Donald Curry

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For other people named Donald Curry, see Donald Curry (disambiguation).
Donald Curry
Real name Donald Sample
Nickname(s) Lone Star Cobra
Rated at Welterweight
Height 5 ft 9.5 in (176.5 cm)
Nationality USA
Born (1961-09-07) September 7, 1961 (age 53)
Fort Worth, Texas
Stance orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights 40
Wins 34
Wins by KO 25
Losses 6

Donald Curry (born September 7, 1961) is a retired boxer from Fort Worth, Texas, United States. Nicknamed the "Lone Star Cobra," Curry was the undisputed world welterweight champion and the WBC super welterweight champion.

Amateur career[edit]

Curry's amateur record is usually listed as 400-4, but it is sometimes listed as 396-4 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[edit]

  • 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 he didn't get to compete at the Olympics in Moscow due to the U.S. boycott.[2]

Professional career[edit]

Early years[edit]

Curry, at age 19, won his professional debut with a first-round knocked of Mario Tineo on December 26, 1980. "I didn't start thinking about turning pro until I was about 18," Curry said. "I didn't pay attention to the pro game. I couldn't have told you the names of more than two world champions, and they were Ray Leonard and Muhammad Ali." [3]

With a record of 11-0, Curry knocked out former world title challenger Bruce Finch in three rounds to win the NABF welterweight title on May 5, 1982.

Curry fought future WBA/WBC welterweight champion Marlon Starling for the USBA welterweight championship 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 147-pound welterweight limit less than a week before the fight. Despite these problems, Curry won by a twelve-round split decision to unify the USBA and NABF welterweight titles and hand Starling his first pro loss.[4]

Undisputed welterweight champion[edit]

On February 13, 1983, Curry fought Jun-Suk Hwang for the WBA welterweight championship, which had become vacant after the retirement of Sugar Ray Leonard. Curry suffered a flash knockdown in the seventh round but otherwise dominated the fight and won by a lopsided fifteen-round unanimous decision. Three months later, Curry's older brother, Bruce, won the WBC super lightweight title. They were the first pair of brothers to hold world titles simultaneously.[5]

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.[6]

Curry's next three fights were successful title defenses. He stopped Elio Diaz in eight rounds, 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 welterweight champion since Sugar Ray Leonard retired in 1982.[7]

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 left-right combination to the head.[8] Curry was 25-0 with 20 knockouts, and many boxing experts considered him to be the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world.[9]

Major Upset[edit]

Curry's next defense of the title was against Lloyd Honeyghan of the United Kingdom on September 27, 1986, in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Honeyghan was 27-0 and ranked #1 by the WBC.

Curry's training was disrupted by managerial issues. His managerial contract with David Gorman was to expire on September 30, 1986, and Curry announced that Akbar Muhammad would become his new manager. Muhammad said he wanted Gorman to remain a part of Curry's team, but Gorman said he wouldn't accept a position as co-manager and would not let Curry work out of his gym if he was not Curry's manager. Curry told Gorman to stay away from his training camp, but shortly before the fight, Curry asked him to work in his corner for the fight and Gorman agreed.[10][11][12]

Oddsmakers considered Curry vs. Honeyghan to be such a mismatch that some would not offer a betting line. However, Honeyghan came into the fight with great confidence and bet $5,000 on himself at 5-1 odds. "I want people to know how much I believe in myself," he said. "I can't wait to start punching Curry on the head. I'm going to smash his face in."

Honeyghan 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 he had little left after that. He was drained from struggling to make weight, having to lose 11 pounds three days before the fight. "I was weak and sluggish. I had no strength in my legs, and my timing just wasn't there. I wasn't myself," Curry said after the fight. "I won't fight as a welterweight again."

Akbar Muhammad said Curry weighed 168 pounds six and a half weeks prior to the fight, before he went to New Orleans to train. Then his grandfather's death caused the fighter to lose concentration. "His weight went up to 157, 158. He told me, 'I don't think I can make the weight.' He wanted to pull out of the fight," Muhammad said. "I told him he was a professional and had an obligation to meet."

