Boxing Across the Nation: Delaware- The Night Dave Tiberi Almost Shocked the World
Boxing has been apart of the American sports scene since the 1700s by way of England. It started by infiltrating the larger port towns before eventually working its way into the lexicon of America. Boxing started as an illegal sport which saw it’s athletes arrested. Now it showcases some of the most talented combat sports athletes in the world. We will embark on a 50 part saga exploring the best boxers representing the United States. Some states will have more athletes to choose from than others but the journey will be quite the ride. Let’s embark on the journey looking at an interesting fighter from each state.
Check out the six states we have covered by clicking below:
We have made it to the eighth state in our 50 part series (covering in alphabetical order), Delaware. The nation’s first state, Delaware, is ranked 45th in population. Normally a state so far down the population list makes it difficult to find a boxer to spotlight. One of their own has an interesting story to tell. On February 08, 1992, Delaware native Dave Tiberi, almost defeated the IBF and lineal middleweight champion of the world, James Toney. The bout took place in the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
So Who is Dave Tiberi?
The boxing pride of New Castle, Delaware, Dave Tiberi, began his professional career in July 1985 in the middleweight division. Leading up to that fateful night of February 08, 1992, he earned a record of 22-2-3. In his bout with Eddie Hall in January 1991, Tiberi won via fourth-round knockout to claim the IBC Super Middleweight Championship. With this championship, he became Delaware’s first boxing world champion. Therefore, with the victory, the unknown Tiberi earned the next shot in line against the lineal and IBF middleweight champion. James Toney.
The Night That Almost Was
February 08, 1992, Tiberi entered the ring for a chance of a lifetime, taking on the undefeated 28-0, James Toney, inside the Trump Taj Majal in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Toney was entering the bout defending the IBF title for the fourth time. In an extremely close contest, which went to a split decision, Judge Frank Garza scored it Toney 115-112. Judge Bill Lerch scored it Toney 115-112 and judge Frank Brunette scored it Tiberi 111-117. ABC commentator, Alex Wallau, stated the decision was, “the most disgusting decision I’ve ever seen.”
The outrage was so intense on the outcome of the bout that then-Delaware US Senator Bill Roth launched an investigation into potential corruption in the sport of boxing. The bills proposed by Roth called for a non-profit, federal commission who would register anyone working in the sport, set minimum health and safety standards, and establish rules to prevent conflict of interest. This was prompted by the launched investigation discovering two of the three judges (Frank Garza and Bill Lerch) were not even licensed in the state of New Jersey to judge.
Above all for Tiberi’s fans, it led to his early retirement at the age of 25. According to Leadership Delaware, Tiberi has been quite the contributor back to his community. Today he is President of Emergency Response Protocol (ERP), a security company serving a multi-state area. ERP focuses on bringing safety and security to all areas of Business, Schools, non-profit, and Government. Tiberi is also the founder of the Delaware Decision Makers which is a gathering of leaders that meet monthly network and then hear a panel discussion on topics that will move Delaware forward. In 2012, he was named one of the most 50 influential Delawareans of the past 50 years.