Does anyone remember Jeff Merritt?

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by Il Duce, Nov 19, 2010.

  1. Il Duce

    Il Duce Boxing Addict Full Member

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    Jeff 'Candyman Slim' Merritt.

    He was labeled as the 'can't miss prospect' by Ring Magazine back in September 1969,
    following his 'upset' decision win over Henry Clark in August 69', at Madison Square Garden.
    He had a 'killer' left hook.
    But, early in his career he had one of the most deadly right hands I ever saw.
    Could have been great, if he stayed clean.
    He had several 'spirited' sparring sessions with Muhammad Ali in June/July 1970,
    June/July 1971, July 1972, the end of 1973 and early 1974.
     
  2. johnmaff36

    johnmaff36 Boxing Addict Full Member

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    Don king fighter wasnt he? Think he ended up a down and out junkie in vegas or somewhere, unfortunately. I may be wrong here but wasnt he KO'd by an older Ernie Terrell, or maybe it was his fight after ernie. In and around that time. Broke Shavers jaw too in sparring i think. Im pretty patchy on this and not 100%
     
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  3. Il Duce

    Il Duce Boxing Addict Full Member

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    John,
    Somewhat correct.
    Jeff 'Candy Slim' Merritt.
    At 6' 5" and 210 lbs, was deadly with his right hand.

    It was he, who KO'd a comebacking Ernie Terrell in September 1973.
    Terrell had come back and had won (7) straight fights (before losing a decision to Chuck Wepner).
    In the next fight, Merritt KO'd Terrell in One Round.
    That really put 'Candy Slim' on the boxing map, and got him a #8 Ranking.
    He then wiped out former contender and title challenger Ron Stander.
    At age 25 (in 1973), he was in his prime.
    With a record of 23-1-0 (18 KO's) and a #7 ranking.

    He did bust Shavers jaw in a sparring session (good pick-up by you).
    But, unfortunately he liked 'smack'.
    His life started to fall apart in 1974.
    He made several trips to 'the big house'.
     
  4. johnmaff36

    johnmaff36 Boxing Addict Full Member

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    eah, that sounds about right. Im pretty sure he got sparked out quickly round about the Terrell time. Obviously not by Ernie but not long after
     
  5. Il Duce

    Il Duce Boxing Addict Full Member

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    johnmaff,

    I saw Jeff Merritt KO a durable Eddie Vick On TV, back in 1970.
    He looked like he was going to be great.
    He built is record up to 18-1-0 (13 KO's) by the middle of 1971.
    He was only 23.
    He was ranked #16 up to that time.
    He was also a key sparring partner for Ali in 1971.
    In July 71', he fought at the Houston, Astrodome, on the Ali-Ellis undercard.
    He again had a TV Fight, and Knocked-Out journeyman Al Banks.
    He again, was very impressive. He was considered a very dangerous fighter.
    He was ranked #15, with a 19-1-0 (14 KO's).

    Then got in trouble with the law, and his career was put on hold for
    10 months.
    Up to that time, he had victories over;
    Roy 'Tiger' Williams
    Roger Russell
    Henry Clark

    He was backed by a group mid-level Miami Businessman, who had the right connections.
    Unfortunately, Jeff let the 'needle' take control, as soon as he started to make some
    money.

    He came back in the Spring of 1972, and got (2) quick Knock-Out wins, bringing his fine record to
    21-1-0 (16 KO's). Also got re-ranked to #18.
    He was one of Ali's top sparring partners in mid-1972, in helping him get ready for the
    Quarry fight (June 72') and Alvin Lewis (July 1972).

    During his time in Ali's camp. Ali made a statement, saying that Jeff 'Candy Slim' couldn't go through the
    'Metal Detectors' at airports, because he would always set them off.
    A reference about 'bullets' still in Jeff's body, and his shaky past during his younger days in the
    rough sections of Kansas City.

    Then he got in trouble again, and was out of boxing for 16 months.
    The Miami Businessman had enough of his problems (criminal behavior and drugs)
    They ended their contract with Jeff.
     
  6. Il Duce

    Il Duce Boxing Addict Full Member

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    When Jeff's career was sidelined in mid-1972, he was a skinny
    6' 5" 204 lb. 24 year old 'kid'.
    When he got it back together in the Summer of 1973,
    he was now a 6' 5" 221 lb. 25 1/2 year old 'man'.

    Despite a 21-1-0 (16 KO's) record, he was 'un-ranked', due to 16 months of ring inactivity.
    He was offered a fight with the ancient, but still cute former WBA Champion from 1966, Ernie Terrell.
    Jeff, who though hadn't fought in awhile, was in good shape. He took the fight.
     
  7. johnmaff36

    johnmaff36 Boxing Addict Full Member

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    never seen him fight to be honest. Hes gotten a few mentions in books that ive read though, briefly in 'The Greatest' and 'The life and crimes of don king'. One of the guys you mentioned there rang a bell, henry clark. Was it him who KO'd Merritt ?
     
