Former Thrill-A-Minute Heavyweight Contender Derrick Jefferson Hospitalized With Coronavirus
It has been reported by Ringtv.com how Derrick Jefferson, a former heavyweight contender in the 1990s and 2000s, has been hospitalized with the coronavirus. The son of the 52-year-old informed The Bible of Boxing yesterday. Jefferson is on a ventilator right now, although it could be removed in the coming days.
Jefferson’s family and friends are asking for prayers.
A big, athletic fighter who was brutally powerful and absolutely full of heart and courage, Jefferson lit up the heavyweight division in a big way in the 1990s/early 2000s.
Jefferson engaged in a number of thrilling slugfests – his November 1999 battle with Maurice Harris being a YouTube favorite today – but he fell short of winning at absolute top world level. His final ring record reads 28-4-1(21). Jefferson took on a number of big names, including Wladimir Klitschko, Bert Cooper, Obed Sullivan and, in an absolutely epic heavyweight rumble, Maurice Harris.
A while back, this writer was fortunate to have been able to speak with Jefferson. Here is what the big guy had to say about his career and his most famous fight:
On his amateur career:
“I had a year and a half [as an amateur] but I was moved fast and I managed to win the national Golden Gloves. I beat Michael Grant, on points, and I KO’d DaVarryl Williamson in the first round. We fought again right at the end of my [pro] career (Jefferson being stopped in the second round), but by then I had so many issues going on and I was not anywhere near to my best and he beat me.”
On his trainer, the great Bill Miller:
“He was a great trainer – a legend. Bill Miller really was one of the best ever. I fought at a high pace, especially for a heavyweight, and he taught me how to slow it down, how to think in the ring, how to place my shots. I became a different fighter thanks to him.”
On the classic slugfest with Harris, from November of 1999: (Harris was knocked down twice in the second-round, Jefferson once – the end coming in the sixth as a hurt Jefferson landed a scorching left hook to flatten Harris for the count)
“He [Harris] brought out the best in me (laughs). It was a tough fight. That was my first time on worldwide TV, my first big fight, and I knew I had to KO him. He had a lot of good boxing experience, sparring so much with Lennox Lewis, and I knew I couldn’t, or didn’t want to, go point for point with him in a boxing match. I knew I had to knock him out. The left hook (that finished Harris in sizzling style – the KO receiving Ring Magazine’s KO of the Year award for 1999) was one of the best I ever threw, but I landed a whole lot more great left hands in my earlier fights, fights that probably never got seen.
“I was a fighter and I just fought – whoever and whenever they told me. No doubt I could have been given a break before the Klitschko fight (the WBO title shot being Jefferson’s sole world title fight; Jefferson being stopped in the second round in March of 2001).”
Let’s all hope Jefferson is able to defeat coronavirus, his toughest opponent.