Ray Mercer did not take up boxing until his twenties by which time he was a sergeant in the US Army. Mercer qualified for the Olympic team by winning a split decision victory over Tommy Morrison, a fight that was considerably harder than any he fought in Seoul. Mercer defeated all four of all his Olympic opponents inside the scheduled distance.
He turned professional in early 1989 and went on a run of victories which culminated in the defeat of Francesco Damiani for the World Boxing Organization heavyweight title. After a successful title defence against his old rival Tommy Morrison, who had in the meantime starred in the fifth instalment of the “Rocky” films, he gave up the title to fight a lucrative match against 43-year-old former champion Larry Holmes. Befuddled by the tactics of his veteran opponent, Mercer lost his unbeaten record. His career then suffered a pair of setbacks, firstly he was diagnosed with Hepatitis-B and after returning to the ring he lost to the journeyman Jesse Ferguson. During the bout Ferguson alleged that Mercer offered him a bribe to lose the match but a subsequent police investigation could not prove the allegation. Mercer has continued his boxing career well into his forties but although he has defeated lesser opposition, he has lost to Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis and, in an attempt on his former world title, Wladimir Klitchko.
Mercer has also dabbled without success in kickboxing and mixed martial arts.
|Discipline (Sport) / Event
|NOC / Team
|1988 Summer Olympics
|Heavyweight, Men (Olympic)