Last updated on November 22, 2021 at 22:19 (UK time)
Don The Cobra Curry – a hard-hitting life
Don Curry said he was ‘as hernia as a joke’. The former two-time world champion, who was recently acquitted of charges of cocaine distribution and money laundering, and fresh from a period in prison for non-payment of child support, told the world he desperately needed money, announcing that he served. and comeback.
The year was 1997, and just months before his 37th birthday, the Hall of Fame boxing legend laced up his gloves again after nearly 6 years out of the ring after leaving a fortune of $ 5 million ($ 16 million in today’s money) earned in a hard-fought 11-year-old career slips him through the fingers.
“I made a lot of mistakes in my life and I pay for them,” Curry said in an interview with Fort Worth-Star-Telegram.
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There were few in the boxing world who had witnessed the exciting arc of his ascent and the slippery slope of his descent who would disagree with this statement.
Whatever the circumstances of his past, Curry looked forward to restoring his fortune in the best and only way he knew how.
“No matter how good I was, I’m better,” he said. “I’m going to shock the world.”
Even those who were seduced by the memory of his former greatness must have known that this was the flimsy hype. And so it turned out. For sadly, there was no Holywood finale for the legend from Fort Worth, Texas. This should not be his rocky-style comeback under the big lights. He did not shake the world up another time. There would be no adventurous ending for the once great Don The Cobra Curry to enjoy.
Curry would fight just twice more. First in a KO victory over punchbag lads, Gary Jones with a record of 3-25, in Winnipeg, Canada, and then barely two months later in a fight that seemed to include his bizarre boxing life, and Currys always present Achilles heel: bad decisions he made in the world outside the ring that would haunt him inside it.
In April 1997, Curry faced his last opponent, Emmett Linton, and saw daggers appearing and spitting blood. The reason for the bad boy looks was that Curry had not only been Linton’s coach and manager, but the two had an argument that developed into a feud that spilled out onto the streets and involved weapons and accusations of treason. Now they shared a ring here.
According to Curry, Linton had spoken to the mother of one of his children, information that indirectly led to his imprisonment for non-payment of child support, a version of events denied by Linton.
The hatred for Linton had built up while Curry was inside, and when he was released from prison, the Cobra came out and meandered and decided that in the boxing world, feuds are just as big. He asked the legendary promoter, Bob Arum, to make a fight between him and Linton inside the ring this time and sell the tickets. Curry’s share of the purse was $ 30,000.
Things did not go according to the script for a severely debilitated Curry suffering from undiagnosed acute pancreatitis when Linton dropped him in the first round and stopped him in the seventh. It was embarrassing and painful to watch. The former champion had nothing left, reduced to fodder for average fighters and fans of freak show entertainment at tacky venues where the once famous see their days in the fading spotlight.
A bitterly disappointed Don Curry returned to the gym and said he ‘hoped to be able to give a better picture of myself in his next match. I was not who I thought I was that night. ‘
However, Curry never got back in the ring.
The fight with Linton became the sad swan song for a star career that promised so much and should have set him up for life. Whoever he thought he was that night against Emmett Linton, the truth was that there was no sting left in Don The Cobra Curry except the one in the tail who was to visit the last injury to the fighter from Texas.
It had started so well for the man from Lone Star State, who would become one of the greatest fighters adorning boxing arenas.
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He was just 21 years old when he won the vacant WBA welterweight title with a unanimous victory over Jun-Suk Hwang. His ascent to the top had been stratospheric, as he apparently effortlessly and effectively stroked all resistance aside.
The boxing world had a new star to marvel at: a ruthlessly efficient technician with impressive speed and grace. Lightning fast on the feet, possessing a devastating body blow and a destructive left hook. Fearless and agile, he destroyed all participants in the division.
The sky was the limit for the boxer, who is now being hailed by many boxing lovers as the undisputed pound-for-pound champion in the world.
Such was his power that only one of his opponents, the excellent Marlon Starling, survived to hear the last bell and still lost unanimously. Curry destroyed Kronk superstar Milton McCrory in less than two rounds by devastating knockout.
And he would share The Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year honors with middleweight king Marvelous Marvin Hagler the same year that Hagler won his epic career-defining battle against Thomas Hearns.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen. He was so good. And then some.
But just as all the slot machines of his life were paying out, he made a host of bad decisions outside the ring, sending him on a path that would eventually lead to the poor condition he finds himself in today.
Curry made the cardinal mistake of repairing what had not broken. And he did it politely.
First, he demoted his manager, Dave Gorman, the Texan car salesman who had spotted him and funded his training and meals from day one to ‘Head of training camp’, reducing his percentage by two-thirds. Next, he halved the salary of his longtime coach, Paul Reyes, and made him an assistant coach. He installed Akbar Muhammad as his manager and promoter.
That decision alone was to cost him his fortune in boxing.
“I trusted the guy and he took my soul from me. He gave me a lot of bad advice.”
The decision to mess with his manager and his longtime coach had an immediate impact. It set off an alarming fall that began on September 27, 1986, when he lost his perfect record and world welterweight titles to one of the heaviest betting underdogs in boxing history, British fighter Lloyd Honeyghan.
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Honeyghan showed a emaciated Don Curry, who had problems with weight, no respect that famous night in Atlantic City, and beat the champion to submission. Beaten, beaten and bloody with a wound that would require twenty stitches, Curry withdrew from the competition on his stool at the end of round 6. Magazine Ring gave it the award as Upset Fight of the Year.
It would not be Curry’s last prize in this category.
Not only did he lose the fight and his titles, but with it, Curry lost the tinge of invincibility that had been his most powerful and confidence-building weapon.
The champion he was, he managed to gather himself in the next two matches, move up to light-middleweight and take the vacant title and make a defense. But when in his next match he challenged Mike McCallum to his WBA lightweight middleweight title, he became the KO in a spectacular way in round 5.
Don Curry had one last hurray, taking the vacant WBC lightweight middleweight title from Italian Gianfranco Rossi, and promptly losing it again to the uneducated Frenchman, Réné Jacquot, who would not have lived with Curry in his prime. Poor discipline, attitude problems and overeating now crept in and disrupted his fight preparations. And once again, Curry was involved in the Ring’s Upset Fight of the Year three years after appearing in the first.
Destructive defeats to Michael Nunn and Terry Norris followed to signal the abrupt end to Curry as a force in boxing, and he retired until his last two fights after jail time, in April 1997, with a record of 34-6, 25. of knockout.
“I did the best I could. I was just a farmer from Fort Worth. I made some bad investments. I borrowed some money. I messed up some money. When people know you have it, they expect you to. give it to them. I blame no one but myself. “
This week, Don Curry’s son, Donald Jnr, sent a heartfelt and heartbreaking tweet about his father’s situation, drawing attention to the ex-master’s poor financial situation and his diagnosis of a worsening mental illness, which he claims was caused by the head. trauma, his father suffered in his career.
‘Hi everyone, I’m speaking on behalf of my father, Donald Curry, today. A champion in the world of boxing, one of the greatest welterweights ever. But today I am asking for help. Not in a monetary way, but to spread awareness, hopefully finding a solution for retired athletes with head trauma and symptoms of CTE. “
The boxing world has begun to mobilize on his behalf, and although full recovery is not an option, it is hoped he can find comfort and support to put him in a better place.
Donald Curry, Cobra of the Lone Star State. The legendary, exciting and awe-inspiring boxing champion. The undisputed pound-for-pound king who tasted the highlights and suffered setbacks in an all-too-familiar story of the hunt for boxing immortality of heroic fighters losing their biggest fights with themselves outside the ring.