Everett 'Big Foot' Martin - He Was As Tough As They Come!

martin13.02.08 - by James Slater: In recent heavyweight boxing history there is one fighter that stands out as one of the toughest, most durable and most hard-headed big men of the last 20 years or so. His name is Everett Martin; you will probably remember him best via his highly original nickname of 'Big Foot.' During a career that began way back in 1984, and finally finished in 2001, Martin, who at one time fought as low as 167 pounds, boxed no fewer than 16 heavyweight world champions. 'Big Foot' even defeated one of them, too. It was as a tough-as-nails trial horse that Everett is best known, however.

Turning pro in August of 1984, with a 1st round KO win over one Tony Garner, Martin, from Houston, Texas, would go unbeaten in his next five bouts. Less than a year later, in losing his first fight, to a guy named Isak Sakkie Enslin, in South Africa, Martin pretty rapidly got used to coming up short - almost always on points.. Still, Martin was a talented and capable fighter, and now and again he would get a noteworthy win. This occurred for the first time at anything close to top level in 1988, when 'Big Foot' trampled over 'Smokin'' Bert Cooper (who was then 19-2) on his way to a ten round points victory. Martin picked up a well deserved unanimous decision that night in Atlantic city, N.J, and after having lost a further four fights following the Enslin setback, this was a much needed boost to his career. Sadly, Martin fell well and truly into journeyman/trail horse mode immediately after his good win.

Losing his next nine, four inside schedule, 'Big Foot's' vocation was set; he was to be a capable and test worthy opponent for any heavyweight out there, but a mere opponent nonetheless. Mostly, Martin took guys the full distance, but occasionally, going back to his first stoppage loss (to the 10-0 Tony Willis) in April of '87, Martin was either KO'd or TKO'd. This didn't happen often, however. Indeed, from an incredible career total of 60 pro fights, plenty of them against top name heavyweights, Martin was only stopped 12 times. Without a doubt, 'Big Foot' was one tough guy. Some of the big hitters that failed to fell him? How about this for an impressive list; Dwight Muhammad Qawi, George Foreman, Gary Mason, Michael Moorer, Larry Holmes, Herbie Hide, Wladimir Klitschko (in the first of two fights) and Serguei Lyakhovich all share the distinction of being taken the distance by 5'11' Martin.

Even better for Martin, though, were his ever more sparse, but still occasional, touches of at least partial success. Showing how it was unwise for any fighter to take him too lightly, Martin decked the unbeaten and highly touted Michael Moorer, in an early round of their March 1992 meeting. Even sweeter for Martin, though, was his shock win that same year. 'Terrible' Tim Witherspoon, on a night when he looked nothing short of terrible, was unlucky enough to have been in poor condition and to have taken Martin lightly. On the evening of July 21st, 1992, Everett scored what was arguably his career-best win. A split decision victory over the out of shape Witherspoon marked 'Big Foot's' first win since the upset of Cooper, some four years ago. Once again, however, Martin failed to get any momentum going.

Creeping into the world ratings due to his win over 'Terrible Tim,' Martin was unable to keep from losing in all but two of his next 27 fights. Wins over Dion Burgess and Derrick Roddy were sandwiched in-between losses to men named Tucker, Hide, Tubbs and Brewster. In fact, from his points win over Roddy, in 1997, until his final fight, against Ruslan Chagaev, in 2001, 'Big Foot' only exited a boxing ring as a clear loser. Also, Martin, by now aged in his mid 30s, was getting stopped more often - with his last couple of bouts ending inside the distance. It was always only quality men that stopped him, with current champ Chagaev being the very last.

Amazingly, considering the quality he faced, Martin only ever contested two minor titles in his entire boxing career. More disappointingly, Everett failed to win either. Boxing for the Texas State light heavyweight title, against Vincent Boulware, in 1987, Everett was out pointed over 12 rounds and while fighting for the vacant WBF heavyweight strap, against Joe Hipp, some twelve years later, 'Big Foot' was once again to lose a decision.

In all, Martin boxed in eight different countries, along with a number of different states across the U.S. It's a true shame that in all of these fights Martin was unable to win at least a minor title belt. 'Big Foot' had ability, heart, a fearless attitude and a superb chin. It seems anyone else with such attributes - and a good many fighter with far less in their arsenal - would have surely won something to display proudly in the trophy cabinet. Everett Martin, though he faced an admirably high number of all-time greats, was unlucky enough to have missed out on capturing any silver wear as a professional boxer.

But ask guys like Riddick Bowe, who could only stop Martin on cuts, or Michael Moorer, who had to climb off the deck to beat him, or Larry Holmes, who said after his fight with Martin that his hands were never more sore from hitting an opponent with such a rock for a head, or George Foreman, who was taken the distance for the very first time in his big hitting comeback, who was tougher? - Martin, or many other fighters who picked up spurious belts in the ring - and they will tell you, the guy with the curious nickname.

Everett 'Big Foot' Martin, final record: 20-39-1(9). Fought professionally from August 1984 to September of 2001. Holds wins over Tim Witherspoon and Bert Cooper.

One of the toughest men to have ever had the guts to climb through the ropes!

Article posted on 14.02.2008

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