Donald Curry

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Donald Curry
Real nameDonald Curry
Nickname(s)Lone Star Cobra
Height5 ft 9+12 in (177 cm)
Reach72 in (183 cm)
Born (1961-09-07) September 7, 1961 (age 60)
Fort Worth, Texas, U.S.
Boxing record
Total fights40
Wins by KO25

Donald Curry (born September 7, 1961), is an American former professional boxer who competed from 1980 to 1991, and in 1997. He held the undisputed welterweight title from 1985 to 1986, the WBC light middleweight title from 1988 to 1989, and challenged once for the IBF and lineal middleweight titles in 1990. In 2019, he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

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] Curry was originally trained by Wesley Gale Parker out of Fort Worth, Texas. Parker also trained his brother Super Lightweight champion Bruce Curry.

Amateur achievements[edit]


Olympic Trials (147 lbs), Atlanta, Georgia, June 1980:

  • 1/4: Defeated Michael Wright by unanimous decision, 5–0
  • 1/2: Defeated Eddie Green by majority decision, 4–1
  • Finals: Defeated Davey Moore by unanimous decision, 5–0

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."[4]

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.[5] The win earned Curry the unified #2 spot in the rankings behind Milton McCrory for the welterweight title.

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 light welterweight title. They were the first pair of brothers to hold world titles simultaneously.[6]

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.[7]

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.[8] [9]

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.[10] Curry was 25-0 with 20 knockouts, and many boxing experts considered him to be the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world.[11]

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.[12][13][14]

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.[15][16][17]

Move up in weight[edit]

After losing to Honeyghan, Curry moved up to the light middleweight division.

Curry defeated Tony Montgomery to win the USBA light middleweight title on February 7, 1987. Montgomery was disqualified in the fifth round for intentional headbutts. Curry's next opponent, former IBF light 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 light 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.[18][19]

McCallum vs Curry[edit]

Curry fought Mike McCallum on July 18, 1987 for the WBA light 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.[20]

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."[21]

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

WBC light middleweight 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 light middleweight 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.[22]

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.[23]

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.[24]

In his next fight, Curry returned to light 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. Norris then hit Curry with an illegal shot whilst Curry was on his knees. Curry later retired after the fight.[25]

Legal troubles[edit]

In April 1994, Curry, along with Darrell Chambers and William "Stanley" 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."[26]

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.[27]

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.[28]

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.[29]

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.[30][31]

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."[32]

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."[33]

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.[34]


In November 2021, Curry's sons revealed that they believed him to suffer from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, due to memory loss and other mental health issues. Following their appeal on Twitter, the World Boxing Council offered to schedule a brain scan for Curry.[35]

Professional boxing record[edit]

