International Boxing Hall of Fame

Terry Norris

"Terrible Terry"


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Terry Wayne Norris was an American boxer and a three-time world champion in the junior middleweight division. Originally from Lubbock, Texas, he fought out of San Diego.

Early boxing career

A star baseball player during his high school years, Norris bypassed a career on the diamond for one in the ring, amassing a stellar 291-4 amateur record. Displaying a stunning combination of hand and foot speed as well as the ability to throw dizzying combos, Norris' athletic ability was an uncanny attribute in the ring. After turning pro Norris compiled a record of twenty one wins and two losses before challenging Julian Jackson in Norris's first title fight. He beat future champion Steve Little for the NABF junior middleweight title in December, 1988, and defended once against Buster Drayton. His two losses were by unanimous decision to Derrick Kelley and a disqualification to Joe Walker when Norris hit Walker when Walker was down.

Norris challenged Julian Jackson for the WBA junior middleweight belt in July 1989. Norris seemed to win the first round, but a big second-round right cross from the champion knocked Norris out. Norris made it to his feet before the count but was deemed unfit to continue by referee Joe Cortez.

First championship reign

After winning three comeback fights, including a victory over former welterweight champion Jorge Vaca, Norris traveled to Tampa, Florida, in March of 1990 to challenge John Mugabi for the WBC junior middleweight title. Norris wasted no time in stopping the champion, flooring him twice in the first round - the second time for the full count - and thus starting what would be the first of three reigns as champion.

After defending his belt against Rene Jacquot, Norris faced the legendary Sugar Ray Leonard in Madison Square Garden in February 1991. Norris easily beat Sugar Ray via a 12-round unanimous verdict. His next defense, a June victory over another former welterweight kingpin - Donald Curry - further cemented Norris' place in the history of the 154-lb. division as Norris wore down his foe and knocked him out in the eighth.

Other prominent foes in that first reign included the tough future titlist Jorge Castro and two welterweight champions, Meldrick Taylor (then the WBA champion), and Maurice Blocker (who held the IBF version at the time of his challenge).

Losing and regaining title

In a shocking upset in December, 1993, Simon Brown, former WBC and IBF welterweight titlist, knocked out Norris in four rounds to win the title and halt Norris' defense streak at ten. Ring magazine named this fight as their "Upset of the Year" for 1993. In their rematch, Norris then regained the title by unanimous verdict over Brown in May 1994.

His second reign proved short when he lost the title by disqualification to Luis Santana in November, 1994. The decision to disqualify Norris was controversial. Norris hit Santana in the back of the head and Santana went down, claiming he was unable to continue. Some at ringside, however, felt that Santana refused to get up in order to gain the disqualification win. Because of the controversial nature of the match, a rematch was ordered. Norris also lost the April, 1995, rematch by disqualification, this time for hitting Santana after the bell had sounded to end the round. In their third fight in August of that year, Norris knocked out Santana to regain his title.

Norris then won a 12-round unanimous decision over hated San Diego rival Paul Vaden in December 1995 to add Vaden's IBF title to his WBC version, and made defenses against Vincent Pettway (former IBF champion), Nick Rupa, and Alex Rios, before being stripped of the IBF title by that sanctioning body in 1997. Keith Mullings then ended Norris's championship career by way of ninth-round knockout in December of 1997.

Post-championship career

Norris fought twice more after losing his title. Dana Rosenblatt defeated him by twelve-round decision in a middleweight bout and then WBA junior middleweight champion Laurent Boudouani ended his boxing career with a ninth round knockout.

Norris was elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2005.

Preceded by
John Mugabi
WBC Light Middleweight Champion
31 March 1990� 18 December 1993
Succeeded by
Simon Brown
Preceded by
Simon Brown
WBC Light Middleweight Champion
7 May 1994� 12 November 1994
Succeeded by
Luis Santana
Preceded by
Luis Santana
WBC Light Middleweight Champion
19 August 1995� 6 December 1997
Succeeded by
Keith Mullings
Preceded by
Paul Vaden
IBF Light Middleweight Champion
16 December 1995� March 1997
Vacates title
Succeeded by
Raul Marquez

Additional Information

  • Once entertaining scholarships to several schools, Norris quit baseball after a brawl on the field. "We were playing another team one day," Norris recalled, "and there were some racial comments made toward me. I was a little thrown off by it. I rushed the guy who said them, and their whole team jumped on me. I put three guys in the hospital, which was the bad thing of it. People said things like, 'Maybe this guy's a troublemaker,' so a lot of my scholarships fell through. [1]
  • He settled a lawsuit out of court with Don King for a sum of $7.5 million in 2005.
  • Brother of Former IBF Cruiserweight Champion Orlin Norris.
  • The speech of Terry Norris was noticeably slurred even in his early thirties and quite startling to anyone who remembered him from just a few years earlier. After his last defeat, the Nevada athletic commission turned him down for a new license, basing its decision on his impaired speech, which was indicative of brain damage.
  • Norris was known to spar 12 rounds every other day in preparation for fights, something almost unheard in most boxers training regimens. Some speculate that this is a factor which may have ultimately led to his early expiration as a fighter.
  • A source close to the Norris camp is quoted as saying "The best boxing I ever watched live was sparring between the Norris brothers."[2]