Weaver was a member of the United States Marine Corps from 1968 to 1971, and went to Vietnam. During this time he started amateur boxing and training, and notably fought Duane Bobick, a future Navy amateur star. In a fight where both men were down, Weaver was outpointed.
By 1972 Weaver was living and training in California, and took up professional boxing. In his early career, Weaver was considered a journeyman opponent. He was frequently brought in on short notice and overmatched against more experienced and developed contenders, and used as a sparring partner for Muhammad Ali and Ken Norton, who famously nicknamed him "Hercules" due to his top developed muscle definition.
However, after a few losses early on to tough fringe contenders like Howard Smith and even to journeyman Larry Frazier, Weaver showed signs of improvement. He fought both Bobick brothers, losing a debatable 10 round decicison to Rodney, and being stopped on a cut in the 7th to old amateur rival Duane but after decking him.
In 1976 Weaver beat well regarded veteran Jody Ballard, and in 1978 lost two close decisions. First to contender Stan Ward for the California State Heavyweight title, and then to Leroy Jones for the NABF heavyweight title.
In late 1978 Weaver got a new team and manager and reeled off five straight knockouts, two of which came over top ranked opponents. In October 1978 he came off the floor to knock out hard hitting Colombian Bernardo Mercado in 5, and in January 1979 knocked out hulking old foe Stan Ward in 9 to win the USBA heavyweight title.
These wins helped get him a high-profile World title fight with reigning and undefeated WBC champion Larry Holmes in New York's Madison Square Garden in June 1979. New cable channel HBO bought the rights to the fight as Weaver was so lowly-regarded the fight was seen as a mismatch and the networks didn't want anything to do with it (Weaver was 20-8 to Holmes' 30-0).
But Weaver proved far better than expected, however, and gave Holmes a really tough battle. Finally Holmes would rally with that great champion reserve by decking Weaver with sharp uppercut in the 11th and stopping him on his feet in the 12th.
Although Weaver had lost, his surprise showing had made him a deserved high-profile name. Later in the year he was back, retaining his USBA belt with a 12-round decision over Scott LeDoux whom he outboxed rather than slugged with. Using his jab a lot gaining complimentary reviews generally.
In March 1980 fought John Tate for the WBA title, in Tate's backyard of Knoxville, Tennessee. Tate was an amateur star from the 1976 Olympic team. As a pro he had put together a 20-0 record and won the vacant WBA title by decisioning South African Gerrie Coetzee over fifteen rounds, in front of 86,000 hostile fans in Pretoria, South Africa.
Weaver vs. Tate produced one of the divisions finest knock outs ever. The taller Tate dominated Weaver for all the first 10 rounds. But then with sheer determination a battered Weaver suddenly turned it around, pushing Tate backward. But he'd left it too late, according to the commentators, as only 5 rounds remained and Tate was expected to resume his lead. However, with only 40 seconds left in the 15th round, Weaver caught Tate bouncing off the ropes towards him with a truly lethal left hook. It dropped Tate to the canvas out cold for well over a minute. Press pictures showed Tate sound asleep whilst Weaver did a handstand alongside to celebrate.
In October 1980 Weaver made his first defense, traveling to Sun City, South Africa, to fight Gerrie Coetzee. Weaver was hurt and nearly knocked down in the 8th round but rallied down the stretch and knocked Coetzee out in the 13th round. Coetzee, a good boxer/puncher, had never previously been down, amateur or pro.
In 1981 Weaver outpointed the spoiler James "Quick" Tillis over 15 rounds in Chicago to retain his title after a year's inactivity.
After another year's inactivity, Weaver took on highly regarded Michael Dokes in Las Vegas, December 10, 1982. Dokes came out fast and dropped Weaver inside the opening minute. As Weaver covered up on the ropes and Dokes missed a few swings, referee Joey Curtis stopped the fight after 1:03 had passed and awarded Dokes the victory by technical knockout. This caused controversy due to the timing of the stoppage, and many in the arena accused the fight of being fixed. The fight also occurred 28 days following the Ray Mancini-Duk Koo Kim fight in Las Vegas that resulted in Kim's death due to a brain injury and Curtis was said to have been warned by the Nevada State Athletic Commission to protect the health of the boxers in order to avoid another potential fight-related fatality. (ESPN later ranked this the #7 worst bad call by a referee in a fight, doing so in 2008.)
Weaver was given a rematch with Dokes on May 20, 1983, which ended in a 15-round majority draw; judge Jerry Roth gave Dokes a four-point victory while judges Harold Lederman and Larry Hazzard had it even.