Honeyghan manhandled Curry in rounds five and six. Late in the sixth, an accidental headbutt opened a bad cut over Curry's left eye. Returning to his corner after the sixth, with blood flowing down his face, Curry shook his head and was heard to tell his corner, "I'm through." Ringside physicians Frank Doggett and Paul Williams examined the cut after the sixth round and told referee Octavio Meyran to stop the fight, giving Honeyghan a TKO victory. The Ring magazine named the fight Upset of the Year.[13][14][15]

Move up in weight[edit]

After losing to Honeyghan, Curry moved up to the 154-pound division (known as light middleweight, junior middleweight, and super welterweight).

Curry defeated Tony Montgomery to win the USBA junior middleweight title on February 7, 1987. Montgomery was disqualified in the fifth round for intentional headbutts. Curry's next opponent, former IBF junior middleweight champion Carlos Santos, was also disqualified in the fifth round for intentional headbutts.

On April 6, 1987, the day Sugar Ray Leonard defeated Marvelous Marvin Hagler for the world middleweight championship and two days after defeating Santos, Curry filed a million dollar lawsuit against Leonard and his attorney, Mike Trainer. The suit stated that Leonard and Trainer took "undue and unconscionable advantage of Curry" through fraud, conspiracy and breach of financial responsibilities, and they "conspired to prevent Curry from entering the middleweight divisions to assure Leonard's unobstructed opportunity to fight the middleweight champion."

Curry said he asked Leonard and Trainer for advice concerning his future, and they advised him to stay at welterweight and not to move up in weight to fight WBA junior middleweight champion Mike McCallum or middleweight champion Hagler. Curry was going to face McCallum on June 23, 1986, but he decided to back out and stay at welterweight. Several weeks later, Leonard announced that he was coming out of retirement to fight Hagler.[16][17]

McCallum vs Curry[edit]

Curry fought Mike McCallum on July 18, 1987 for the WBA junior middleweight championship. The fight was televised live on HBO. Curry tried to have Sugar Ray Leonard, who worked for HBO as a commentator, removed from the broadcast team, but HBO decided to include Leonard as part of the telecast.[18]

McCallum, 31-0 with 28 knockouts, was boxing's longest reigning champion. Curry, a 2-1 betting favorite, 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." [19]

HBO commentator Barry Tompkins told his broadcasting partner Sugar Ray Leonard, "You settled a case out of court here."

WBC super-welterweight champion[edit]

After outpointing former WBC champion Lupe Aquino, Curry got another title shot. He traveled to Italy to fight Gianfranco Rosi for the WBC super welterweight title on July 8, 1988. Curry put him down five times, and Rosi retired on his stool after the ninth round. "I trained hard for five months to win this title and it paid off," Curry said.[20]

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 the lightly regarded Rene Jacquot on February 11, 1989 in France. Curry built an early lead, but Jacquot came on in the second half of the fight. "I just got tired," Curry said afterward. "I thought I was in the best condition of my life but in the seventh, eighth and ninth rounds my legs just went." The fight that was named The Ring magazine Upset of the Year.[21]

Back-to-back title shots[edit]

Following two knockout victories, Curry went back to France to fight Lineal/IBF middleweight champion Michael Nunn on October 18, 1990. Although Curry found the target, he didn't have the power to hurt the bigger champion. Nunn dropped Curry with a flurry of unanswered punches in round ten, and the referee stopped the fight.[22]

In his next fight, Curry returned to the 154-pound division 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.[23]

Legal troubles[edit]

In April 1994, Curry, along with Darrell Chambers and William Longstreet Jr., 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 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." [24]

In January 1995, Curry and Longstreet was acquitted on all charges, Chambers was found guilty. "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.[25]

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.[26]

Return to boxing[edit]

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." Curry's first comeback fight was in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada on February 20, 1997. He knocked out Gary Jones in four rounds.[27]

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.[28][29]

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." [30]

After the loss, Curry went to Valley Hospital in Las Vegas and learned that he had fought Linton with acute pancreatitis. "That condition pre-existed the fight," said Phil Hamilton, Curry's manager. "We're thinking maybe that explains why Donald felt so weak during the fight, and why maybe he deserves the chance to fight again." [31]

Curry went back to the gym when he was well. "I hope to give a better account of myself," he said, referring to the Linton fight. "I wasn't in shape and wasn't who I thought I was that night." However, Curry never did fight again. He retired with a record of 34-6 with 25 knockouts.[32]

