Tim Witherspoon vs. Greg Page (1st meeting)

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1984-03-09 : Tim Witherspoon 220¼ lbs beat Greg Page 239½ lbs by MD in round 12 of 12


Larry Holmes relinquished the WBC heavyweight title because he said he would not fight Greg Page, the No. 1-ranked contender, under the terms of a contract with promoter Don King. The contract called for Holmes to get $2.5 million to fight Page in February or March of 1984. "I won't fight him unless they come up with more dollars," Holmes said.

From The Associated Press:

It took him two tries to win the title, but after decisioning Greg Page for the World Boxing Council heavyweight crown, Tim Witherspoon says he plans to stay on top for a long time.

"I'm determined to stay the heavyweight champion for many years," said Witherspoon. "I've got to keep the title for three, four or five years."

But while Witherspoon was making plans for the riches a heavyweight championship can bring, a dejected Page talked about leaving the ring for good.

"I've been through it all, man. I cant take it anymore," Page said. "I've been going through hell ever since I started fighting."

Witherspoon, who lost a disputed split decision to Larry Holmes last May in his first try for the title, won it this time with a majority decision in a tough 12-round fight.

Holmes watched from the audience and declared himself unimpressed with the fighters who went after the crown he held for nearly six years.

"I told you neither one could fight," said Holmes, who voluntarily gave up his title following a bitter contract dispute with promoter Don King and now fights as the International Boxing Federation's heavyweight champion.

Despite being outweighed by nearly 20 pounds, Witherspoon, at 230¼, seemed the stronger of the two as he kept Page backed into one corner or another much of the bout.

Page, 239½, counterpunched well, but his punches lacked the power of Witherspoon's—a fact that, much to Page's dismay, influenced the judging.

"The rules say the fighter that scores more punches wins, not the fighter that scores harder punches," Page contended. "He might have scored one or two good punches, but what about the 10 I hit him with?"

Page, the top-ranked contender going into the bout, said he fought the way he wanted to against the No. 2-ranked Witherspoon.

"I beat him at his own fight. I knew what I was supposed to do and I did it," he said. "It don't make no damn sense."

Page trailed early in the fight but came on and closed the gap by the end of the ninth round. It was then, however, that Witherspoon took command.

"My fight plan was to go to his body in the early rounds and head in the late rounds," said Witherspoon. "It wasn't as tough as I expected. I thought it would be tougher."

Judge Chuck Minker had the fight even at 114-all, but judges Jerry Roth and Lou Tabat both had Witherspoon on top 117-11. The Associated Press also favored Witherspoon, by a 116-112 margin.

Witherspoon, at a post-fight press conference packed by frenzied supporters, dedicated the crown to the South Philadelphia neighborhood he grew up in. A veteran of only 19 professional fights in a brief career that began in October 1979, the new title-holder said he is ready to defend against anyone. "I want to take on all comers — anyone," he said. "I don't care who."

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