|01-06-2006, 11:23 PM||#1|
Join Date: May 2004
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CLEVELAND WILLIAMS ; Remembering the " Big Cat "
And Then There Were Three...
When Cleveland "Big Cat" Williams passed away a few years back, it
ended the final chapter of a story about three gifted heavyweights from the
50's and 60's. Williams joined Eddie Machen and Zora Folley to form a trio
of hard luck boxers who met tragic deaths after a career of frustration.
Machen lost a decision to Ernie Terrell in a 1965 W.B.A. title bout. Later
Eddie suffered some mental problems and eventually committed suicide. Folley
who was stopped in seven by Muhammad Ali in 1967 died of injuries suffered
in a poolside accident. Machen and Folley passed on several years ago.
Williams lived to be 66 before being struck down by a moving vehicle. All
three would finally receive their title shots long after their prime. One
wonders how they would have made out if they got their chance five years
earlier against Floyd Patterson. To Floyd's credit he did win a twelve round
decision over Machen in 1964, two years after he lost his crown to Sonny
Williams began his career in 1951 and won his first 27 fights, 23 by
knockout. In 1954, he suffered a knockout loss to Bob Satterfield. Cleveland
did not box in 1955 because he was in the Army. When he resumed his career
he ran off 12 straight wins leading him to a match with the feared Sonny
Liston. The two traded bombs until Sonny put over the sleeper in round two.
Eleven months later they met again in another war with Sonny winning in
In Cleveland's next 22 fights he went 20-1-1 with 13 kayos. He lost a
decision to Terrell and he drew with Machen. He scored victories over
Terrell, Wayne Bethea, Alex Miteff, Billy Daniels, and Tod Herring. This led
to a title bout with Muhammad Ali in November of 1966. In 1965, Williams was
badly injured when he was shot by a patrolman during a traffic stop
argument. The bullet entered his stomach doing severe damage. That he was
even able to fight again, is a testimony to his will and courage. The
Williams that entered the ring against Ali was just a shell of his former
self. In what many feel was Ali's best career performance, the champion
dominated his aging rival. The bout was mercifully stopped in the third
round. Cleveland would never again be a major factor in the division. He
lost to Bob Cleroux and and Mac Foster and served as an opponent for
upcoming fighters looking for a name on their record.
I had the opportunity to see Williams box a decent heavy weight named
Ted Gullick at the old Cleveland Arena. Gullick would meet George Foreman,
Earnie Shavers, and Duane Bobick during his career, but he was no match for
Williams this night. Using a ramrod jab and a solid body attack, Cleveland
out boxed his upstart foe to win a ten rounder. The consummate professional
at work. That is how I'll remember Cleveland Williams
|01-07-2006, 06:01 AM||#2|
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: The Republic of Texas, never hear of Muleshoe?
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Big Cat was a big man and major physical speciman. He'd be accused of steroids today. His major problem was a weak chin. He did have a victory over Terrell, but otherwise lost every other big matchup he had.
Floyd would outbox and outslug Machen, KO Folley, but Williams would have a good chance against Floyd who also had a weak chin. Floyd was faster, but smaller. Might have looked like those Liston bouts, but Sonny was a grade above Cleve, so Floyd might have whacked him out first.
|01-07-2006, 08:51 AM||#3|
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