Philly Boxing History

April 30, 1976



It was on this date in 1976 that slick Philadelphia stylist Jimmy Young nearly wrested the heavyweight crown from the head of Muhammad Ali. Young, with a 17-4-2 record, came into the ring at the Capitol Centre in Landover, MD, as a heavy underdog. He also came into the ring with a reputation for frustrating opponents and he definitely lived up to that.

Ali, overweight and overconfident, was often befuddled and out-punched by Young through 15 rounds. The fight wasn't fast with action but was pregnant with drama as many thought Young was building a lead on points with his
cautious but effective style.

Young, 209, hurt his own cause in the eyes of the referee and the judges when he leaned out of the ring ropes on numerous occasions to avoid Ali's rushes. While Young seemed to frequently beat the aging Ali to the punch, he never really opened up and went after the champ. The 6-foot-2 Young used his jab to keep Ali from dominating and controlling the tempo with his own jab. When Ali came forward, Young used his counter punching skills to frustrate the champion.

But the old adage about taking the belt away from the champ applied here. Young may have out-punched the champ but he didn't outfight him in the eyes of those who tallied the scorecards. Young's cautious, defense-first approach and his penchant for placing his head and upper torso outside of the ring ropes while Ali was pressing the action cost the challenger dearly.

At the end of the fight, many in the crowd of 12,472 spectators believed the championship was going to change hands. It wasn't to be, however. When the crowd heard a clear unanimous decision for Ali, the ring was cascaded with boos. Ref Tom Kelly voted 72-65 in Ali's favor while judges Larry Barrett and Terry Moore voted 70-68 and 71-64, respectively. Barrett's scorecard was the only one that seemed to reflect the closeness of the action in the ring.

Ali weighed 230 pounds, the heaviest of his career. It indicated that he did not take the slippery Young seriously enough and very nearly paid the price of his title. Ali improved to 51-2 overall.                             by Mike Dunn


  1934 - Tony Falco W10 Pete Nebo at Convention Hall in West Philly

  1934 - Harry Serody W10 Lew Feldman at Convention Hall in West Philly
  1942 - Johnny Forte KO6 Diogenes Leon at the Olympia in South Philly
  1943 - Bob Montgomery W10 Gene Johnson at the Armory in Scranton, PA
  1951 - Joey Giardello W10 Ernie Durando at Watres Armory in Scranton, PA
  1976 - Larry Holmes W10 Roy 'Tiger' Williams at the Capitol Centre in Landover, MD
  1982 - Tyrone Crawley W6 Tony Stern at Washington, DC
  1952 - Eddie Mustafa Muhammad
  1960 - Myron Taylor