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George Foreman, Wladimir Klitschko & Bert Cooper: RSR Looks Back at Everett “Bigfoot” Martin

Do you remember "Bigfoot" Martin?

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By Geno McGahee

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, there were many Bigfoot sightings. This wasn’t the hairy beast that was reportedly living in the woods and harassing campers, this was heavyweight journeyman, Everett “Bigfoot” Martin. Martin, began his career with a record of 13-1, 7 KO’s, and would end his career with a record of 20-39-1, 9 KO’s. He was your classic journeyman and would fight anyone, anywhere, and anytime. He became a regular on USA’s Tuesday Night Fights, giving the network the rounds it needed to keep the advertisers happy. He was nearly impossible to knock out, only being stopped later on in his career when he was totally spent. In his time, he was one of the toughest losing fighters in boxing.

Martin would get his first notable victory over a 19-2 Bert Cooper in 1988. The first part of his career would be fought at the cruiserweight level and this victory over future heavyweight title challenger, Cooper, would be at that weight. He would move up to heavyweight in his next fight, a knockout loss to Johnny DuPlooy. His next fight would be with former Cruiserweight Champion, Dwight Muhammad Qawi, losing a decision. This would become the trend. Martin became the opponent.

Martin’s style was not exciting or impressive at the 200+ weight. He didn’t pack a big punch and stood in front of his opponents, usually getting close and slowly going through the paces, awaiting the decision loss to be added to his record.

In 1989, George Foreman was at the beginning of his comeback and hand selected Martin for an opponent. It made sense for Foreman because Martin didn’t really represent a threat and anyone that stood in front of George would usually end up seeing stars. Martin held tough and went the full ten rounds, arising from a knockdown in the 8th round to make it to the final bell.

There was never a break for “Bigfoot.” All of the top names would gravitate toward him because they would get rounds and there wasn’t a big threat to lose because the incoming punches didn’t have a lot on them. Gary Mason, future WBO World Champion Francisco Damiani, and former Heavyweight Champion James “Bonecrusher” Smith, all chalked up victories over Martin in the next three outings of “Bigfoot’s” career.

In 1991, Light Heavyweight Champion, Michael Moorer, moved up to heavyweight. He was one of the most feared 175 pounders in the history of boxing, knocking out every opponent and he did that at heavyweight as well, with the exception of a 10 round decision over Mike White. Martin was on his hit list in 1992 and the two would collide on USA’s Tuesday Night Fights. The point was for Moorer to knock out Martin in devastating fashion, but it didn’t happen.

In the third round, Moorer would be on the floor. A counter right hand would land on his chin and deposit him on his rear end. He would get up and win a clear decision, but Martin made his point. He was not to be taken lightly.

Riddick Bowe, the future heavyweight champion, would be the next opponent, just to give you yet another indication of how tough the opposition Martin faced was. A cut would end the fight in the fifth round, but he gave Bowe fits at times. This would lead to the biggest night in the career for Martin.

On July 21st, 1992, top rated heavyweight contender and former champion, Tim Witherspoon, bringing in a record of 37-3, and rated in the top 5. Prior to the fight, Witherspoon acknowledged that it would be a tough fight but that he knew how to stop guys like Martin that were difficult to stop. When he entered the ring, a bloated Witherspoon was outworked by Martin, leading to a split decision victory for the journeyman heavyweight. Al Albert screamed: “He has done it!” After nine straight defeats, he had gotten a win and it was a huge win at the time. Most of the fans of the USA Tuesday Night Fights program were used to Martin and had gotten to know him through his interviews and gutsy performances. He was a likable guy and to see him get this victory over an ill prepared former champion was his just due. It was a great moment in sports history.

Former champion, Tony Tucker would be next up for Martin, and the script that had been written so many times before would be staged and Tucker would walk away with a unanimous decision. Another former champion on the comeback trail, Larry Holmes, would do the same, taking the 10 round fight on the cards. Power-punching future WBO Champion, Herbie Hide, would have to settle for a decision, and Tony Tubbs would do the same.

Martin fought nine former or future world champions in a row. He would take a break in 1996, picking up a win over the 6-6 Dion Burgess, and would go on to beat one time prospect, Derrick Roddy by 10 round decision, but that was the end of the victories for “Bigfoot.” He would lose his next 20 fights.

When you look at some of the names of the people he took on as his career came to an end, it’s no wonder that he didn’t do so well. In 1998, he fought Lance Whitaker (L-8) and future world champion, Wladimir Klitschko (L-8). That same year, he lost to another future world champion, Lamon Brewster (TKO-4). He would fight seven times in 1999, losing to future title challenger Fres Oquendo (L-6), a rematch with Klitschko (TKO-8), and drop decisions to contenders Joe Hipp (L-12), David Bostice (L-10), and Obed Sullivan (L-10).

In 2000, Martin only had 4 fights, all against undefeated contenders. He would lose to Timo Hoffman (L-8), Luan Krasniqi (L-8), future champion Sergei Liakhovich (L-8), and future title challenger Albert Sosnowski (TKO-7).

