Nearly 30 years ago in a Junior Middleweight title clash in the Las Vegas desert, “Terrible Terry” Norris continued to assert his big time power and disposed of former Olympic hero, Meldrick Taylor in short order.
May 9th, 1992 was the date and the outdoor stadium at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas was the site for Norris’s 7th defense of his WBC 154 lb. title. Norris had won the title two years earlier with a one round destruction of John ‘the Beast” Mugabi on ABC’s Wide World of Sports gaining him some national fame.
Along the way to his fight with Taylor he had also dispatched the iconic Sugar Ray Leonard (who was well past his prime) by decision and also, former World Welterweight champion Donald Curry with an eighth round knockout in June of 1991.
HBO Boxing with legendary announcers Jim Lampley, Larry Merchant and George Foreman were on the call in what was the network’s historic 100th title fight broadcast.
Norris was the favorite over the former 1984 Summer Olympic Gold Medalist Taylor, who had a meteoric rise to the IBF Jr. Welterweight World title and four defenses. That was before legendary Mexican Hall of Fame fighter Julio Cesar Chavez beat Taylor dramatically and controversially by 12th round TKO in the final five seconds of the fight, in March of 1990.
After that night in Vegas, Taylor was never really the same from the beating he took from Chavez over the 12 rounds,. Although, he had won the WBA Welterweight title in January of 1991 over Aaron Davis, defended it twice, and he then, set his sights on the 154 lb. title shot with Norris.
In an interesting twist, Taylor got the Norris camp to agree to the “catch weight” limit of 150 and 1/2 pounds or exactly halfway between Welterweight and Junior Middleweight. Both Fighters weighed 149 lb for the bout.
Norris was so overtly confident heading into that night, that he came to the ring having inscribed the word “Knockout” in the back of his hair do. And, it would not take long for him to deliver.
After both fighters had landed some significant punches in the first three rounds, Norris immediately got command by dropping Taylor early on in the fourth with a combination of straight right punches.
Taylor rose and was trying to fight back and hold on, when Norris again caught him with a series of big right hands the last one seem to glance him on the back of the head. He dropped down to all fours, again.
Taylor got up again wearily and still told referee Mills Lane that he was “okay.” However, seconds later: Norris was all over him and another barrage of punches caused Lane to jump in and stop the fight at the 2:55 mark of the fourth round.
Watch it for yourself:
The fight was deemed “Knockout of the Year” for 1992 by Ring Magazine, and the win improved Norris to 31-3 at that time.
He would continue as WBC Junior Middleweight champion until December of 1993, when Simon Brown stopped him in four rounds for his first loss in four years. In all Norris had an impressive 18 wins in World title fights (several losses and regains, too) at 154 lbs. and he fought on until 1998 finishing 47-9 all time.
Meantime, Taylor continue a sad downward spiral from that night on and finally retired in 2002 with a record of 38-8-1.
And, clearly on that early May night nearly 30 years ago, he was no match the big punching power of the Man known as “Terrible Terry.”