Ex-heavyweight contender and one-time WBA titlist Greg Page passed away today. He was 50 years old.
Page's career is best remembered for calling out and never fighting heavyweight champ Larry Holmes, and for knocking down Mike Tyson in sparring prior to Tyson's loss to Buster Douglas.
His best win was his 1984 knockout of Gerrie Coetzee, which won him the WBA title. Prior to that he had been the USBA titleholder and had fought Tim Witherspoon earlier in '84 for a shot at the WBC title that that Holmes had vacated to keep the IBF strap. Witherspoon scored an "upset" of Page by majority decision. Prior to Witherspoon, Page's only loss was to Trevor Berbick.
Page also lost to Tony Tubbs and Buster Douglas in 1985. The loss that truly hurt his career was a shocking 9th round TKO against Mark Willis, who came into the bout with just a 5-5-1 record. He was stopped again by Wills in 1990, when Willis' record was 10-9-1.
In 1992, he upset James "Bonecrusher" Smith, but in 1993 he lost to Bruce Seldon and retired.
Page returned to the ring in 1996 and ran over a series of tomato cans. He fought and lost to a young Monte Barrett in '98, but kept fighting. He and Witherspoon clashed again, with Page avenging the earlier defeat. Page settled in as a journeyman, but tragedy struck in 2001 against Dale Crowe. Crowe knocked Page out in the 10th round of the fight officially, but the knockdown "blow" was actually more of a push. Page hit his head on the ring apron and slipped into a coma. Many have alleged the ring was not properly padded. He had suffered brain damage, and though he came out of it, the injuries left him paralyzed on his left side.
Page wound up suing, and the state of Kentucky brought their boxing regulations more in line with federal standards. As part of the settlement, the updated guidelines were named The Greg Page Boxing and Safety Initiative.
Greg Page's career finished with a record of 58-17-1 with 48 knockouts. He was a decorated amater, winning the 1977 and 1978 AAA national championships and the 1978 national Golden Gloves championship. He beat future pro foe Tony Tubbs six of the seven times they met as amateurs.