By James Slater
In sad news, it has been reported (though not widely) how always-exciting cruiserweight warrior Ezra Sellers passed away earlier today due to heart problems that only recently surfaced. The 45-year-old who lived in Pensacola, Florida was a humble fighter who let his fists do the talking and fellow fighters such as Roy Jones Junior and Al “Ice” Cole have expressed their sadness at Ezra’s unexpected passing.
Turning pro as a heavyweight after a brief amateur career, Sellers was matched with a 5-0 Bruce Seldon in August of 1989. The future WBA heavyweight champ was a little too much for the green Sellers, stopping him inside two-rounds in Atlantic City. After taking some time to take stock, Ezra, as determined as ever, return to the ring in 1992, winning three fights by quick KO before being TKO’d in the 4th-round by a little-known fighter named Ed Thompson in ’93.
Never a “real” heavyweight, the southpaw who stood just over six-feet tall nevertheless managed the odd win over a capable heavy – beating Marion Wilson and Danny Wofford – and in late 1998 Sellers had an unbelievably exciting slugfest with British-born “Destroyer” Alex Stewart. The two somewhat vulnerable punchers went at it in an amazing 2nd-round, with both men hitting the mat yet coming back fighting hard. The mayhem continued in the 3rd, with Sellers just a punch away from victory until Stewart’s strength and power got the job done in Kansas City. Honestly, you must check this fight out on You-Tube NOW.
After dropping down to cruiserweight, Sellers at last enjoyed some major success. Courtesy of yet another breathtaking slugfest, this one with another Brit in Carl Thompson, Sellers became a champion. Trading knockdowns in their IBO cruiserweight battle of 2001, Sellers and Thompson gave fans a genuine FOTY candidate. Sellers went down twice, Thompson four times. In the end, after a gut wrenching 4th-round, Ezra was the IBO champ. Again, if you haven’t seen this fight, check it out NOW via you know where.
Returning to Europe for his next fight, Sellers met the defensively adept Johnny Nelson. The fight in Denmark saw Sellers score a 4th-round knockdown over WBO boss Nelson (this achievement noteworthy) before the far more experienced Nelson regained control and got the KO in the 8th-round. Despite the loss, Sellers had once again shown how dangerous he could be and how exciting he always was.
Fighting in the U.S from there on in, Ezra traded leather with the likes of Jason Robinson (a 2nd-round TKO win), Kelvin Davis (an 8th-round TKO loss in what was Ezra’s final world title shot, this fight contesting the vacant IBF belt) and O’Neil Bell (a 2nd-round KO defeat in an IBF eliminator).
After picking up a couple of wins over so-so opposition, Sellers fight his last fight, a losing effort, against yet another hard hitter in Emmanuel Nwodo (being stopped in the 2nd) in January of 2008.
Sellers walked away from the ring with a 29-8(26) ledger.
He may never have been a big name, but whether you looked at Sellers as a chinny banger, a limited but gutsy warrior or a nearly man, Ezra proved how he was a world class operator that no fighter could afford to look past. Those fans who saw Sellers leave everything he had in the ring will never forget the incredible action he provided while doing so.
Ezra Sellers: 1968-2013. IBO cruiserweight champ 2001-2002. WBO and IBF title challenger.
Inducted into The Florida Boxing Hall of Fame in 2013