John Tate

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John Tate

Name: John Tate
Alias: Big John
Hometown: Knoxville, Tennessee, USA
Birthplace: Marion, Arkansas, USA
Died: 1998-04-09 (Age:43)
Stance: Orthodox
Height: 193cm
Reach: 203cm
Pro Boxer: Record
Amateur Boxer: Record

Trainer: Don Marshall
Manager: Jerry "Ace" Miller

John Tate Gallery

Amateur Career

Professional Career

  • Won the vacant WBA Heavyweight Championship with a fifteen-round unanimous decision against Gerrie Coetzee on October 20, 1979 in Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa.
  • Lost the WBA Heavyweight Championship to Mike Weaver by a fifteenth-round knockout on March 31, 1980 in Knoxville, Tennessee, USA. Tate was ahead on all three official scorecards when he was knocked cold by a left hook.
  • Knocked out in nine rounds by future WBC Heavyweight Champion Trevor Berbick on June 20, 1980 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
  • Retired with a record of 34-3 in 1988 after losing a ten-round unanimous decision to journeyman Noel Quarless.

Personal Life

  • Earned more than $1.7 million but ended up broke. Tate admitted to a cocaine habit during the 1980s and served time in prison for petty theft and assault before resorting to panhandling on the streets of Knoxville.
  • Died April 9, 1998 in Knoxville at the age of 43. He was driving a pickup truck that crashed into a utility pole. An autopsy revealed that he died of a stroke caused by a brain tumor. Tate had convulsions and blacked out, causing the wreck. Two passengers suffered minor injuries. The Knox County medical examiner stated that Tate "had been using cocaine regularly in the last 24 hours of his life".
  • Author Kerry Pharr wrote an insightful story about John Tate helping to train Keith McKnight for a nationally televised bout shortly before his untimely death in his book Fight The Good Fight: Getting Up After Life Knocks You Down (ISBN 0615391478).

Preceded by:
Muhammad Ali
WBA Heavyweight Champion
1979 Oct 20 – 1980 Mar 31
Succeeded by:
Mike Weaver