Trevor Berbick was born in Jamaica in 1954, and was one of 11 children. He grew up in a poverty-stricken area of the country, and turned to boxing as a way to escape the difficult conditions. Berbick had his first professional fight in 1976, and over the course of his career he fought some of the best boxers of his time, including Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson.
Berbick’s early career was relatively unremarkable, but in 1981 he fought Muhammad Ali in what would turn out to be Ali’s last professional fight. In the buildup to the fight, Ali’s corner had underestimated Berbick, and they had not predicted that he would be such a difficult opponent. Berbick proved to be a tough and skilled fighter, and he won the fight on a unanimous decision.
After defeating Ali, Berbick became one of the top contenders in the heavyweight division. He went on to fight the best fighters in the division, including Larry Holmes, Pinklon Thomas, and Michael Dokes. Berbick won many of these fights, and he became the WBC heavyweight world champion in 1985.
However, Berbick’s reign as champion was short-lived. In 1986, he faced a young and hungry Mike Tyson in what was billed as the “Heavyweight Battle of the Decade”. Berbick was a significant underdog going into the fight, and Tyson was widely considered to be the future of boxing. In the end, Tyson dominated Berbick, knocking him out in the second round to become the youngest heavyweight champion in history.
Despite the disappointing loss to Tyson, Berbick continued to fight. He had some notable victories over fighters such as Carl Williams and Bonecrusher Smith, but his performances were increasingly erratic. He also became caught up in legal trouble, and in 1992 he was convicted of sexual assault and served 15 months in prison.
Berbick tried to revive his boxing career after his release from prison, but it was not to be. He suffered a series of losses and retirements, and he was increasingly seen as a cautionary tale about the dangers of staying in boxing for too long. In the end, Berbick retired with a record of 50 wins, 11 losses, and 1 draw.
Sadly, Berbick’s life after boxing was marred by tragedy. In 2002, he was beaten with a metal pipe by his nephew in a dispute over money. Then, in 2006, he was found dead in a churchyard in Jamaica. He had been bludgeoned to death with a piece of concrete. Berbick’s death remains unsolved, but it is believed that he may have been the victim of a revenge killing.
Despite the end to his life, Trevor Berbick remains an controversial figure in the history of boxing. He was a talented fighter who faced off against some of the best boxers of his time, and he left his mark on the sport. His victory over Muhammad Ali will always be remembered as one of the most significant milestones in boxing history. As a person, it it's impossible to discuss Berbick. Once you committ a forced sex act,you don't qualify as human. Sometimes justice doesn't mean you go to prison. Sometimes, it means life becomes prison. A life of violence was all Berbick could eloquate. So it is fitting that his life ended in brutality.
This 'Unforgotten' series is not a celebration of life, but a documentation of people who may not be on the public's mind, so their deeds and misdeeds would be otherwise forgotten.