A lot has been written about the meaning of the world heavyweight title in recent years and what more versions have done to dilute its magnitude.
But what happened on August 30th of 1993 threatened the very status of the greatest prize in the sport.
As Tommy Morrison prepared for the first defense of the belt he took from George Foreman in his hometown of Kansas City, opponent Carl Williams refused to make his way to the ring.
This left Morrison in a tough spot with just over an hour to go until the first bell. Luckily for ‘The Duke’, he had a back-up plan.
Tim Tomashek was drafted in to be present just in case something happened to threaten the main event.
Now, tales from some journalists at that time would have you believe Tomashek was just some random guy pulled out of the crowd to fight. But we know the then 28-year-old was aware this possibility could happen.
‘Doughboy’ – as he was affectionately known, still didn’t believe Williams would be unable to compete. Due to this, Tomashek participated in the ‘drinking of a few brewski’s’ as he settled in to watch the fight.
In researching the contest, WBN could find no evidence to back up claims that Tomashek was set to work the corner of Williams. He was simply the arranged substitute as far as what we could gather.
None-the-less, he was called upon very late in the day. Tomashek just looked happy to be there.
As the first bell rang, a shout wailed from the crowd of, ‘Tommy don’t hurt him’ as Morrison landed a first jab of the bout.
Tomashek then reeled off a combination to the delight of those cheering for the underdog. It was a crazy situation to find yourself in, especially with a belly full of beer.
In the end, the fight went the way it was supposed to. Morrison got the job done at the end of the fourth.
As he walked to the wrong corner after a knockdown, Tomashek was seated and surrounded by a concerned entourage.
Threats to pull him out of his big moment followed and the challenger protested to carry on by saying, ‘oh, come on!’ – He clearly wanted his moment in the spotlight to last a bit longer.
Detrimental to his health, the correct call was made and Tomashek wasn’t allowed out for the fifth.
All fun and games at the time and seen as an event-saving decision to bring Tomashek in, something like this would never happen today.
Rumors the WBO pulled their sanctioning afterward are unable to be backed up by records. They still show the bill-topper as a bonafide title fight.
Can you image heavyweight rulers Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua, or ex-champ Deontay Wilder being allowed to do similar today? – It simply wouldn’t happen.
Tomashek got his twelve minutes of fame, though. He will forever be fondly remembered for his guts in taking a beating.