Michael Dwayne Weaver (born June 13, 1951) is
an American former professional boxer. Weaver fought in the heavyweight
division, and is a former WBA world heavyweight champion.
was a United States Marine Corps member from 1968 to 71, and went
to Vietnam, and during this time got into amateur boxing and training.
He notably fought Duane Bobick, a future amateur star out of the Navy.
In a fight where both men were down, Weaver was outpointed.
By 1972 Weaver was living and training in California, and
took up professional boxing. In his early career, Weaver was considered
a journeyman opponent. He was frequently brought in on short notice
and overmatched against more experienced and developed contenders,
and used as a sparring partner for Muhammad Ali and Ken Norton, who
famoulsly nicknamed him "Hercules" do to his top developed muscle
However, after a few losses early on to tough fringe
conteders like Howard Smith and even to journeyman Larry Frazier,
Weaver showed signs of improvement. He fought both Bobick brothers,
losing a debatable 10 round decision to Rodney, and being stopped
on a cut in the 7th to old amateur rival Duane but after decking him.
In 1976 Weaver beat well regarded veteran Jody Ballard, and
in 1978 lost two close decisions. First to contender Stan Ward for
the California State Heavyweight title, and then to Leroy Jones for
the NABF heavyweight title.
In late 1978 Weaver got
a new team and manager and reeled off five straight knockouts, two
of which came over top ranked opponents. In October 1978 he came off
the floor to knockout hard hitting Colombian Bernardo Mercado in 5,
and in January 1979 knocked out hulking old foe Stan Ward in 9 to
win the USBA heavyweight title.
World title challenge to Larry
These wins helped get him a high profile World title fight with
reigning and undefeated WBC champion Larry Holmes in New York's Madison
Square Garden in June 1979. New cable channel HBO bought the rights
to the fight as Weaver was so lowly-regarded the fight was seen as
a mismatch and the networks didn't want anything to do with it (Weaver
was 20-8 to Holmes' 30-0).
But Weaver proved far better than
expected, however, and gave Holmes a really tough battle. Finally
Holmes would rally with that great champion reserve by decking Weaver
with a sharp uppercut in the 11th and stopping him on his feet in
USBA belt contest
Although Weaver had lost, his surprise
showing had made him a deserved high profile name. Later in the year
he was back, retaining his USBA belt with a 12 round decision over
Scott LeDoux whom he outboxed rather than slugged with.
In March 1980 he fought John tate for the WBA
title, in Tate's backyard of Knoxville, Tennessee. Tate was an amateur
star from the 1976 Olympic team. As a pro he had put together a 20-0
record and won the vacant WBA title by decisioning South African Gerrie
Coetzee over fifteen rounds, in front of 86,000 hostile fans in Pretoria,
Weaver vs Tate produced one of the divisions finest
knockouts ever. The giant taller Tate dominated Weaver for all the
first 10 rounds. But then with sheer determination a battered Weaver
suddenly turned it around, pushing Tate backward. But he'd left it
'too late?' noted the commentator, as only 5 rounds remained and Tate
was expected to resume his lead. However, with only 40 seconds left
in the 15th round, Weaver caught Tate bouncing off the ropes towards
him with a truly lethal left hook.