Li Zhong was from Dingyuan, Haozhou. He made a living by performing in the streets and selling medicine. He was strong and muscular, thus earning him the nickname 'Tiger-fighting general' (打虎将).
Li Zhong once taught Shi Jin martial arts and they met in Weizhou once again along with Lu Zhishen (Lu Da) after Shi Jin had become an outlaw. Lu Zhishen was hot-tempered by nature and he killed Butcher Zheng, a local bully in Weizhou, with merely just three punches. Later, Lu Zhishen became a monk on Wutai Mountain to avoid arrest. Li Zhong also left Weizhou and he passed by Taohua Mountain. Zhou Tong, the chief of the bandits on Taohua Mountain attacked Li Zhong and tried to rob him, but was defeated by Li instead. Zhou Tong was impressed and agreed to give up his position and allow Li Zhong to be the new chief, which Li agreed.