Title Challenger, Olympian Rhoshii Wells Dead at 31
By Ryan Songalia
BoxingScene is sad to report that former junior middleweight contender Rhoshii Shepperd Wells was killed yesterday in Las Vegas. He was 31 years old. Wells leaves behind six children.
According to sources, he was gunned down walking through a bad Las Vegas neighborhood with his son. An altercation broke out leaving Wells with a gunshot wound to the torso. Wells' son was not harmed in the incident.
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and Clark County Coroner's Office both confirm the passing of Wells. According to a police report, officers and emergency medical personnel responded yesterday to a call at 5:42 PM local time that a man had been shot at the apartments at 531 North Lamb Boulevard.
That man was later identified as "The Great One" Rhoshii Wells. Wells was transported to University Medical Center where he later died.
Today law enforcement agencies are on the hunt for a man nicknamed "Tallulah" in connection with the crime. He is described as being an African-American male in his late 20s with a medium build, close cropped hair and a Louisiana accent. He was last seen driving a late model red four door compact car with a temporary license plate taped to the rear window. He is considered armed and dangerous and should not be approached.
"He was a friend to everybody," remembered former WBO heavyweight titlist Lamon Brewster, who had been friends with Wells since 1993 and described their relationship as being like brothers. "He was just that type of guy that you liked him in the ring, out of the ring. It's sad because he has six kids and his kids will never get to know how great of a man their father was.
"He never got the credit that he should have got. He's a much better fighter than people knew he was. He was like a shining star that never got to shine."
A native of Austin, TX, Rhoshii, whose name was a takeoff of Ahmad Rashad, one of his father Frederick's favorite athletes, earned a spot on the 1996 Olympic team as a middleweight at age 19.
"This is great," Wells told the Austin American-Statesman in 1996. "Knowing that there are only 12 people going to the Olympics (in boxing) and I'm one of the 12."
Though he had little international experience, Wells won his first three bouts before losing to eventual gold medalist Ariel Hernández of Cuba. He would walk away with the bronze.
Wells moved his base of operation to Las Vegas to begin his pro career, which kicked off with a four-round decision win over Cordell Parker in July of 1997.
The notoriety of being a member of the Olympic squad provided few dividends in the paid ranks for Wells. Often buried on the undercards of better known fighters, Wells wouldn't get his big shot until 2003, when he challenged then-undefeated Alejandro "Terra" Garcia for the WBA light-middleweight title. Wells was stopped after the tenth round.
Two years later Wells fought a rematch with Garcia, losing by ninth round stoppage. That would be Wells' final fight, finishing his career with a 18-2-2 (10 KO) record.
Wells was tabbed to take part in The Contender Season 3, but never competed after failing a reaction test on the first episode.
After being inspired by the Rocky movies, Wells begged his father to let him box. His father relented and at age 11 brought him down to the Pan Am Boxing Center to pursue the sport.
At 16 Wells and his family relocated to Riverdale, GA to better acquaint themselves with Atlanta, where the 1996 Olympics were held. There Wells hooked up with Evander Holyfield who agreed to pay for Wells' travel and training expenses for the '96 Games.
Anyone with information is urged to contact either the Homicide Section at (702) 828-3521 or Crime Stoppers at (702) 385-5555.