R.I.P Greg Page

by James Slater - In sad news, it has today been reported that Greg Page, once a claimant of a portion of the world heavyweight title, has passed away at the age of just 50. Page suffered serious brain injuries in his ill-fated March 2001 fight with the much younger Dale Crowe, and it was due to complications brought on by these ghastly injuries that the former champ died.

Apparently, the former champ's wife found him in his bed early Monday morning. According to The Associated Press, Mrs. Page said her husband was, "in a better place now.."

Stopped in the 10th round by the 24-year-old Crowe, Page, then aged 42, lapsed into a coma and remained in the condition for almost a full week. Then, in post-fight therapy designed to bring back some semblance of his former health, Greg suffered a stroke, leaving him paralysed down his left side and in a wheelchair. Though this is hardly the time for words of wisdom or of criticism, Page was a classic example of what can happen to an ageing boxer if he continues fighting when past his prime.

A pro since February of 1979, the Louisville native who captured the National Golden Gloves heavyweight title at the age of just 20 and who sparred with the great Muhammad Ali in his formative years, won his first nineteen pro bouts. Getting decent wins over Leroy Boone, Alfredo Evangelista and Jimmy Young, the 22-year-old then lost on points against Trevor Berbick in June of 1982.

Bouncing back with good wins, over James Tillis and Renaldo Snipes most notably, Page then boxed Tim Witherspoon for the vacant WBC heavyweight crown. Page lost a close majority verdict in March of 1983. Page's career looked to be heading further and permanently downhill soon afterwards, when he lost his next fight - on points to David Bey. However, less than four months after losing to Bey Page won the WBA heavyweight title. Stopping South Africa's Gerrie Coetzee in the 8th round in Sun City, the 26-year-old had made it to the top. Sadly, his reign did not last very long at all.

Beaten in his very next fight - on points over 15 rounds by Tony Tubbs - Page also lost four of his next eight. James Douglas, Joe Bugner and Orlin Norris all out-scored him, while in amongst these losses was Greg's first stoppage defeat; Mark Wills TKO'ing him in the 9th round in June of 1986. A few small wins followed, before Page was stopped once again by Wills in a May 1990 return (TKO by 6). It was clear the gifted boxer who the critics always said had no real desire to train as hard as he could, had seen his glory days go by.

Boxing in well into the 1990s, Page became a high class trail horse. Losing to guys like "Razor" Ruddock (TKO by 8), Francesco Damiani (L PTS 10) and Bruce Seldon (TKO by 9), the former champ saw his loss column swell. Refusing to give up, Page, by now aged almost 38, began a comeback in 1996. Racking up 16 wins and a draw, all against no-names, Page then met the up-and-coming Monte Barrett in October of 1998 - losing a clear decision. A stoppage win over fellow veteran and former rival Witherspoon came in June of 1999, before Page suffered defeats at the hands of Jorge Luis Gonzalez (LU 10), Robert Davis (TKO by 8) and then Crowe; this final fight proving to have dire consequences for the 42-year-old.

A good fighter who could have and should have gone much further than he did, Page nonetheless was once a world heavyweight champion.

Greg held the WBA title from December of 1984 to April of 1985. His final record reads 58-17-1(48). Page was only stopped six times in his twenty-two year pro career.

Article posted on 27.04.2009

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