Professional boxing record[edit]

34 Wins (25 KOs), 6 Losses (5 KOs)[1]
Res. Record Opponent Type Round,
Date Location Notes
Loss 34-6 United States Emmett Linton TKO 7 (12),
09/04/1997 United States The Aladdin, Las Vegas, Nevada For IBA junior middleweight title.
Win 34-5 United States Gary Jones KO 4 (10),
20/02/1997 Canada Winnipeg, Manitoba
Loss 33-5 United States Terry Norris KO 8 (12),
01/06/1991 United States Radisson Resort, Palm Springs, California For WBC super welterweight title.
Loss 33-4 United States Michael Nunn KO 10 (12),
18/10/1990 France Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy, Paris For Lineal/IBF middleweight titles.
Win 33-3 Puerto Rico Jose Antonio Martinez KO 4 (10),
17/08/1990 United States Bally's Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada
Win 32-3 United States Brett Lally TKO 2 (10),
26/12/1989 United States Bally's Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada
Loss 31-3 France Rene Jacquot UD 12 11/02/1989 France Palais des Sports de Grenoble, Grenoble, Isere Lost WBC super welterweight title.
Win 31-2 United States Mike Sacchetti TKO 5 (10),
03/01/1989 United States University of New Orleans, New Orleans, Louisiana
Win 30-2 Italy Gianfranco Rosi RTD 9 (12),
08/07/1988 Italy Portosole, Sanremo, Liguria Won WBC super welterweight title.
Win 29-2 Mexico Lupe Aquino UD 12 03/01/1988 Italy Palazzo Dello Sport, Genoa, Liguria
Win 28-2 United States Rigoberto Lopez KO 4 (10),
08/12/1987 United States Reseda Country Club, Reseda, California
Loss 27-2 Jamaica Mike McCallum KO 5 (15),
18/07/1987 United States Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada For WBA junior middleweight title.
Win 27-1 Puerto Rico Carlos Santos DQ 5 (12),
04/04/1987 United States Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada Retained USBA junior middleweight title.
Win 26-1 United States Tony Montgomery DQ 5 (12),
07/02/1987 United States Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada Won USBA junior middleweight title.
Loss 25-1 United Kingdom Lloyd Honeyghan RTD 6 (12),
27/09/1986 United States Caesars Atlantic City, Atlantic City, New Jersey Lost WBC/WBA/IBF welterweight titles.
Win 25-0 Panama Eduardo Rodriguez KO 2 (15),
09/03/1986 United States Will Rogers Coliseum, Fort Worth, Texas Retained WBA welterweight title.
Win 24-0 United States Milton McCrory KO 2 (15),
06/12/1985 United States Las Vegas Hilton, Hilton Center, Las Vegas, Nevada Retained WBA/IBF welterweight titles
Won WBC welterweight title.
Win 23-0 Dominican Republic Pablo Baez TKO 6 (10),
22/06/1985 United States Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey
Win 22-0 United States James Green TKO 2 (10),
30/03/1985 United States Moody Coliseum, Dallas, Texas
Win 21-0 Wales Colin Jones TKO 4 (15),
19/01/1985 United Kingdom National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, West Midlands Retained WBA/IBF welterweight titles.
Win 20-0 Mauritania Nino La Rocca KO 6 (15),
22/09/1984 Monaco Chapiteau de Fontvielle, Monte Carlo Retained WBA/IBF welterweight titles.
Win 19-0 Venezuela Elio Diaz RTD 7 (15),
21/04/1984 United States Will Rogers Coliseum, Fort Worth, Texas Retained WBA/IBF welterweight titles.
Win 18-0 United States Marlon Starling UD 15 04/02/1984 United States Bally's Park Place, Atlantic City, New Jersey Retained WBA welterweight title.
Won IBF welterweight title.
Win 17-0 United States Roger Stafford TKO 1 (15),
03/09/1983 Italy Las Vegas Hilton, Marsala, Sicily Retained WBA welterweight title.
Win 16-0 South Korea Jun-Suk Hwang UD 15 13/02/1983 United States Tarrant County Convention Center, Fort Worth, Texas Won vacant WBA welterweight title.
