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Unlikely Champion: Keith Mullings

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  • Unlikely Champion: Keith Mullings

    Sometimes there comes along a fighter who defies all the odds and produces an upset so big that it remains in the memory of fight fans. Such was the case with Buster Douglas and such is the case with Keith Mullings. Though far less famous or popular than Buster, Mullings holds a victory perhaps as significant as that of Douglas over Tyson; a stoppage against one of p4p best boxers back then, Terry Norris. Though in contrast to Douglas' victory over Tyson, his victory over Norris was a matter of catching Norris at the end of his prime. Mullings entered the ring a total underdog and left it as world champion and the man who had ended Terry Norris' career, effectively. Let's take a look at this man's career.

    Keith Mullings was born 1 August 1968 in Manchester Parish, Jamaica and relocated to Brooklyn, NY at some point in his life, gaining the fighting alias "Brooklyn Assassin". He stands 5'9 1/2 (176 cm) and has a reach of 74 1/2 inches (189 cm). A tough and hard-hitting fighter who was only stopped once, at the very end of his career, Mullings became a pro in 1993, after starting to box in the US Army and serving with them during the Desert Storm in 1991. He won his first 13 fights, 9 by ko, before fighting Darrell Woods for the NABU light middle title in October 1996 and dropping a split decision in 12 rounds. He also lost his next fight by SD, to Christian Lloyd Joseph. He then had a fight which ended as a technical draw after 3 rounds, before fighting Tony Marshall and losing to him by UD10 in May 1997. After beating the 39-1 Donald Stokes by the same result, he challenged the reigning IBF-champion Raul Marquez, fighting him on 13 September '97. The fight was very close and hard for both fighters, but Marquez looked the one worse off at the end of it, bleeding heavily from cuts over both eyes. Many in the audience and among commentators thought Mullings had won it, but he only got the verdict from one judge, losing by a split decision once again. Marquez required no less than 70 stitches to close his wounds. Spurred on by this controversy, he took a fight against the nr.1 man in the division: Terrible Terry Norris, the WBC champion. Norris was defending his title for the 7th time in his third championship reign and had 16 defenses overall, more than any other man in the division's history. He was supposed to have a megafight against Oscar De La Hoya after this, at 147, but Mullings ruined those plans. A fight against Felix Trinidad was also a possibility, at 154. The fight happened 6 December that year at Caesars Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City and Norris was a 7-1 favorite. It was a part of a pay per view headlined by De La Hoya. Early on, Norris controlled the fight with his superior speed and boxing skills, but in round 8, Mullings had a breakthrough and hurt Norris with a series of right hands, before dropping him at the end of the round. In the next round, Mullings was all over Norris before his corner threw in the towel after 51 seconds.

    Mullings got only 70 thousand for the fight, but the WBC belt was now his. He made his first defense against the unknown but undefeated (23-0) Davide Ciarlante of Italy, who had held the European title. After 5 rounds, with the scorecards divided, the fight was stopped due to a cut Ciarlante suffered, caused by a punch. Mullings won by a corner retirement. One card was even, the other had Mullings ahead by 49-47 and the third had Ciarlante ahead at 49-46. It was 14 March '98 at Trump Taj Mahal, again in Atlantic City. Mullings had to go to Spain for his second defense, which was against perhaps the best Spanish boxer ever, Javier Castillejo. It was 29 January '99 when Mullings was relieved of his title by way of a close majority decision. He then challenged the WBA champion David Reid, the former Olympic gold medallist, who was undefeated at 13-0. It was on 28 August that year when they fought and Reid proved to be too slick for Mullings, while also having an excellent chin and won by 117-111 on all cards. It was described as a rough, ugly fight. Mullings then took a year off from boxing, before returning in December 2000 and fighting Ronald "Winky" Wright, a great defensive fighter, for the NABF and USBA titles. He lost by wide scores. In his last fight, which was 7 April 2001, he was stopped by the 23-0 Steve Roberts from London, by TKO2. He had aged suddenly and at 33 was done as a fighter. Mullings retired with a record of 16 wins with 11 ko's, 8 losses and 1 draw.

    Keith Mullings was an offensive fighter who most often won by coming forward and landing the big punches. That's why he had no chance against guys like Reid or Wright, who were in their prime, unlike Norris. Norris was not really a great defensive fighter because he liked to come forward and had a tendency to get caught, which is why Mullins was able to stop him. You might say Mullings blossomed suddenly as a fighter and also deteriorated or burned out suddenly as well. He will always be remembered as the man who ended Terry Norris' championship reign and his prime.

  • #2
    Well put together mate 10/10

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    • #3
      Originally posted by selij View Post
      Well put together mate 10/10
      Thank you very much mate!

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