One of the so-called “lost generation” of heavyweights, 1980s big name, and two-time titlist Tim Witherspoon hits the big 60 today. Looking far younger and having gotten out of the game in far better shape than a number of his fellow “lost generation” heavyweights – guys like Greg Page (RIP), Trevor Berbick (RIP), Tony Tucker and others who went down in depressing fashion – Witherspoon looks good, he talks well and he has his health and, if not as much as he should have, then at least some of his money.
Witherspoon, like many other fighters from yesteryear, says his era was the best, or certainly better than today’s heavyweight era. And as good as he was – ranging from very good to close to great on his best nights, to lazy, out of shape and well, terrible on his worst evenings – it’s certainly worth thinking about how Witherspoon would have got on with today’s champs, Deontay Wilder, Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker.
The best of Witherspoon saw the Philly warrior give a great account of himself against Larry Holmes; with many fans and experts feeling the young, 15-fight Witherspoon did enough to have beaten one of the greatest heavyweights in history over those 12 rounds in 1983. Would that version of Witherspoon have been too much for the likes of Joshua, Wilder and Parker?
The two nights that saw Tim crowned as champ saw him defeat the aforementioned Page and then, a couple of years later, Tony Tubbs. This version of ‘Spoon, though still rough and tough, was a more sloppy, less finely tuned fighter. Still, even when carrying excess weight and beginning to have serious misgivings over the way he was being treated by a certain Don King, and being less motivated to fight his hardest as a result, Witherspoon managed to smash the chiselled Frank Bruno.
Might “Terrible Tim” have done a similar number on today’s Bruno (as he has been referred to by some) in Joshua? Maybe. It sure would have been fun, fun, fun seeing a fit and motivated Witherspoon throwing bombs against AJ and Wilder. With his trademark “Can Opener” punch, his fearsome overhand right, Witherspoon would have been a very dangerous proposition for today’s champs.
As it is, the 60 year old who fought as a pro over a quite amazing four decades, has some career and list of fights (69, with 55 wins, 38 by KO) to look back on. And, unlike too many of his contemporaries and former ring rivals, Tim is in good enough shape be able to both remember and talk about his great fights and nights.
Happy Birthday, Champ!