Inducted on November 9, 2000
My boxing career began at the age of 23 in the amateur field for Rev. Ray Martin’s PABA Third Ward, in Houston, Texas. I won the Golden Gloves in 1973. I then met Bill Watkins, the father of lightweight contender Termite Watkins. I began my professional career in 1974. Bill Watkins was my manager. My trainer at the time was Al Potato Pie Bolden, a former boxer. In 1975, I was a sparring partner for the Lightheavyweight Champion of the World Bob Foster. After winning my fisrt 19 pro bouts (19-0, 17 KO’s), Ring Magazine rated me “Prospect of the Year” in 1975. In 1976, after beating Rodney Bobbick, who was managed by Angelo Dundee, I became ranked #8 in the world. In 1977, in Hawaii, I fought Pedro Lovell, a heavyweight contender. It was during this time that I met Don King. He introduced me to Larry Holmes, who became my sparring partner. Don King bought my contract and became my promoter, and Richard Giachetti became my manager and trainer. In 1978, I was a sparring partner for Muhammad Ali.
During this time, I also fought George Foreman, Jimmy Young and Mike Weaver. When Larry Holmes became heavyweight champion in 1978, I became one of his sparring partner. I often fought on the same card. Also, in 1978, I fought the number one contender for the heavyweight division, Jimmy Young. During the years from 1978 to 1982, in addition to regular boxing bouts, I sparred with George Foreman, Saad Muhamed, Mustafa Muhamed, Ron Lyle and Michael Dokes. In 1984, I became a boxing manager and trainer.
Boxing Record: Jody Ballard