History | May 06 2017

On This Day: Jimmy Ellis, former champion and Muhammad Ali’s friend, passed away in 2014

The former WBA champion Jimmy Ellis played an important role in a golden era, writes Matt Christie
jimmy ellis
Jimmy-Ellis

THE career of Jimmy Ellis, the slick boxer who reigned as WBA heavyweight champion from 1968-1970, always languished in the shadows of a golden era. Ellis, suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease, died on May 6, 2014 in his Louisville hometown at the age of 74, his memory defined by losses to Joe Frazier and his friend and stablemate, Muhammad Ali.

That Ellis’ name rarely stands alongside his leading contemporaries should say more about the era than Jimmy himself, for wins over Floyd Patterson, Jerry Quarry, George Chuvalo and Leotis Martin speak volumes for his quality.

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