The last fight of his career was a 4th round TKO loss to future WBA Kingpin, Ruslan Chagaev. At 37 years of age and with 60 fights under his belt, he called it a day. His career, although mostly defeats, is one that is remarkable and impressive. He fought sixteen former or future world champions and many top contenders that would go on to vie for the world title.

Everett “Bigfoot” Martin was one of the most entertaining journeymen ever to lace up the gloves and it had very little to do with his style. You had to respect his heart and ambition to win against all odds. He was the likable underdog in the early 90s, in a time when the heavyweight division was thick with talent, and was able to hang tough later in his career as the up and comers took him on as a stepping stone. I, along with many die hard boxing fans, enjoyed the Bigfoot sightings of the 1990s.

Everett Martin
Nickname: “Bigfoot”
Division: Heavyweight
Professional Record: 20-39-1, 9 KO’s

Date Opponent Location Result

1984-08-29 Tony Garner Houston, US W KO 1
1984-10-09 James Jennings Houston, US W PTS 4
1984-11-17 John Rice Houston, US W UD 4
1984-12-27 Gary Read Dallas, US W KO 5

1985-01-29 James Washington Houston, US W PTS 6
1985-02-20 Tony Orville Beaumont, US W TKO 3
1985-03-30 Isak Sakkie Enslin Sun City, ZA L PTS 6
1985-05-12 Jesse Shelby Tyler, US W UD 6
1985-07-17 Sherman Griffin Houston, US W PTS 6
1985-09-26 John Rice Tyler, US W TKO 3
1985-12-19 James Howard Tyler, US W KO 5

1986-01-22 Bobby Collins Houston, US W PTS 8
1986-03-12 Lawrence Carter Houston, US W TKO 7
1986-06-12 Leo Quintas Harlingen, US W KO 1
1986-07-05 Chuck Walker Conroe, US D PTS 10
1986-09-11 Kelvin Kelly Inglewood, US L SD 10

1987-01-08 Victor Walker Houston, US W KO 2
1987-02-12 Vincent Boulware Houston, US L PTS 12
USA Texas State Light Heavyweight Title
1987-04-09 Tony Willis Houston, US L KO 7

1988-03-05 Greg Gorrell Sulphur Springs, US W PTS 6
1988-03-16 Levi Billups Riverside, US L PTS 6
1988-04-29 Joey Parker Houston, US W PTS 8
1988-06-01 Bert Cooper Atlantic City, US W UD 10
1988-12-18 Johnny DuPlooy Orlando, US L KO 7

1989-05-22 Dwight Muhammad Qawi Atlantic City, US L UD 10
1989-07-20 George Foreman Tucson, US L UD 10

1990-03-14 Gary Mason Kensington, UK L PTS 10
1990-05-05 Pierre Coetzer Green Bay, US L UD 10
1990-10-20 Francesco Damiani Cesena, IT L KO 2

1991-08-06 James Smith San Francisco, US L TKO 8

1992-03-17 Michael Moorer Auburn Hills, US L UD 10
1992-05-08 Riddick Bowe Las Vegas, US L TKO 5
1992-07-21 Tim Witherspoon Auburn Hills, US W SD 10
1992-09-12 Tony Tucker Las Vegas, US L PTS 10

1993-01-05 Larry Holmes Biloxi, US L UD 10
1993-09-18 Herbie Hide Leicester, UK L PTS 10

1994-02-22 Tony Tubbs Auburn Hills, US L UD 10

1996-08-20 Dion Burgess Houston, US W TKO 2
1996-11-02 Marcos Gonzalez Houston, US L UD 10

1997-01-09 Derrick Roddy Humble, US W UD 10
1997-10-18 Ed Mahone Las Vegas, US L TKO 8

1998-02-27 Lance Whitaker Studio City, US L UD 8
1998-03-14 Wladimir Klitschko Wandsbek, DE L UD 8
1998-04-03 Mark Hulstrom Holbaek, DK L UD 6
1998-06-16 Danell Nicholson Biloxi, US L TKO 4
1998-08-15 Lamon Brewster Los Angeles, US L TKO 4
1998-10-01 Cliff Couser Saint Louis, US L UD 10
1998-11-06 Shazzon Bradley Montreal, CA L UD 8

1999-02-13 Willi Fischer Stuttgart, DE L UD 8
1999-03-20 Fres Oquendo Las Vegas, US L UD 6
1999-04-24 Wladimir Klitschko Munich, DE L TKO 8
1999-06-25 Joe Hipp Saint Charles, US L UD 12
vacant World Boxing Federation Heavyweight Title
1999-08-13 Obed Sullivan Bossier City, US L TKO 4
1999-10-07 David Bostice Mount Pleasant, US L UD 10
1999-11-20 Keith McKnight Lavergne, US L UD 10

2000-01-29 Timo Hoffmann Riesa, DE L PTS 8
2000-02-19 Luan Krasniqi Neukoelln, DE L PTS 8
2000-03-28 Siarhei Liakhovich Honolulu, US L UD 8
2000-09-30 Albert Sosnowski Rotterdam, NL L TKO 7

2001-09-21 Ruslan Chagaev Tashkent, UZ L TKO 4

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