1. TERRY NORRIS was just 22 when he entered the ring in Atlantic City, situated at the Covention Center, to challenge human bulldozer Julian Jackson for the WBA light-middleweight title on Sunday July 30 1989. The champion was six years older, and came into combat with a record of 37-1 (35) littered with unconsciousness. Jackson, from the Virgin Islands, was desperate to for a ‘big’ fight and already had eyes on the 160lb division – interestingly, the WBC already ranked him as their No.2 middleweight.
2. JACKSON’S lone defeat had come in a two-round thriller three years previously against the excellent Mike McCallum. Ultimately, Jackson paid the price for making mistakes, throwing caution to the wind after hurting the experienced champion early, and being stopped himself. Many felt the chance had come too soon for Jackson, and some felt the same about Norris’ chances in this bout.
3. THE bout was televised in America by ABC, offering Jackson – perhaps the most devastating single hitter in the sport – some rare exposure for his menace.
4. NORRIS boxed smartly in the opening session. He was a tremendous boxer-puncher, who rarely wasted a shot and controlled the distance effortlessly. He shook the Don King-promoted Jackson with a meaty portion of right hands, and swept the round on all three official cards.
5. JACKSON looked relaxed as he entered round two. Relaxed like an assassin who is about to fire a bullet through their unsuspecting target. With Norris retreating to the ropes, Jackson fired a right hand loaded with nastiness. Norris appeared to be out cold before the fall woke him. Gamely he fought the dizziness and clambered to his feet. But the referee, Joe Cortez, waved off the action with Norris in no position to resume.
6. “LET me say he did exactly what we thought he would do,” said Jackson afterwards. “We figured he would want to go the distance and show a lot of lateral movement. We worked on exactly how to solve that.”
7. THE flat-topped slugger demanded respect, and opportunities. “I have been in the shadows too long,” he sneered. “I have been the champion for two years but nobody knows who I am. That doesn’t bother me. My time will come.”
8. ALTHOUGH Jackson starched Herol Graham in his next world title fight – to claim the WBC middleweight strap – his time never did really come. Certainly he will be remembered as one of the biggest punchers in history, but he never did secure that defining fight he craved. By the time he lost twice to Gerald McClellan, in a 1993 thriller and a thrashing the following year, Jackson was past his best.
9. LIKE Jackson after being slayed by McCallum, Norris recovered from this defeat. He went on to craft a brilliant albeit erratic existence as the best light-middleweight of his era. He beat the likes of Sugar Ray Leonard, John Mugabi, and Meldrick Taylor during his three reigns as 154lb champion.
10. SUPPORTING Jackson and Norris in Atlantic City was WBC light-welterweight boss Julio Cesar Chavez, who cruised to 62-0 with an emphatic walloping of the thoroughly over-matched Kenny Vice.