Begin New Search
Refine Last Search
Cemetery Lookup
Add Burial Records
Help with Find A Grave

Find all Tates in:
 • Edmondson Cemetery
 • West Memphis
 • Crittenden County
 • Arkansas
 • Find A Grave

Top Contributors
Success Stories
Community Forums
Find A Grave Store

Log In
John "Big John" Tate
Birth: Jan. 29, 1955
Crittenden County
Arkansas, USA
Death: Apr. 9, 1998
Knox County
Tennessee, USA

Boxer. Born in Marion, Arkansas. John lost in the finals of the 1975 National Golden Gloves to Emory Chapman. He lost in the quarterfinals the next year in a split decision to Michael Dokes. He would return to win against Dokes in the Olympic Trials by decision, and beat 1976 National AAU Champion Marvin Stinson to advance to the Olympic team. He also beat future heavyweight champion Greg Page by 2 close decisions, one in the quarterfinals of the 1975 National Golden Gloves tournament. His boxing career started with a captured bronze medal at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, losing to Olympic boxing legend Teˇfilo Stevenson. Under the direction of Knoxville trainer Ace Miller, "Big John" Tate turned pro. He quickly dispatched the likes of Duane Bobick and Bernardo Mercado to earn a title shot against Gerrie Coetzee. Tate, a black man, took on the white South African for the World Boxing Association title on Oct. 20, 1979, in Pretoria, South Africa. He captured the vacant WBA title on October 20, 1979 by defeating Gerrie Coetzee by decision, succeeding Muhammad Ali, who had relinquished the title that summer. John lost the title to Mike Weaver in his first defence just five months later. John fought more bouts but soon became addicted to cocaine. He eventually was reduced to roaming the Old City in search of money and drugs. He was arrested repeatedly through the 1990s for various offenses, mostly involving drugs. He died in 1998 at the age of 43 when the pickup he was driving crashed into a utility pole. An autopsy revealed that he died of a stroke caused by a brain tumor. John had convulsions and blacked out, causing the wreck. John's professional career record was 34-3, with 23 wins by knockout. He had his final fight in 1988. (bio by: Shock) 
Edmondson Cemetery
West Memphis
Crittenden County
Arkansas, USA
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: harold garth
Record added: May 21, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 70188624
John Big John Tate
Added by: Shock
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

 Added: Oct. 16, 2015
My first time meeting my brother was at Prairie View University. John came to see me play, that was in 1997. I was amazed. Now that he is gone, I still remember that day over and over in my head. Thank the lord I had the opportunity to meet my oldest brot...(Read more)
- Autry Matthews
 Added: Jun. 8, 2015
Rest in Peace forever.
- harold cartwright
 Added: Jan. 3, 2015
There are 2 more notes not showing...
Click here to view all notes...
Do you have a photo to add? Click here
How famous was this person?
Current ranking for this person: (3.9 after 14 votes)

Privacy Statement and Terms of Service