Donald Curry

Donald Curry (born September 7, 1961) is a retired boxer from Fort Worth, Texas. Nicknamed the "Lone Star Cobra," Curry was the Undisputed World Welterweight Champion and the WBC Super Welterweight Champion.


Amateur career

Curry's amateur record has been listed as 400-4 and 400-6. Curry thinks he might have had more than 404 bouts, but he is sure he had only four losses.[1]

Amateur achievements

  • 1977 National Junior Olympics Champion (132 lbs)
  • 1978 National AAU Champion (139 lbs)
  • 1979 National AAU Champion (147 lbs)
  • 1980 National Golden Gloves Champion (147 lbs)
  • 1980 World Cup Champion (147 lbs)
  • 1980 U.S. Olympic Team Member (147 lbs). Curry defeated Davey Moore at the U.S. Olympic Trials, but didn't get to compete at the 1980 Olympics due to the U.S. boycott.[2]

Early professional career

Curry turned professional on December 26, 1980, knocking out Mario Tineo in the first round. On May 5, 1982, with a record of 11-0, Curry knocked out Bruce Finch in three rounds to win the NABF Welterweight Championship. He fought Marlon Starling, the USBA Welterweight Champion, on October 24, 1982. Curry bruised his ribs during training and also had a lot of trouble making weight: He reportedly was nine pounds over the welterweight limit less than a week before the fight. Despite these problems, Curry won by a twelve-round split decision.[3]

World Welterweight Champion

On February 13, 1983, Curry defeated Jun-Suk Hwang by a fifteen-round unanimous decision to win the WBA Welterweight Championship, which had become vacant after the retirement of Sugar Ray Leonard. Three months later, Curry's older brother, Bruce, won the WBC Super Lightweight Championship. They were the first pair of brothers to hold world titles simultaneously.[4]

After making his first title defense, a first-round knockout of Roger Stafford, Curry had a rematch with Starling. Curry, mixing up punches to the body and head, stayed on top of Starling and pounded out a fifteen-round unanimous decision to retain the titles of the WBA and the newly formed IBF, which elected to recognize Curry as their champion before the fight.[5]

Curry's next three fights were successful title defenses. He stopped Elio Diaz in eight, Nino LaRocca in six, and Colin Jones in four. His next two fights were non-title fights at junior middleweight. He stopped James "Hard Rock" Green in two and Pablo Baez in six.

On December 6, 1985, Curry fought Milton McCrory, the undefeated WBC Welterweight Champion, to unify the welterweight titles. In the second round, Curry slipped a McCrory left jab and countered with a left hook to the chin that sent McCrory down. McCrory struggled to rise. When he did, Curry dropped him again with a solid right cross. Referee Mills Lane counted him out. Curry became the first Undisputed World Welterweight Champion since Sugar Ray Leonard.[6]

Curry's first defense of the Undisputed Championship was in his hometown of Fort Worth, Texas. His opponent was Eduardo Rodriguez, whom he knocked out in the second round with a crashing left-right combination.[7] Curry was 25-0 with 20 knockouts, and many boxing experts considered him to be the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world.[8]

Fall from grace

His next defense of the title was to be against London-based Jamaican Lloyd Honeyghan on September 27, 1986. Curry's preparations for the fight were badly disrupted by contractural arguments between his manager David Gorman from whom he wished to end his association and his preferred choice as manager the Newark, New Jersey raised Akbar Muhammad whom he announced as his manager in March 1986.[9]Curry's original hope had been a fight against former middleweight champion Sugar Ray Leonard who had opted instead for a fight against Marvin Hagler and there seems little doubt that the unregarded Honeyghan was seriously underestimated.[10]

The challenger Honeyghan was very confident, betting $5000 on himself at 5-1 odds and he easily won the opening two rounds, pressuring Curry and rocking him badly in the second round. Curry came back to win the next two rounds, but after that, he had little left. Curry had difficulty making weight. "I was weak and sluggish," Curry said. "I had no strength in my legs, and my timing just wasn't there. I wasn't myself." Honeyghan manhandled Curry in rounds five and six. Late in the sixth, an accidental headbutt opened a bad cut over Curry's left eye. He retired on his stool, choosing not to come out for the seventh round. The fight was The Ring magazine Upset of the Year.[11]

In his next fight, Curry defeated Tony Montgomery to win the USBA Junior Middleweight Championship. Montgomery was disqualified in the fifth round for intentional headbutts. Curry's next opponent, Carlos Santos, was also disqualified in the fifth round for intentional headbutts.

Curry fought WBA Junior Middleweight Champion Mike McCallum on July 18, 1987. McCallum, 31-0 with 28 knockouts, was boxing's longest reigning champion. Curry boxed well and was leading on all three scorecards after four rounds. In the fifth, McCallum caught Curry on the chin with a left hook, putting down for the count. "I don't know what he hit me with," Curry said forty minutes after the fight. "I don't know what happened."[12]

Curry got another title shot on July 8, 1988. He traveled to Italy to fight Gianfranco Rosi for the WBC Super Welterweight Championship. Curry put him down five times, and Rosi retired on his stool after the ninth round.[13] Curry was once again a champion, but his reign didn't last very long. He lost the title in his first defense, dropping a twelve-round unanimous decision to Rene Jacquot on February 11, 1989 in France. Curry built an early lead, but Jacquot came on late. "I just got tired. I just got tired," Curry kept repeating afterward. The fight that was named The Ring magazine Upset of the Year.[14]

