Jimmy Ellis

Jimmy Ellis

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Jimmy Ellis

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James Albert "Jimmy" Ellis (born February 24, 1940) is a retired boxer from Louisville, Kentucky. He fought in what some consider to be the greatest heavyweight era of all-time, which included Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Jerry Quarry, Oscar Bonavena, and George Chuvalo. Ellis held the WBA World Heavyweight Championship from 1968 to 1970.

Amateur career

Ellis got into boxing after watching fellow Louisville native Muhammad Ali, then known as Cassius Clay, fight on a local amateur boxing television show called Tomorrow's Champions. "I had a friend of mine named Donnie Hall, and he fought Ali," Ellis said. "Donnie lost, and I thought I could maybe be a fighter then." Ellis went with Hall to Louisville's Columbia Gym, where the coach was a police officer named Joe Martin.

Ellis won 59 of 66 amateur bouts and was a Golden Gloves champion. He boxed Ali twice as an amateur, with Ali winning the first bout and Ellis winning the second.

Early Professional Career

Ellis turned professional in 1961. Early in his pro career, he was trained and managed by Bud Bruner. With Bruner, he compiled a record of 15-5 (6 KOs) and was ranked #10 in the world as a middleweight. His five losses were decisions to top middleweight contenders Holly Mims (whom he defeated in a rematch), Henry Hank, Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, Don Fullmer, and George Benton.

At the end of 1964, after losing three out of...
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