  8. scartissue

    scartissue Boxing Addict Full Member

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    Yes, Clark, whom Merritt had already decisioned ran out of his corner at the bell and stopped Jeff in the 1st round. Jeff could bang but was a bit fragile in the chin department. Saw him come back a couple of years later against Stan Ward. He had Ward's eye closed at the end of the 1st and was winning easily but Ward just exploded in the 3rd taking Merritt out. Incidentally, I must disagree with what has been said here about Merritt's right hand. It was his left hook he was most known for.

    Scartissue
     
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  9. Il Duce

    Il Duce Boxing Addict Full Member

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    scartissue,

    Yes, Jeff Merritt was known for his left hook in the latter part of his career. But early in his career it was his right hand that was getting him all the Knock-Outs.
    Though most of his early fights were against a multitude of weak opponents, he
    was dominant, utilizing his right hand.

    I wouldn't neccesarily say his chin was fragile, but more or less his ability to take a punch (at the end of his career) was a result of his personal 'bad habits'.

    His best fight, obviously was the Terrell fight (KO 1), at Madison Square Garden (9/73).
    The fight was part of the (Closed Circuit Broadcast of the Ali/Norton re-match in California)
    At that time, he was managed by Don King.
    By knocking out Ernie in the First Round, he went from un-ranked/inactive to #8.
    He was the only person (to flat out) stop Ernie Terrell.
    His other KO loss (on cuts)was the Cleveland Williams.
     
  10. Stevie G

    Stevie G Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Yeah. I recall that his nickname was Candy. I'm always a bit sceptical about these 'Ali got mashed up by sparring partner' stories though.
     
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  11. timmers612

    timmers612 Boxing Addict Full Member

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    I believe the scribes at the time said Merritt broke Earnie's jaw with his left hook. Also it seems I read back then that whoever was training the two of them was fired for having such big punchers and potential money makers spar with each other.
     
  12. Il Duce

    Il Duce Boxing Addict Full Member

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    Stevie,

    I would agree on that one.
    Supposedly everyone who sparred with Ali 'beat him up'.
    But 'Candy Slim' did have a long history with 'The Greatest'
    68' thru 73'.
    He must have had at least a couple of good sparring sessions over Ali.
     
  13. My dinner with Conteh

    My dinner with Conteh Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    He did. That somebody was Achie Moore.
     
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  14. Il Duce

    Il Duce Boxing Addict Full Member

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    J-T,
    Ernie Terrell was only (34) at the time of his fight with Jeff Merritt (9/73).
    Terrell had won 7 straight fights (in his comeback bid) and had moved up to #8 in the rankings.
    He was being mentioned as a possible opponent for the comebacking Joe Frazier for the latter part of 1973.
    Then he lost a controversial decision to Chuck Wepner.
    He didn't look good in the Wepner fight, but still retained a #9 ranking.

    The KO of Terrell really put Jeff Merritt on the boxing map.
    He had not fought in 16 months, and was being mentioned as a 'could-have-been' fighter.
    He was only 25 1/2.
    But Don King believed in him, and got him the fight with Terrell in
    Madison Square Garden on 9/10/73, part of the Ali-Norton II (Closed Circuit) broadcast.
    I don't think anyone thought that Merritt could win, let alone Knock-out Terrell.

    After years of beating 'no-names' and being part of Ali's sparring partner contingent, he
    suddenly was 'the hot fighter', despite his personal 'demons'.
     
  15. Il Duce

    Il Duce Boxing Addict Full Member

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    J-T,
    Not all of 'Candy Slim's' opponents were 'bums'.

    Here's a couple of his early fights;
    3/23/69; Wdec Roy Williams 9-0-0 (6 KO's)
    6/25/69; Wdec Roger Russell 11-4-2 (4 KO's)
    8/18/69; Wdec Henry Clark 17-5-3 (4 KO's) (Clark was rated #14)

    All of his early fights (except vs. Roy Williams) were in New York.
    Following his upset win over (#14 rated) Henry Clark (8/18/69) in Madison Square Garden,
    [which made Jeff 10-1-0 (7 KO's) with a #16 ranking], he was a 'hot' commodity, despite his
    'shaky' personal habits.
    A group of (4) businessman were interested in Jeff, and offered to buy out his current managers contract.

    His first fight under his 'new team' was on 3/31/70 in Miami, Florida.
    He had not fought in 7 months.
    He fought Johnny 'Big John' Hudgkins in something called the 'Southeastern Heavyweight Championship'.
    Hudgins claim to fame was that he knocked-out Kent Green, who KO'd Cassius Clay in the amateurs.

    The poster for the 'Merritt-Hudgkins' fight shows Hudgkins hitting Green, with the phrase under the photo
    stating "Hudgkins Knocks Out the Only Man to KO Clay"
    Hudgkins record was posted as 19-3-6 (18 KO's)
    But he really was 9-6-3 (8 KO's)
    Jeff 'Candy Slim' blasted out the 6' 2" 192 lb. Hudgkins in 2 one-sided rounds.
    Improving his record to 11-1-0 (8 KO's). He was was ranked #15, after that fight.
    He was only 22 years old.
     
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