He went back to France to fight IBF Middleweight Champion Michael Nunn on October 18, 1990. Nunn stopped him in ten rounds.[15] Curry's next fight was another title fight. He went back to junior middleweight to fight Terry Norris for the WBC title. The fight took place June 1, 1991 in Palm Springs, California. It was a rough and competitive fight for seven rounds. In the eighth, Norris put Curry down for the count with a series of right hands. Curry retired after the fight.[16]

Legal troubles

In April 1994, Curry, along with Darrell Chambers and William Longstreet, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Detroit on drug conspiracy charges. The ten-count indictment charged them with conspiracy to distribute cocaine, possession with intent to distribute cocaine, money laundering and being part of a continuing criminal enterprise. "My God, I don't know anything about this," Curry said. "I'm guilty by association. I've never, never ever had anything to do with drugs. I knew Stanley Longstreet and Darrell Chambers as boxers. I know nothing about any drug ring. I'm stunned."[17]

In January 1995, Curry was acquitted on all charges, Chambers was found guilty and Longstreet took a plea deal. "I have been systematically...lynched and then castrated by, first, the news media, and then by the criminal justice system," Curry said afterward. He also said paying for his legal defense destroyed him financially.[18]

In March 1996, Curry was jailed for failing to pay child support. He won work release soon afterward, but that was revoked after he again failed to make support payments. He served six weeks of a six-month sentence.[19]

Return to boxing

In need of money, Curry returned to boxing. "This comeback is about a lot of things, but the bottom line is money," he said. "I wouldn't do this if I didn't need the money."[20] Curry's first comeback fight was in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada on February 20, 1997. He knocked out Gary Jones in four rounds.

Curry's next fight was against Emmett Linton, who was one of the boxers Curry trained after he retired from boxing. The Linton fight wasn't just about money: It was personal.

Curry had been Linton's manager and trainer. The two had a falling out in 1993. Linton said he didn't like the way Curry was handling his career. Their feud really erupted when Curry accused Linton of giving information to the mother of one of his children about his finances, which Linton denied. The two got into a fight and guns were drawn but not used. Curry filed charges, but they were later dropped. Shortly afterward, Curry went to jail for failure to pay child support.

When Curry started his comeback, he asked promoter Bob Arum to get him a fight with Linton. Knowing that a good feud can sell a fight, Arum made the match. The fight took place at The Aladdin in Las Vegas, Nevada on April 9, 1997.[21][22]

Curry was no match for Linton. He was dropped in the first round and took a beating over the next six. Referee Richard Steele stopped the fight in the seventh round. "I just didn't have it," Curry said. "I'm finished. I'll never box again."[23] He retired with a record of 34-6 with 25 knockouts.

During this comeback, Curry did not realize he had undiagnosed kidney failure and pancreatitis.


Named The Ring magazine Fighter of the Year for 1985 (along with Marvin Hagler).

See also

External links


  1. ^ Kentucky (Hopkinsville) New Era December 22, 1984
  2. ^ Donald Curry's Record at Cyber Boxing Zone
  3. ^ The Day (New London, Conn.) October 24, 1982
  4. ^ Lexington (KY) Herald Leader September 7, 1986
  5. ^ Spartanburg (S.C.) Herald-Journal February 5, 1984
  6. ^ Sports Illustrated December 16, 1985
  7. ^ Chicago Sun Times March 10, 1986
  8. ^ Ocala (FL) Star-Banner January 4, 1988
  9. ^ Texas Monthly Jul 1987
  10. ^ Texas Monthly Jul 1987
  11. ^ Sports Illustrated October 6, 1986
  12. ^ Sports Illustrated July 27, 1987
  13. ^ The Telegraph (Nashua, NH) July 9, 1988
  14. ^ The Victoria (TX) AdvocateFebruary 12, 1989.
  15. ^ The New York Times October 19, 1990
  16. ^ Sports Illustrated June 10, 1991
  17. ^ Rome (GA) News-Tribune April 29, 1984
  18. ^ Fort Worth (TX) Star Telegram January 28–29, 1995
  19. ^ Sarasota (FL) Herald-Tribune April 29, 1996
  20. ^ Las Vegas Sun February 10, 1997
  21. ^ The Las Vegas Review-Journal April 6, 1997
  22. ^ The Seattle Times July 8, 1997
  23. ^ New York Daily News April 10, 1997
Preceded by
Sugar Ray Leonard
WBA Welterweight Champion
February 13, 1983 - September 27, 1986
Succeeded by
Lloyd Honeyghan
Preceded by
Inaugaral champion
IBF Welterweight Champion
February 4, 1984 - September 27, 1986
Succeeded by
Lloyd Honeyghan
Preceded by
Milton McCrory
WBC Welterweight Champion
December 6, 1985 - September 27, 1986
Succeeded by
Lloyd Honeyghan
Title last held by
Sugar Ray Leonard
World Welterweight Champion
The Ring Welterweight Champion

December 6, 1985 - September 27, 1986
Succeeded by
Lloyd Honeyghan
Preceded by
Gianfranco Rosi
WBC Super Welterweight Champion
July 8, 1988 - February 11, 1989
Succeeded by
Rene Jacquot

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