Inducted on November 8, 2001
Jimmy Young was born on November 14, 1948. He grew up boxing in the Philadelphia gyms and he learned his trade well. He made is professional debut in June of 1969, winning a four round decision over Jim Gilmore in San Diego.
In his first 11 pro bouts, he lost four times, including a 10- rounder to N.J. Hall of Famer Randy Neumann, and a knockout at the hands of one of the hardest hitters of any era, Ernie Shavers. For the next several years, he would not lose again, beating such top contenders as Richard Dunn, Jose Luis Garcia, hard hitting Ron Lyle, Jose Roman and a draw against Shavers.
On April 30, 1976, he fought Muhammad Ali for the heavyweight championship of the world. He was a big underdog, but after 15 rounds almost everyone had Young winning going away. Everyone but the three judges. Ali came away still holding onto the title.
Jimmy fought and won three more bouts in 1976, including a 12 round win over Ron Lyle once again. His first bout in 1977 was against the former heavyweight champion of the world, Big George Foreman. Jimmy came into the bout as a big underdog again, as Foreman had a record of 45-1 with 42 KOs, with his only loss coming at the hands of Ali. Not only did Young outbox Foreman for 12 rounds, leaving no doubt who was the winner, but Foreman wouldn’t box again for 10 years.
After beating N.J. Hall of Famer Jodie Ballard, he would lose a close 15 round decision to Ken Norton in Las Vegas on November 5, 1977. Young would box another 10 years, but he would never again reach star status. He would still box some of the top heavyweights, including Ossie Ocasio twice, Michael Dokes, Gerry Cooney, Greg Page, Tony Tubbs and Tony Tucker.
Trainers: Slim Perkins, George Benton
- Jimmy Young was a top-rated heavyweight contender during the 1970s.
- Early in his career, Young was a sparring partner for Joe Frazier, Ken Norton and Jerry Quarry.
- Defeated Ron Lyle twice, winning by a 10-round unanimous decision in 1975 and by a 12-round unanimous decision in 1976.
- Fought Muhammad Ali for the World Heavyweight Championship on April 30, 1976. Ali won by a disputed 15-round unanimous decision. The Associated Press had Young winning by three points.
- Defeated heavily favored George Foreman by a 12-round unanimous decision on March 17, 1977. It was named Fight of the Year by The Ring Magazine.
- Lost to Ken Norton by a 15-round split decision on November 5, 1977. The fight was sanctioned by the World Boxing Council as a title eliminator. After the fight, referee Carlos Padilla said, “If I had had a vote, I would have voted for Young.”
- After losing to Norton, Young went 3-4 over the next three years. Young went 5-0 in 1981 and was named the Comeback of the Year fighter by The Ring Magazine.
- Named the 37th greatest heavyweight of all-time by The Ring Magazine in 1998.
- On February 20, 2005, Young died of heart disease after a six-day hospitalization.
- “The Champ Looked Like A Chump” By Mark Kram, Sports Illustrated, May 10, 1976
- “Jeemy Young! Jeemy Young! Jeemy Young!” By Pat Putnam, Sports Illustrated, March 28, 1977
- “Win Some, Lose Some, Split the Rest” By Pat Putnam, Sports Illustrated, November 14, 1977
Boxing Record: click