Jimmy Summerville

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Name: Jimmy Summerville
Alias: Slim
Born: 1944-10-27
Died: 1975-07-01 (Age:30)
Hometown: Miami, Florida, USA
Height: 6′ 4″   /   193cm
Boxing Record: click


"Slim" Jimmy Summerville died in 1975 when he was shot and killed by a Miami City police officer as he fled the scene of a supermarket robbery. Summerville had just stolen some cartons of cigarettes. He became the first person at the time to die under Florida's new "Fleeing Felon Law," which said that police officers had the right to use "deadly force." on a fleeing felony suspect.

He had been Muhammad Ali's and Jimmy Ellis's sparring partner at the famed 5th Street Gym in Miami Beach.

Summerville was born James Tracy Summerville. As a youth he was in and out of trouble, and served time in prison. Upon his release from prison in 1971, at the age of 26, Summerville decided to seek his fame and fortune as a professional boxer. The 6 feet 4 inch Summerville began his boxing career at almost 345 pounds. However, over the next few months, through diet and exercise, he trimmed down to 243 pounds, earning the nickname "Slim Jim."

Summerville was known as a tough, two-fisted brawler, with an iron chin and a sledgehammer punch. He never fought a 4 or 6 rounder, but started off in 8 rounders and quickly graduated to main events.

He was little more then a club-fighter when, in 1973, Summerville shocked the boxing world with an upset knockout over 9th rated "Irish" Jack O'Halloran, a 6 feet 6 inch giant. In the rematch, Summerville again rocked the giant, only to get stunningly knocked out himself. A few months later, Summerville attempted to win the vacant Florida Heavyweight Title, but was destroyed by Oliver Wright. Summerville then put together a string of knockout victories which earned him a bout with then undefeated Duane Bobick, who was 16-0 (16 knockouts). Summerville stunned Bobick in the opening seconds, but then was brutally battered into a bloody second round TKO defeat.

Summerville was offered a professional wrestling contact, but admitted in a Miami Herald newspaper article that his dream was to become the Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the World. Summerville lost two back-to-back 10 round decisions to undefeated Mike Koraniki. Summerville hoped to get back on a winning track in 1975 and was scheduled to fight Johnny Hudgins at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

However, for reasons still unknown, Summerville broke in a Fort Pierce, Florida, Kwik Check Market at the corner of Delware and Seventh Streets at 2:30a.m. A police officer observed the 280 pound Summerville break inside the store with a crowbar. Summerville was standing by an empty cash register when police asked him to freeze. Instead, the 6 feet 4 inch. boxer spun around and fled through the front door. A police officer fired a shotgun at Summerville, hitting him in the buttocks. Summerville, who was unarmed, staggered about seven feet and fell. Still conscious, he was taken to Fort Pierce Memorial Hospital where he died at 4:30a.m. of internal bleeding.

James Summerville became the first person in the state of Florida who was killed under Florida's new "Fleeing Felon" Law.


  • Miami Herald, July 12, 1975: BOXER JAMES SUMMERVILLE KILLED BY POLICE GUNFIRE by Brian Jones.