A star baseball player during his high school years, Norris bypassed a career on the diamond for one in the ring, amassing a stellar 291-4 amateur record and winning 4 Texas State Golden Gloves titles. Displaying a stunning combination of hand and foot speed as well as the ability to throw dizzying combos, Norris' athletic ability was an uncanny attribute in the ring.
Norris turned professional in August 1986. He outpointed future middleweight title holder Quincy Taylor in August 1988. Norris beat future super-middleweight champion Steve Little to win the vacant NABF light-middleweight title in December 1988, and defended it against former IBF title holder Buster Drayton. Norris also picked up two losses; a unanimous decision to Derrick Kelley, and a disqualification loss to Joe Walker in the first round after Norris hit Walker when Walker was down.
In July 1989 at Atlantic City Convention Center, New Jersey, Norris challenged Julian Jackson for the WBA light-middleweight title. Norris won the first round with his speed and movement, but a big right cross from the champion knocked Norris down in round two. Norris made it to his feet before the count but was deemed unfit to continue by referee Joe Cortez.
After winning three comeback fights, including a victory over former welterweight champion Jorge Vaca, Norris traveled to Tampa, Florida, in March 1990 to challenge John Mugabi for the WBC light-middleweight title. Norris wasted no time in stopping the champion, flooring him twice in the first round - the second time for the full count - and thus starting what would be the first of three reigns as champion.
After defending his belt against Rene Jacquot, Norris faced the legendary Sugar Ray Leonard in Madison Square Garden in February 1991. Norris scored two knockdowns and easily beat the faded Sugar Ray via a 12-round unanimous verdict. His next defense, a June victory over another former undisputed welterweight champion - Donald Curry - further cemented Norris' place in the history of the 154-lb division as Norris wore down his foe and knocked him out in the eighth.
Other prominent foes in that first reign included the tough future middleweight titlist Jorge Castro, and two reigning welterweight champions; WBA title-holder Meldrick Taylor, and IBF title-holder Maurice Blocker.
In a shocking upset in December, 1993, Simon Brown, former WBC and IBF welterweight titlist, knocked out Norris in four rounds to win the title and halt Norris' defense streak at ten. Ring magazine named this fight as their "Upset of the Year" for 1993. In their rematch, Norris then regained the title by unanimous decision over Brown in May 1994.
His second reign proved short when he lost the title by disqualification to Luis Santana in November, 1994. The decision to disqualify Norris was controversial. Norris hit Santana in the back of the head and Santana went down, claiming he was unable to continue. Some at ringside, however, felt that Santana refused to get up in order to gain the disqualification win. Because of the controversial nature of the match, a rematch was ordered. Norris also lost the April, 1995, rematch by disqualification, this time for hitting Santana after the bell had sounded to end the round. Norris was given yet another shot at regaining the title, and in their third fight in August of that year, Norris knocked out Santana in two rounds.
In December 1995 Norris won a unanimous decision over hated San Diego rival Paul Vaden to add Vaden's IBF title to his WBC title, plus the vacant Lineal championship. Norris made defenses against former IBF champion Vincent Pettway, Nick Rupa, and Alex Rios, before being stripped of the IBF title in 1997.
Keith Mullings ended Norris's championship career by way of ninth-round stoppage in December 1997, which also ended plans for a superfight with IBF welterweight champion Felix Trinidad.
Norris fought twice more after losing his title. Dana Rosenblatt defeated him by unanimous decision in a middleweight bout and then WBA junior middleweight champion Laurent Boudouani ended his boxing career with a ninth-round knockout.
Norris was elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2005.Once entertaining scholarships to several schools, Norris quit baseball after a brawl on the field. "We were playing another team one day", Norris recalled, "and there were some racial comments made toward me. I was a little thrown off by it. I rushed the guy who said them, and their whole team jumped on me. I put three guys in the hospital, which was the bad thing of it. People said things like, 'Maybe this guy's a troublemaker,' so a lot of my scholarships fell through.
He settled a lawsuit out of court with Don King for a sum of $7.5 million in 2005.
Brother of former WBA cruiserweight champion Orlin Norris.
The speech of Terry Norris was noticeably slurred even in his early thirties and quite startling to anyone who remembered him from just a few years earlier. After his last defeat, the Nevada athletic commission turned him down for a new license, basing its decision on his impaired speech, which was indicative of brain damage.
Norris was known to spar 12 rounds every other day in preparation for fights. Some speculate that this intense training routine is a factor which may have ultimately led to his early expiration as a fighter.
In preparation for his fight against John "The Beast" Mugabi, his strength trainer put Terry on a regimented weight training program. He went on to KO Mugabi and win the WBC super welterweight title. He continued his strength training for the duration of his career.
A source close to the Norris camp is quoted as saying "The best boxing I ever watched live was sparring between the Norris brothers."
Norris is married to Tanya E. Norris
Norris and his wife founded his Foundation The Final Fight to assist former pro boxers who are ill, broke and homeless.
Norris and his wife own World Champion Cardio Boxing, a popular workout program in North