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Forgotten Champions: Terron Millett


BoztheMadman
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A talented junior welterweight who had the skills and could hit, but a prolonged injury ruined his career-that is the story of this forgotten champion, Terron Millett of Saint Louis. Millett captured the IBF belt rather sensationally by stopping the somewhat shopworn but still dangerous Vince Phillips in 1999, but his reign would be brief as he was stripped for prolonged absence due to injury after only one defence. He came back against then perhaps the most dangerous fighter in the division (or one of two), Zab Judah. Although he admirably enough managed to drop Judah, he was stopped in a rather short match. After that, his career unravelled and he was never the same fighter again.

Nicknamed "The Tramp" for some reason, Millett was born June 28 1968 in Colorado Springs. At some point, he moved to St. Louis, where he became a boxer. As amateur, he won the 1991 Golden Gloves at 140. He stands 5'7 and has the identical reach. He made his professional debut on 20 April 1993 in Las Vegas and stopped Louis Saucedo by TKO1. After winning 9 straight fights, he drew against Ken Jamerson in the 10th, in an 8-rounder. After scoring two more first-round stoppages, he faced the future WBA champ Sharmba Mitchell, on September 16 '95 at the Mirage in Vegas. It would be a brief but memorable fight, as Mitchell got dropped first before stopping Millet by TKO in the first round, at 2:38. Millett continued winning after this setback and won 8 fights before fighting Freddie Pendleton for the vacant IBF USBA title, May 29 '98 at Las Vegas Hilton. After 12 rounds, Millett was the winner and the new champion, but he vacated this title soon thereafter as he was chasing the main IBF title. 

His chance came on February 20 next year, against Vince Phillips, who had famously upset Kostya Tszyu (the aforementioned OTHER most dangerous fighter back then at 140) to win the IBF belt in 1997. He was making his fourth defence, but he hadn't fought for 11 months prior. The fight was staged at Madison Square Garden and Millett looked like the better man from the start almost, as he kept catching Phillips with his left and right hooks and timing his punches well. He dropped Phillips at the end of round 3 with a big right. In the 4th, Millett again connected with a left hook which put Phillips down. Phillips was putting up a fight, but he was starting to take a beating in round 5, when the referee stepped in and stopped it, at 1:58. Millett also looked heavier and physically bigger than Phillips, despite Phillips having fought at 147 previously. It was a great victory for the not-so-well-known Millett and Phillips would go on to compete for several years after that, so he wasn't totally washed up but maybe a little out of shape. 

"The Tramp" made his first and only successful defence on July 24 same year, against the 21-1 Virgil McClendon, at 5'5 and half a short but physically strong and sturdy fighter who would go on to fight as a middle and super middle! The fight was staged at the Flamingo Hilton, Vegas. Millett was clearly ahead on the scorecards when he halted the Columbus-native McClendon by TKO in the 12th round. And then came the fall-Millett suffered an injury in training and was unable to defend in time, which led to him being stripped by the IBF, sometime in early 2000. It does sound somewhat harsh to be stripped after only a little more than 6 months of inactivity, but IBF also stripped Kostya Tszyu for not defending for less than a year, in 2004. When Millett finally came back, on August 5 2000, he would fight the new champ Zab Judah for his old title.

The fight was at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville and Millett got off to a surprisingly good start by flooring Judah in the first round with a counter left to the chin after being hit with several clean shots first. Judah was however younger by 9 years and fresher, and faster also, while being a hard puncher at the same time-simply too much to overcome. He closed the round by hurting Millett with some more punches and then dropped him late in the second round with a left hook on the chin. Millett tried to counterpunch, but his timing was off and he kept getting hit, despite partially slipping some punches. He had a little more success in round 3 where he landed a few good counters, but in round 4 he first slipped to the canvas and was then dropped with a hard combination and then later he was hit on the temple and after a few seconds stumbled to the canvas. He beat the count but the ref took one look at him and waved it off, with 13 seconds before the bell.

He came back with a TKO1 over Mickle Orr, but in the 2001 fight against Bernard Harris, he went down to one knee, but went on to win on points. On January 26 2002, he fought Arturo Gatti in his last big fight, at Madison SG. He didn't look good and was down three times before again getting stopped by TKO4. He would win only one more fight later that year, a SD8 against the journeyman Damone Wright and first lost on points to Ricardo Williams, before getting stopped again by Michael Stewart by TKO3, June 27 2003 in Atlantic City. It was a fight for his first belt, the IBF USBA one. Millett retired after 10 years as a pro, his last pro fight having taken place one day before his 35th birthday, with a record of 27 wins, 19 ko's, 5 losses and 1 draw-and more to be wished for. 

Although he certainly looked like he might become a star, Millett simply turned out to be too erratic but his injury also derailed him and lets be fair-he was fighting a dynamite boxer in Zab Judah. A true menace against which even Kostya Tszyu had to be extra-sharp to win. All in all, he was a talented fighter who was game and tough, had the necessary skills and the punch, but just had one brief moment in the spotlight, one cup of coffee as they say. And that makes him A FORGOTTEN CHAMPION!

Millett.jpg

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