NEW YORK -- Tim Witherspoon admitted Wednesday to smoking marijuana before his Jan. 17 title bout against Tony Tubbs and asked for leniency from the World Boxing Association.
Witherspoon said he smoked marijuana around two months before winning the WBA crown from Tubbs in Atlanta. On Tuesday, Witherspoon and promoter Don King were notified by the Georgia Boxing Commission that traces of marijuana were found in his post-fight urinalysis.
Witherspoon said he smoked marijuana to help celebrate his signing for the Tubbs' fight.
'I was at home with a bunch of my friends in Philadelphia,' he said. 'They said 'Tim, you have a chance to make history, let's go have a party.' I smoked a joint.
'I would never know it would trace up so many months later.'
Witherspoon, who briefly held the World Boxing Council title in 1984, joined Floyd Patterson and Muhammad Ali as the only two-time heavyweight champs.
Witherspoon apologized to King and said he has learned his lesson.
'It will never happen again,' he said at a hastily-called press conference at King's office. 'I think I let Don down, I assured him I wasn't on drugs. I want to be an example to children; I let them down.'
King, his son Carl King -- who manages Witherspoon -- and the WBA champion will meet Monday morning with Georgia commission chairman Lanny Franklin.
Although Witherspoon, 28, presumably faces being stripped of his title, he and King said they are hoping he will not be punished by the WBA.
King aid Franklin told him the samples were sent away for retesting and those results would be known by Monday. King also said he notified WBA general counsel James Binns of the situation.
Neither Binns nor the Georgia Commission could be reached for comment.
Witherspoon, who won a 15-round decision over Tubbs, said he smoked marijuana before Thanksgiving and not again before the fight.
King pointed to WBA lightweight champion Livingston Bramble, who tested positively after beating Ray Mancini last February, and was not punished. Bramble claimed medication for a cold caused the postive testing.
'There have not been any charges leveled yet,' King said. 'All we know is traces of marijuana were found in the urine of Tim Witherspoon.'
King said the incident will prompt him to periodically test fighters in his camp. King said if fighters test positive, they will not be permitted to fight for him.
'I'll take impromptu urinalysis tests of my fighters to make sure they walk the straight and narrow,' King said. 'I'm aiming for prevention rather than cure. I urge all other promters to do likewise.'
'I want to be the first to be tested,' Witherspoon said. 'Test me tomorrow, test me the next day, keep testing me.'
King and Witherspoon said the fighter has suffered enough by admitting his guilt and deserves no futher punishment.
'I think he deserves another chance,' King said.
'I'm not a criminal, I was never suspended from school,' Witherspoon said. 'I just made a mistake, you got other people walking the street after committing murder.'