Whatever Happened to Jimmy Young?
By Robert Brizel, Head Real Combat Media Correspondent
Smokin’ Joe Frazier is not the only Philly boxer of note buried in Philadelphia. A quiet tombstone in Mount Peace Cemetery shows an inscribed face with boxing gloves on both sides of the face. As time fades the famous names of boxing who were never world champion, one name stands out from the crowd: James ‘Jimmy’ Young.
Eight years ago in 2005, Jimmy Young was buried quietly, forgotten for nearly two decades. Weighing 191 pounds, Jimmy Young turned professional at age 20 in October 1969 with a first round knockout over 11-1 Jim Jones in Philadelphia. Out of ther ring for over five years, Jones was trying to tune up with a comeback bout, but got retired himself by Young.
Jimmy Young won seven of his first 11 pro bouts, losing decisions to Clay Hodges, Roy Williams, Randy Neumann, and getting stopped in the third round by Earnie Shavers. Young then went undefeated in his next 12 bouts, including a ten round draw with Shavers, and a ten round victory over Ron Lyle, before losing a 15 round decision to Muhammad Ali for the World Heavyweight title in April 1976.
After losing to Ali, Young won five comeback bouts, including a 12 round decision win over George Foreman, and decisioning Ron Lyle over ten rounds again, before losing a 15 round WBC eliminator bout to Ken Norton. Young then lost ten round decisions twice to Ossie Ocasio, then lost a ten round bout to Michael Dokes, and was topped in four rounds to Gerry Cooney in his remaining big fights as he faded from world title contention.
Jimmy Young versus Muhammad Ali www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4psfN2P48U
Jimmy Young versus George Foreman www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekHW6848CJM
Young beat the likes of 25-0 Canadian Gordie Racette, 30-1 European champion John L. Gardner, 30-6 Tom Fischer, 12-1-2 Marvin Stinson, 12-1 Jeff Simms, 13-1 Wendell Bailey, 24-2 Franco Thomas, and 16-3 Rocky Sekorski (by 10 round decision twice). As his career faded, Young lost consecutive decisions to USBA champion Greg Page, Pat Cuillo, Phil Brown, Tony Tubbs, Tony Tucker, Tony Fulilangi, Chuck Gardner, Eddie Richardson and Tim Anderson.
Young finished his career with a ten round decision over Rick Kellar, a ten round split decision loss to Tim Anderson, and a tenth round stoppage over Frank Lux. Young finished his 19 year career with a professional record of 34-19-2, with 447 rounds boxed. Towards the end of his life, Young had financial, legal, drug and medical problems, and died of a heart attack on February 20, 2005, after six days in the hospital. His twelfth round knockdown of George Foreman in March 1977 was perhaps Jimmy Young’s career highlight, along with his strange method of hanging through the ropes to get out of trouble. Many felt Jimmy Young beat Muhammad Ali on April 30, 1976, and the crowd booed the decision in Landover, Maryland.