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Former world champion Ernie Terrell dies

Ernie Terrell, whose brief reign at heavyweights ended in a landslide loss to Muhammad Ali in 1967, has died at age 75.
The son of Mississippi parcel workers and a longtime Chicago resident, Terrell worked as a boxing promoter after his boxing career and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004. Terrell also lost the nomination for mayor of his South neighborhood twice. Side and created a janitorial company that eventually employed 100 people. He died Tuesday in Chicago of complications from Alzheimer’s disease, according to his wife, Maxine.
The peak moment in Terrell’s career came in 1965, when he faced Eddie Machen for the World Boxing Association title that had been declared vacant when Ali insisted on having a rematch with Sonny Liston rather than defending his championship in a way that mandatory. Terrell defeated Machen by unanimous decision in a 15-round bout and would defend his title against George Chuvalo and Doug Jones. In 55 professional fights, he was 46-9 with 21 knockouts.
However, Terrell’s stint at the helm of the heavyweights was controversial as most in the boxing world considered Ali the true champion – who at the time still held the World Boxing Council title. A fight between the two was finally agreed for February 1967 at the Houston Astrodome, but the friction began long before they stepped into the ring.
By then Ali had converted to Islam and no longer used his name Cassius Clay. But Terrell, who had known him for years, repeatedly referred to his rival as Clay. It was the same tactic that Floyd Patterson used before facing Ali, and the result was the same: Terrell suffered the same brutal beating that Ali had inflicted on Patterson.
“I had a great chance to win that fight,” Terrell recalled in the book “Muhammad Ali: Through the Eyes of the World.”
After being beaten by Ali, Terrell lost to Manuel Ramos and Thad Spencer and announced his retirement from the ring in 1967. He returned to the ring in 1970 with a series of wins before suffering consecutive losses to Chuck Wepner and Jeff Merritt, retiring permanently in 1973.

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