In June 1985 Weaver took on Pinklon Thomas, who then held the WBC title. Weaver lost by eighth-round knockout. This would be Weaver's last title challenge although a notable 2nd-round KO of Carl "The Truth" Williams a skilled boxer would follow the defeat to Thomas. Weaver continued to fight for another 15 years. His career ended at the age of 49 with a sixth-round KO rematch loss to Larry Holmes.
|Professional record summary|
|60 fights||41 wins||18 losses|
|60||Loss||41–18–1||Larry Holmes||TKO||6 (10), 0:45||Nov 17, 2000||Coast Coliseum, Biloxi, Mississippi, U.S.|
|59||Loss||41–17–1||Melvin Foster||TKO||9 (10)||Aug 8, 1998||Spirit Lake, North Dakota, U.S.|
|58||Win||41–16–1||Derrick Ryals||UD||10||Mar 27, 1996||Warner Center Marriott, Woodland Hills, California, U.S.|
|57||Win||40–16–1||George O'Mara||UD||12||Jun 21, 1995||Warner Center Marriott, Woodland Hills, California, U.S.||Retained NBA heavyweight title|
|56||Win||39–16–1||Bill Corrigan||RTD||2 (12), 3:00||Sep 17, 1994||Pavilhão do Colégio D. Bosco, Macau, SAR||Won vacant NBA heavyweight title|
|55||Win||38–16–1||Ladislao Mijangos||KO||2 (12), 1:50||Jun 6, 1994||Casino Magic, Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, U.S.||Won vacant International Boxing Authority heavyweight title|
|54||Win||37–16–1||Bert Cooper||UD||10||Feb 27, 1993||Capital Indoor Stadium, Beijing, China||NBA heavyweight title|
|53||Win||36–16–1||Mike Gans||KO||5 (10)||Nov 17, 1992||Bakersfield, California, U.S.|
|52||Loss||35–16–1||Lennox Lewis||KO||6 (10), 1:05||Jul 12, 1991||Caesars Tahoe, Stateline, Nevada, U.S.|
|51||Win||35–15–1||Dion Burgess||TKO||5 (10), 2:58||Jul 18, 1990||Varsity Arena, Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|50||Loss||34–15–1||James Smith||UD||12||Apr 4, 1990||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.||Lost WBA Americas heavyweight title|
|49||Win||34–14–1||Philipp Brown||SD||12||Jul 27, 1989||Felt Forum, New York City, New York, U.S.||Retained WBA Americas heavyweight title|
|48||Win||33–14–1||Lionel Washington||TKO||1 (12), 1:48||May 1, 1989||Great Western Forum, Inglewood, California, U.S.||For vacant WBA Americas heavyweight title|
|47||Win||32–14–1||Bobby Crabtree||KO||3 (10), 2:58||Jan 31, 1989||Country Club, Reseda, California, U.S.|
|46||Loss||31–14–1||Johnny DuPlooy||KO||2 (10)||Apr 30, 1988||Superbowl, Sun City, South Africa|
|45||Win||31–13–1||Johnny DuPlooy||RTD||6 (10)||Nov 28, 1987||Rand Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa|
|44||Win||30–13–1||James Pritchard||TKO||6 (10), 2:30||Aug 24, 1987||Louisville Gardens, Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.|
|43||Win||29–13–1||David Jaco||KO||2 (10)||Jul 29, 1987||Yaounde, Cameroon|
|42||Loss||28–13–1||Donovan Ruddock||SD||10||Aug 23, 1986||Cumberland County Memorial Auditorium, Fayetteville, North Carolina, U.S.|
|41||Loss||28–12–1||James Smith||TKO||1 (10), 2:29||Apr 5, 1986||Coliseum, Colonie, New York, U.S.|
|40||Win||28–11–1||Carl Williams||TKO||2 (10), 2:37||Feb 16, 1986||Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York, U.S.|
|39||Loss||27–11–1||Pinklon Thomas||TKO||8 (12), 1:42||Jun 15, 1985||Riviera, Winchester, Nevada, U.S.||For WBC heavyweight title|
|38||Win||27–10–1||Tony Anthony||DQ||1 (10), 3:00||Nov 9, 1984||Riviera, Winchester, Nevada, U.S.||Anthony disqualified for hitting after the bell|
|37||Win||26–10–1||Billy Joe Thomas||TKO||7 (10), 1:16||Aug 31, 1984||Riviera, Winchester, Nevada, U.S.|
|36||Win||25–10–1||Stan Ward||TKO||9 (15)||Sep 30, 1983||The Forum, Inglewood, California, U.S.|
|35||Draw||24–10–1||Michael Dokes||MD||15||May 20, 1983||Dunes, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.||For WBA heavyweight title|
|34||Loss||24–10||Michael Dokes||TKO||1 (15), 1:03||Dec 10, 1982||Caesars Palace, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.||Lost WBA heavyweight title|
|33||Win||24–9||James Tillis||UD||15||Oct 3, 1981||Horizon, Rosemont, Illinois, U.S.||Retained WBA heavyweight title|
