Hailing from San Diego, California, “Terrible” Terry Norris was a boxer who was a regular fixture in the super welterweight division at the global stage.
Born June 17, 1967, in Lubbock, Texas, Norris pursued sports at an early age. He would first pursue baseball during high school and actually excelled. However, he fell in love with boxing and was a standout in the amateur ranks. Before turning pro in August 1986, he racked up a 291-4 record and won the Texas State Golden Gloves four times.
His incredible speed would serve him well in a transition to the ring. When he debuted, he took on a match a month and started off with a six-match winning streak. That streak reached twelve straight wins the following year. Each bout remained under four rounds with most ending in KO or referee stoppage.
March Towards Boxing Gold
It was his thirteenth bout that ended this streak. Derrick Kelly took him to a 10-round decision in August 1987. Terry Norris was on a shaky path to recover, suffering a second loss in his fifteenth bout to Joe Walker by disqualification. He would manage to recover his fighting form and pick up the NABF Light Middleweight title in December 1988. After his first defense, he looked like a strong contender for IBF, WBA, and WBC gold.
He would be put to the test against “The Hawk” Julian Jackson in July 1989 for the WBA Light Middleweight belt. Terry Norris would fall in the second round following a strong first round in his favor.
Terrible Terry finally picked up world championship gold after defeating John Mugabi in one-round during their March 1990 encounter. He would defend the championship for three years—one being a 1991 bout against Sugar Ray Leonard—before falling to Simon Brown in December 1993. Norris would regain the belt in their May 1994 rematch.
The Santana Trilogy
He lost the belt a second time later in 1994 when he ran into Luis Santana. The match ended in a fifth-round DQ due to a punch to the back of the head. Santana’s win came off as dubious as he went down and was said to have simply stayed down for the DQ win.
Their rematch in April 1995 ended in similar fashion with a third-round disqualification after Norris caught the champion with a punch after the bell. The third time would be the charm as Terry Norris was able to defeat Santana in two rounds in August 1995.
Following his win over Luis Santana, Norris would successfully defend the WBC World Light Middleweight title six-times. He also picked up the IBF and lineal Light Middleweight belts and defended them collectively. This would be his last title reign as he eventually lost the WBC and lineal titles at the end of 1997 to “The Brooklyn Assassin” Keith Mullings in nine rounds of action.
It would be an indication that the end was probably near as he lost his following two bouts, the final being a shot at the elusive WBA Light Middleweight title. He retired after the November 1998 loss, vacating the IBF title. He would attempt to get a boxing license in 2000 but was denied. In 2012 it was reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal that Norris was suffering from CTE and Parkinsonism.
In 2005, Terry Norris joined many of his contemporaries in the International Boxing Hall of Fame. His record was 56 fights with 47 wins—31 of those coming by way of knockout.
-Highlight Reel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q69xCgbjR4c