Trevor Berbick Ordered From Canada
HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (AP) _ Trevor Berbick, the former heavyweight champion who beat Muhammad Ali in the boxing great’s final fight, faces deportation and was ordered to return to his native Jamaica.
Canadian authorities took the action because Berbick was stripped of his landed immigrant status last summer for a series of criminal convictions.
Ron Heisler of Citizenship and Immigration Canada said the 45-year-old boxer was ordered from the country last August because of his ``criminality.″
``He is no longer a landed immigrant,″ he told The Canadian Press from his office in Halifax. ``Once he was ordered deported, his status was revoked.″
Berbick, who returned to Canada about a year ago after living for more than a decade in Florida, is appealing the decision and has a March 8 hearing.
Berbick won the Canadian heavyweight title Feb. 6 in Montreal, but authorities say he should not have even been allowed to fight for the crown because of his legal trouble.
The Canadian Professional Boxing Federation requires that anyone who fights for one of its titles be either a Canadian citizen or a landed immigrant.
Berbick said he has no fear of what the future might bring.
``Nothing’s going to happen to me,″ Berbick told the Montreal Gazette on Wednesday night from his Montreal residence.
``I’m a citizen of the world. I have no problem living anywhere in the world; anywhere where God wants me to live.
``I won the title in the ring. I want to be champ. I don’t worry about the allegations. I’m a clean man,″ Berbick professed.
Berbick was convicted in 1992 of raping a family baby sitter in Florida. He was sentenced to four years in prison and resurfaced in Canada shortly after his release about a year ago.
He also was convicted in 1992 of second-degree grand theft for forging his ex-wife’s signature to get a $95,000 mortgage on his Florida home.
A year earlier, he was convicted of misdemeanor assault for attacking his former business manager, who testified Berbick put a gun to her head and accused her of stealing $40,000 from him.
Ron Hayter, president of the Canadian federation, said his group didn’t question how Berbick could have returned to Canada. It also didn’t seek proof of his immigration status before sanctioning the title fight.
``He always represents himself as a Canadian,″ Hayter said. ``The assumption was he is a Canadian boxer like he was before.
``Certainly there were no objections raised whatsoever at any step of the way.″
Hayter said the federation will await the outcome of Berbick’s appeal before deciding whether to strip him of his title.
Berbick moved to Halifax after fighting for Jamaica at the 1976 Montreal Olympics. He left for Florida in the early 1980s after wins over John Tate and Ali put him in line for a shot at the world title.
He beat Ali in 1981 in the Bahamas, a 10-round decision in a non-title fight that sent Ali into retirement. Berbick won the title in 1986 by beating WBC champion Pinklon Thomas.