DailySport reviews the life story of Tim Witherspoon


Although a little raw around the edges in places, ‘Terrible Times’ gives a great insight into Philadelphia’s first home grown heavyweight champion. Having interviewed Tim in depth myself a couple of years ago, I had a good idea of his career highs and lows, such as sparring with Mohammed Ali and his world title accolades, but I always remember his last words of the interview I did with him. ‘Paul – you did a good interview, but there’s a lot more to my life you don’t know about. Don King, drugs and the nasty side of boxing.’ Ryan Danes and Tim do a great job in expanding on those areas and many more.


In another life, Tim may well have progressed as a top football player. He had all the makings of something special, but through a twist of fate, boxing entered his life and it would be this sporting discipline that would get him recognised. It would also be the devil in this sport which would be responsible for his downfall. How could a man with so much talent, a man who won the world heavyweight title more than once, end up broke, drug reliant and throwing fights at the very top end? The book will take you through his journey and as you read it you feel like shouting, ‘Don’t do it Tim!’, as yet another temptation comes his way, or another hanger on tries to exploit his fame and money. At his peak, Tim was tipped as being a very worthy threat to Tyson’s immortal reign of the 1980’s. Who knows what would have happened….


The shocker probably comes when you read about him throwing the fight with James Bonecrusher Smith. He’d beaten him convincingly before and all of a sudden Tim goes down three times in round one. Why????  It’s an episode which Tim reflects upon with a heavy heart and one which the boxing fraternity will be sad to read.


Tim’s salvation comes in the form of his family. At nearly 60, he realises that his health (and his family’s), is his wealth and all the material things which have come and gone over the years are actually of little value. He has come to terms with how he lived his life, but he no longer seems the troubled soul from 20 years ago.  Oh – in case you are wondering; yes, he does go in to depth about Don King. Probably more than many have dared to in recent years…















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