Jerry Quarry, a popular heavyweight who fought Muhammad Ali and Floyd Patterson, then eventually lapsed into a punch-drunk fog, died Sunday after being taken off life support. He was 53.
Quarry was hospitalized Dec. 28 with pneumonia and suffered cardiac arrest while at Twin Cities Community Hospital. He died at 3:52 p.m. after family members directed doctors to remove life support.
Quarry, who earned $2.1-million as a top contender in the 1960s and '70s, later was living on Social Security checks. By the age of 50, the pounding he had taken in the ring turned him into a confused, childlike man whose relatives had to take care of him.
The medical name for his condition was dementia pugilistica, severe brain damage caused by repeated blows to the head.
Among the highlights of Quarry's career were two fights against Patterson, the former heavyweight champion. The first ended in a draw, and Quarry won the second on a controversial split decision.
Quarry earned his biggest payday, $338,000, by fighting Ali when Ali returned from his banishment in 1970. Ali battered Quarry in a fight that was called after three rounds. Ali cut Quarry again to win a rematch in seven rounds.