United States.svg Cobo Hall, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
22Win21–0 (1) Flag of the United States.svg Sam JeterKO1 (10), 1:29Mar 15, 1984 Flag of the United States.svg Congress Plaza Hotel, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
21Win20–0 (1) Flag of the United States.svg Larry GivensKO4 (10), 2:30Feb 24, 1984 Flag of the United States.svg Congress Plaza Hotel, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
20Win19–0 (1) Flag of the United States.svg James DixonTKO6 (10), 2:58Dec 20, 1983 Flag of the United States.svg Congress Plaza Hotel, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
19Win18–0 (1) Flag of the United States.svg Lynwood JonesKO5 (10), 2:12Dec 1, 1983 Flag of the United States.svg Da Vinci Manor, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
18Win17–0 (1) Flag of the United States.svg James HollyTKO1 (4)Nov 7, 1983 Flag of the United States.svg Da Vinci Manor, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
17NC16–0 (1) Flag of the United States.svg Danny SuttonTKO3 (10)Aug 12, 1982 Flag of the United States.svg Hyatt Regency, Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.Originally a TKO win for Sutton after Tucker was unable to continue from an accidental clash of knees, later ruled an NC
16Win16–0 Flag of the United States.svg Richard CadeTKO7Jul 8, 1982 Flag of the United States.svg Sands, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
15Win15–0 Flag of Mexico.svg Lupe GuerraTKO2, 1:36Jun 30, 1982 Flag of the United States.svg War Memorial Arena, Syracuse, New York, U.S.
14Win14–0 Flag of the United States.svg James DixonPTS8Jun 15, 1982 Flag of the United States.svg Tropicana, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
13Win13–0 Flag of the United States.svg Charles AtlasTKO1 (10), 2:05Jun 5, 1982 Flag of the United States.svg War Memorial Arena, Syracuse, New York, U.S.
12Win12–0 Flag of the United States.svg Grady DanielsTKO5May 18, 1982 Flag of the United States.svg Tropicana, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
11Win11–0 Flag of the United States.svg Frank FarmerKO1Oct 17, 1981 Flag of the United States.svg Traverse City, Michigan, U.S.
10Win10–0 Flag of the United States.svg Harvey SteichenTKO3 (8), 0:50Sep 16, 1981 Flag of the United States.svg Caesars Palace, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
9Win9–0 Flag of the United States.svg Jerry HunterKO1Aug 22, 1981 Flag of the United States.svg Glacier Arena, Traverse City, Michigan, U.S.
8Win8–0 Flag of the United States.svg Chip TylerTKO7 (8)Apr 30, 1981 Flag of the United States.svg Hacienda Resort Hotel and Casino, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
7Win7–0 Flag of the United States.svg Al JonesTKO1 (10)Apr 9, 1981 Flag of the United States.svg Cobo Hall, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
6Win6–0 Flag of the United States.svg Robert EvansTKO6 (6)Feb 23, 1981 Flag of the United States.svg Convention Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
5Win5–0 Flag of the United States.svg Willie KentsKO1 (6)Jan 29, 1981 Flag of the United States.svg Cobo Hall, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
4Win4–0 Flag of the United States.svg Victor RodriguezTKO2 (6), 2:17Jan 16, 1981 Flag of the United States.svg HemisFair Arena, San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
3Win3–0 Flag of the United States.svg Max SmithKO5 (6)Dec 11, 1980 Flag of the United States.svg International Amphitheatre, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
2Win2–0 Flag of the United States.svg Jesse ClarkKO1 (6), 2:04Dec 2, 1980 Flag of the United States.svg Sports Arena, Toledo, Ohio, U.S.
1Win1–0 Flag of the United States.svg Chuck GardnerKO3 (6), 2:58Nov 1, 1980 Flag of the United States.svg Caesars Tahoe, Stateline, Nevada, U.S.Professional debut

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Mike Tyson vs Tony Tucker 31st of 58 - Aug. 1987 "The Ultimate"
  2. Felt Forum Features Cup Boxing Tonight. New York Times, October 11, 1979.
  3. American Boxers Striking Gold. New York Times, July 16, 1979.
  4. Schwartz: Sugar Ray Will Feast on Duran by Pat Rushton, Citizens' Voice, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, May 3, 1980, p. 29.
  5. U.S. Athletes Look to Moscow: Optimism but Apprehension. New York Times, August 13, 1979.
  6. Amateur boxing strong enough to survive boycott by Ed Schuyler (Associated Press), The Philadelphia Inquirer, May 21, 1980, p. 25.
  7. A Shaken Tony Tucker Thanks God For His Life.
  8. The Dead Boxers by Ronnie Shields, Elyria Chronicle Telegram, March 15, 1980, p. 3.
  9. Tony Tucker Amateur Record at the BoxingRecords. Last updated : March 1, 2006.
  10. Unbeaten Tucker is 10-1 underdog, Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph, July 31, 1987, p. 26.
  11. A Ringside Affair: Boxing’s Last Golden Age, p. 110.
  12. Gustkey, Earl (January 5, 1990). "For One Moment, Tucker Had It All : Boxing: He came closest to beating Tyson in 1987 and now yearns for another shot at title.". Los Angeles Times . tronc. Retrieved December 29, 2016.
  13. George Foreman | Full Address and Q&A (13 July 2016), Oxford Union.
Sporting positions
Amateur boxing titles
Previous:
Elmer Martin
U.S. light heavyweight champion
1979
Next:
Jeff Lampkin
Regional boxing titles
Vacant
Title last held by
Trevor Berbick
USBA heavyweight champion
September 26, 1986 – May 30, 1987
Won IBF title
Vacant
Title next held by
Carl Williams
Preceded by
Lionel Washington
California State heavyweight champion
January 28, 1991 – February 1993
Vacated
Vacant
Title next held by
Lionel Butler
Preceded by
Orlin Norris
NABF heavyweight champion
June 3, 1991 – December 1992
Vacated
Vacant
Title next held by
Alex García
Vacant
Title last held by
Alexander Zolkin
NABF heavyweight champion
June 29, 1996 – December 1996
Vacated
Vacant
Title next held by
John Ruiz
World boxing titles
Vacant
Title last held by
Michael Spinks
IBF heavyweight champion
May 30, 1987 – August 1, 1987
Succeeded by
Mike Tyson
Records
Preceded by
James Smith
86 days
Shortest world heavyweight title reign
64 days

May 30, 1987 – August 1, 1987
Incumbent