1986-12-12 James Bonecrusher Smith w rsc 1 (15) Tim Witherspoon, Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA - WBA
1986-12-12 James Bonecrusher Smith w rsc 1 (15) Tim Witherspoon, Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA - WBA. Referee: Luis Rivera. Challenging Witherspoon (233½) for the title, Smith (228½) made a great start when racing across the ring to have the champion in trouble with the very first punch of the fight, a crashing right to the head. Throwing 59 punches, of which 28 landed, Smith had Witherspoon on the floor three times in the opening round before the fight was automatically stopped after 2.12 of the session when the WBA’s three knockdowns in a round ruling came into play. Witherspoon should have been counted upon when he touched down earlier but was allowed to continue.
Smith's next outing would be a WBA/WBC unification contest against Mike Tyson. With the WBA's scheduled distance for championship fights being 15 rounds an agreement was brokered to go along with the WBC's stipulated 12 while having their own three knockdown ruling in place. This deal remained in situ up until the WBA announced at their convention in October 1987 that all championship contests would be scheduled for 12 rounds forthwith.