Jimmy Young (November 16, 1948 – February 20, 2005) was a Philadelphian heavyweight boxer who had his greatest success during the 1970s.
He made his name when fighting Muhammad Ali in Landover, Maryland in 1976 for the World Heavyweight Title. The fight went the full 15 rounds with the judges’ decision going to Muhammad Ali in the end. The result however was very controversial. Many journalists and boxing aficionados thought Young clearly outfought the slower Ali that night and should have been crowned the new Champion at the end.
Jimmy Young had to fight his way back to a new shot at the World Title as a result of his loss to Ali. He chose to fight one of the most feared fighters in the world at he time; George Foreman, who had begun a comeback after losing the title to Muhammad Ali in “The Rumble in the Jungle”.
The fight between Foreman and Young was held in Puerto Rico and Young surprised many boxing fans by handling George Foreman that night, even knocking him down in the 12th and final round. This time there was no controversy about the judges’ decision when Jimmy Young was named the winner.
Now Jimmy Young had to fight Ken Norton for the right to challenge for the World Title again. The fight was staged in Las Vegas, Nevada in November 1977. Norton and Young fought for 15 close rounds and in the end Jimmy Young was the unluckier of the two, losing the fight by a spilt decision.
Jimmy Young kept fighting, with mixed results, until, at the age of 39, he finally announced his retirement in 1988. His career mark was 34-19-2 with 11 knockouts.
The years since Young’s retirement were not kind. Young fought drug addiction and was rumored to be suffering from dementia pugilistica. He died, aged 56, of heart failure in Philadelphia on February 20, 2005.