JIMMY ELLIS/MUHAMMAD ALI
Houston Astrodome, TX
July 26, 1971
Ali won a 12th round TKO
About Jimmy Ellis
Born February 24, 1940 in Louisville, KY
Died May 6, 2014 Louisville, KY
Career record: 40 wins (24 KO), 12 defeats, 1 draw
A native of Ali's hometown, Ellis actually fought Ali twice as an amateur: Ali won the first time, Ellis won the second. Ellis won 59 of his 66 amateur bouts and was a Golden Gloves Champion in 1960. By 1968, he had defeated Jerry Quarry to win the vacant WBA World Heavyweight Title. He had one successful title defense after that, defeating Floyd Patterson with a controversial 15 round decision in September of '68. In 1970, Ellis fought Joe Frazier to unify the World Heavyweight Championship. It would be the first knockout loss of Ellis' career.
Angelo Dundee was Ali's trainer for the upcoming Ellis/Ali fight, but he was Ellis' manager AND trainer, so he opted to work with Ellis. It was one of the few fights of Ali's career in which Dundee did not work in his corner. Ellis fought well for the first three rounds, but suffered a hand injury in the fourth. Ali went on to stop him in the twelfth round.
Ellis retired after suffering a training injury that left him partially blind in his left eye. After retiring, he trained boxers and worked for the Louisville Parks Department. He and his wife, Mary, parents of six, have been active members of the Riverview Spiritual Singers Baptist Choir for decades. Ellis now suffers from dementia pugilistica.