Win 15-0 United States Marlon Starling SD 12 23/10/1982 United States Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey Retained NABF welterweight title.
Won USBA welterweight title.
Win 14-0 Puerto Rico Adolfo Viruet UD 10 10/07/1982 United States Great Gorge Playboy Club, McAfee, New Jersey
Win 13-0 United States Jake Torrance DQ 4 (10),
15/06/1982 United States Hyatt Regency Hotel, Nashville, Tennessee
Win 12-0 United States Bruce Finch TKO 4 (12),
04/05/1982 United States Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada Won NABF welterweight title.
Win 11-0 United States Mike Senegal TKO 10 (10),
10/03/1982 United States Lake Charles, Louisiana
Win 10-0 United States Curtis Ramsey PTS 10 26/11/1981 United States Las Vegas, Nevada
Win 9-0 Trinidad and Tobago Vernon Lewis KO 1 (10),
29/10/1981 United States Will Rogers Coliseum, Fort Worth, Texas
Win 8-0 United States Eddie Casper TKO 1 (6),
22/08/1981 United States Showboat Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada
Win 7-0 United States Eddie Campbell KO 6 (8),
02/07/1981 United States Atlantic City, New Jersey
Win 6-0 United States Joe Molière TKO 1 (8),
28/05/1981 United States Hacienda Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada
Win 5-0 United States Danny Favella TKO 5 (10),
23/04/1981 United States Will Rogers Coliseum, Fort Worth, Texas
Win 4-0 United States Rigoberto Lopez TKO 2 (?),
26/03/1981 United States Las Vegas, Nevada
Win 3-0 United States Jerry Reyes TKO 2 (?),
26/02/1981 United States Las Vegas, Nevada
Win 2-0 United States Juan Ramirez TKO 2 (6),
16/01/1981 United States HemisFair Arena, San Antonio, Texas
Win 1-0 United States Mario Tineo TKO 1 (?),
26/12/1980 United States Caesars Palace, Sports Pavilion, Las Vegas, Nevada Professional debut.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Kentucky (Hopkinsville) New Era December 22, 1984
  2. ^ Donald Curry's Record at Cyber Boxing Zone
  3. ^ Beaver County (PA) Times December 6, 1985
  4. ^ The Day (New London, CT) October 24, 1982
  5. ^ Lexington (KY) Herald Leader September 7, 1986
  6. ^ Spartanburg (SC) Herald-Journal February 5, 1984
  7. ^ Sports Illustrated December 16, 1985
  8. ^ Chicago Sun Times March 10, 1986
  9. ^ Ocala (FL) Star-Banner January 4, 1988
  10. ^ The Dallas Morning News September 24, 1986
  11. ^ Texas Monthly July 1987
  12. ^ Ocala (FL) Star-Banner March 12, 1986
  13. ^ Eugene (OR) Register-Guard September 28, 1986
  14. ^ The New York Times September 29, 1986
  15. ^ Sports Illustrated October 6, 1986
  16. ^ The News and Courier (Charleston, SC) April 16, 1986
  17. ^ The Sumter (SC) Daily Item April 7, 1987
  18. ^ The New York Times July 18, 1987
  19. ^ Sports Illustrated July 27, 1987
  20. ^ The Telegraph (Nashua, NH) July 9, 1988
  21. ^ The Victoria (TX) AdvocateFebruary 12, 1989.
  22. ^ The New York Times October 19, 1990
  23. ^ Sports Illustrated June 10, 1991
  24. ^ Rome (GA) News-Tribune April 29, 1984
  25. ^ Fort Worth (TX) Star Telegram January 28–29, 1995
  26. ^ Sarasota (FL) Herald-Tribune April 29, 1996
  27. ^ Las Vegas Sun February 10, 1997
  28. ^ The Las Vegas Review-Journal April 6, 1997
  29. ^ The Seattle Times July 8, 1997
  30. ^ The New York Daily News April 10, 1997
  31. ^ The Las Vegas Sun News April 17, 1997
  32. ^ The Las Vegas Sun September 25, 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
Preceded by
Thomas Hearns
Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year
Shared award with Marvin Hagler

Succeeded by
Mike Tyson