|32||Win||23–9||Gerrie Coetzee||TKO||13 (15), 1:49||Oct 25, 1980||Superbowl, Sun City, South Africa||Retained WBA heavyweight title|
|31||Win||22–9||John Tate||KO||15 (15), 2:15||Mar 31, 1980||Stokely Athletic Center, Knoxville, Tennessee, U.S.||Won WBA heavyweight title|
|30||Win||21–9||Scott LeDoux||UD||12||Nov 24, 1979||Metropolitan Sports Center, Bloomington, Minnesota, U.S.||Retained USBA heavyweight title|
|29||Win||20–9||Harry Terrell||KO||4 (10), 2:14||Sep 22, 1979||Memorial Sports Arena, Los Angeles, California, U.S.|
|28||Loss||19–9||Larry Holmes||TKO||12 (15), 0:44||Jun 22, 1979||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.||For WBC heavyweight title|
|27||Win||19–8||Oliver Philipps||KO||4 (10), 1:52||Mar 2, 1979||Sahara, Reno, Nevada, U.S.|
|26||Win||18–8||Stan Ward||RTD||9 (12), 0:01||Jan 18, 1979||Sahara Hotel and Casino, Winchester, Nevada, U.S.||Won vacant USBA heavyweight title|
|25||Win||17–8||Abdul Khan||KO||2 (10), 2:33||Dec 5, 1978||Sahara, Reno, Nevada, U.S.|
|24||Win||16–8||Bernardo Mercado||TKO||5 (10)||Oct 22, 1978||Sahara, Reno, Nevada, U.S.||Won vacant Nevada heavyweight title|
|23||Win||15–8||Mike Creel||KO||2 (10), 1:44||Sep 17, 1978||Sahara, Reno, Nevada, U.S.|
|22||Loss||14–8||Leroy Jones||UD||12||Aug 19, 1978||Sahara Hotel and Casino, Winchester, Nevada, U.S.||For vacant NABF heavyweight title|
|21||Loss||14–7||Stan Ward||UD||12||Jan 24, 1978||Sacramento, California, U.S.||For vacant California heavyweight title|
|20||Win||14–6||Pedro Lovell||UD||10||Nov 15, 1977||Convention Center, Anaheim, California, U.S.|
|19||Win||13–6||Dave Martinez||KO||1 (10)||Sep 13, 1977||Sports Arena, Anchorage, Alaska, U.S.|
|18||Win||12–6||Bill Sharkey||MD||10||Apr 1, 1977||Beacon Theatre, New York City, New York, U.S.|
|17||Win||11–6||Dwain Bonds||KO||8 (10), 2:58||Jan 19, 1977||Sahara Hotel and Casino, Winchester, Nevada, U.S.|
|16||Win||10–6||Fonomanu Young Sekona||KO||6 (10)||Nov 4, 1976||Circle Star Theater, San Carlos, California, U.S.|
|15||Win||9–6||Jody Ballard||MD||10||Jul 14, 1976||The Aladdin, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.|
|14||Win||8–6||Tony Doyle||TKO||9 (10), 2:13||Jun 27, 1975||Coliseum, San Diego, California, U.S.|
|13||Win||7–6||Mani Vaka||PTS||10||Aug 24, 1974||Neal S. Blaisdell Center, Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.|
|12||Loss||6–6||Duane Bobick||TKO||7 (10)||Jul 26, 1974||Coliseum, San Diego, California, U.S.|
|11||Win||6–5||Orville Qualls||KO||2 (8), 0:57||May 31, 1974||Coliseum, San Diego, California, U.S.|
|10||Loss||5–5||Rodney Bobick||UD||10||Mar 22, 1974||Coliseum, San Diego, California, U.S.|
|9||Win||5–4||Ellis McKinley||PTS||6||Feb 21, 1974||Grand Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, U.S.|
|8||Loss||4–4||Larry Frazier||KO||2 (6), 2:15||Dec 11, 1973||Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, California, U.S.|
|7||Win||4–3||Bob Swoopes||KO||1 (6)||Nov 9, 1973||San Diego, California, U.S.|
|6||Win||3–3||Tony Pulu||KO||2 (6)||Oct 11, 1973||Grand Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, U.S.|
|5||Win||2–3||Lyn Martin||KO||1 (6), 1:30||Sep 10, 1973||The Forum, Inglewood, California, U.S.|
|4||Loss||1–3||Billy Ryan||TKO||2 (4), 1:55||Feb 28, 1973||Warnors Theatre, Fresno, California, U.S.|
|3||Win||1–2||Carlos Lopez||PTS||5||Feb 2, 1973||San Bernardino Arena, San Bernardino, California, U.S.|
|2||Loss||0–2||Howard Smith||PTS||5||Oct 31, 1972||Civic Auditorium, Bakersfield, California, U.S.|
|1||Loss||0–1||Howard Smith||KO||3 (4)||Sep 14, 1972||Grand Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, U.S.||Professional debut|
|Regional boxing titles|
Title last held byEarnie Shavers
|Nevada heavyweight champion
October 22, 1978 – 1981
Title next held byLeroy Caldwell
|New title||USBA heavyweight champion
January 18, 1979 – March 1980
Title next held byGreg Page
|World boxing titles|
|WBA heavyweight champion
March 31, 1980 – December 10, 1982