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James Albert "Jimmy" Ellis (born February 24, 1940) is a boxer from Louisville, Kentuckymarker. He held the WBA Heavyweight title from 1968 to 1970.

As an amateur, he was trained by Joe Elsby Martin, Sr., at Louisville's Columbia Gym. He turned professional, as a middleweight, in 1961. Early in his career, he was trained and managed by Bud Bruner. With Bruner, he compiled a record of 15-5 (5 KOs), and was ranked #10 in the world as a middleweight.

In 1965, Angelo Dundee became his trainer and manager. Dundee was also the trainer of Muhammad Ali, whom Ellis defeated when the two were young amateurs in Louisville. Ellis not being happy with the way his boxing career was going had written a letter to Dundee asking for his help after seeing what he had done with Muhammad Ali.

By 1966, Ellis was fighting as a heavyweight. When Ali was stripped of the world title for refusing to enter the military, one of the sanctioning bodies, the World Boxing Association, staged an 8-man tournament that featured most of the top heavyweight contenders. Ellis reached the finals by stopping Leotis Martin in nine rounds, and easily winning a decision over Oscar Bonavena. He then captured the vacant title by defeating Jerry Quarry on April 27, 1968 in Oaklandmarker, Californiamarker.

In his only successful title defense, Ellis defeated Floyd Patterson via a controversial 15-round decision on September 14, 1968 in Stockholmmarker, Swedenmarker. On February 16, 1970, Ellis fought Joe Frazier, who was recognized as World Heavyweight Champion by the New York State Athletic Commission, and who had not participated in the WBA tournament, to unify the world title. The undefeated Frazier knocked Ellis down twice in the fourth round, and Dundee stopped the fight before the start of the fifth round. It was the first knockout loss for Ellis.

After winning his next three fights, with Angelo Dundee in his corner, Ellis fought Ali on July 26, 1971 in the Houstonmarker Astrodomemarker, and was stopped in round twelve; it was the only fight in Ali's career in which Dundee was not his cornerman. After a string of losses to contenders Earnie Shavers and Ron Lyle, Ellis fought a rematch with Frazier in March, 1975, and was stopped after the ninth round. His last fight was on May 6, 1975, which he won by a knockout in the first round. He retired with a record of 40-12-1 (24 KOs).

Despite suffering from dementia pugilistica, he remained active in the Louisvillemarker community, working with youth groups, senior citizens and young aspiring fighters. His son, Jeff, played football at The Ohio State University in the late 1980's.


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