Professional record summary
40 fights 34 wins 6 losses
By knockout 25 5
By decision 6 1
By disqualification 3 0
No. Result Record Opponent Type Round, time Date Location Notes
40 Loss 34–6 Emmett Linton TKO 7 (12), 1:08 Apr 9, 1997 The Aladdin, Paradise, Nevada, U.S. For vacant IBA light middleweight title
39 Win 34–5 Gary Jones KO 4 (10), 1:31 Feb 20, 1997 Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
38 Loss 33–5 Terry Norris KO 8 (12), 2:54 Jun 1, 1991 Radisson Hotel, Palm Springs, California, U.S. For WBC light middleweight title
37 Loss 33–4 Michael Nunn KO 10 (12), 1:59 Oct 18, 1990 Palais Omnisports, Paris, France For IBF middleweight title
36 Win 33–3 Jose Antonio Martinez KO 4 (10), 2:35 Aug 17, 1990 Bally's Las Vegas, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
35 Win 32–3 Brett Lally TKO 2 (10), 0:41 Dec 26, 1989 Bally's Las Vegas, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
34 Loss 31–3 René Jacquot UD 12 Feb 11, 1989 Palais des Sports, Grenoble, France Lost WBC light middleweight title
33 Win 31–2 Mike Sacchetti TKO 5 (10), 1:05 Jan 3, 1989 Lakefront Arena, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
32 Win 30–2 Gianfranco Rosi RTD 10 (12), 0:01 Jul 8, 1988 Portosole, Sanremo, Italy Won WBC light middleweight title
31 Win 29–2 Lupe Aquino UD 12 Jan 3, 1988 Palasport, Genoa, Italy
30 Win 28–2 Rigoberto Lopez KO 4 (10), 1:54 Dec 8, 1987 Country Club, Reseda, California, U.S.
29 Loss 27–2 Mike McCallum KO 5 (15), 1:14 Jul 18, 1987 Caesars Palace, Paradise, Nevada, U.S. For WBA light middleweight title
28 Win 27–1 Carlos Santos DQ 5 (12), 2:25 Apr 4, 1987 Caesars Palace, Paradise, Nevada, U.S. Retained USBA light middleweight title;
Santos disqualified for repeated headbutts
27 Win 26–1 Tony Montgomery DQ 5 (12), 2:29 Feb 7, 1987 Caesars Palace, Paradise, Nevada, U.S. Won vacant USBA light middleweight title;
Montgomery disqualified for repeated headbutts
26 Loss 25–1 Lloyd Honeyghan RTD 6 (12), 3:00 Sep 27, 1986 Circus Maximus Showroom, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S. Lost WBA, WBC, IBF, and The Ring welterweight titles
25 Win 25–0 Eduardo Rodriguez KO 2 (15), 2:29 Mar 9, 1986 Will Rogers Coliseum, Fort Worth, Texas, U.S. Retained WBA and The Ring welterweight titles
24 Win 24–0 Milton McCrory KO 2 (15), 1:53 Dec 6, 1985 Las Vegas Hilton, Winchester, Nevada, U.S. Retained WBA and IBF welterweight titles;
Won WBC and vacant The Ring welterweight titles
23 Win 23–0 Pablo Baez TKO 6 (10), 1:40 Jun 22, 1985 Harrah's at Trump Plaza, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
22 Win 22–0 James Green TKO 2 (10), 0:40 Mar 30, 1985 Moody Coliseum, Dallas, Texas, U.S.
21 Win 21–0 Colin Jones TKO 4 (15), 0:36 Jan 19, 1985 National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, England Retained WBA and IBF welterweight titles
20 Win 20–0 Nino La Rocca KO 6 (15), 1:27 Sep 22, 1984 Chapiteau de l'Espace, Fontvielle, Monaco Retained WBA and IBF welterweight titles
19 Win 19–0 Elio Diaz RTD 7 (15), 3:00 Apr 21, 1984 Will Rogers Coliseum, Fort Worth, Texas, U.S. Retained WBA and IBF welterweight titles
18 Win 18–0 Marlon Starling UD 15 Feb 4, 1984 Bally's Park Place, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S. Retained WBA welterweight title;
Won inaugural IBF welterweight title
17 Win 17–0 Roger Stafford TKO 1 (15), 1:42 Sep 3, 1983 Stadio Antonino Lombardo Angotta, Marsala, Italy Retained WBA welterweight title
16 Win 16–0 Jun-Suk Hwang UD 15 Feb 13, 1983 Tarrant County Convention Center, Fort Worth, Texas, U.S. Won vacant WBA welterweight title
15 Win 15–0 Marlon Starling SD 12 Oct 23, 1982 Convention Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S. Retained NABF welterweight title;
Won USBA welterweight title
14 Win 14–0 Adolfo Viruet UD 10 Jul 10, 1982 The Great Gorge Playboy Club Hotel, McAfee, New Jersey, U.S.
13 Win 13–0 Jake Torrance DQ 4 (10), 1:07 Jun 15, 1982 Hyatt Regency Hotel, Nashville, Tennessee, U.S. Torrance disqualified for repeated holding
12 Win 12–0 Bruce Finch TKO 4 (12), 1:10 May 4, 1982 Caesars Palace, Paradise, Nevada, U.S. Won NABF welterweight title
11 Win 11–0 Mike Senegal TKO 10 (10), 2:05 Mar 10, 1982 Sudduth Coliseum, Lake Charles, Louisiana, U.S.
10 Win 10–0 Curtis Ramsey UD 10 Nov 26, 1981 Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
9 Win 9–0 Vernon Lewis TKO 1 (10), 1:09 Oct 29, 1981 Will Rogers Coliseum, Fort Worth, Texas, U.S.
8 Win 8–0 Eddie Casper TKO 1 (6) Aug 22, 1981 Showboat Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
7 Win 7–0 Eddie Campbell KO 6 (8) Jul 2, 1981 Playboy Hotel and Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
6 Win 6–0 Joe Moliere TKO 1 (8), 2:40 May 28, 1981 Hacienda, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
5 Win 5–0 Danny Favella TKO 5 (10), 2:06 Apr 23, 1981 Will Rogers Coliseum, Fort Worth, Texas, U.S.
4 Win 4–0 Rigoberto Lopez TKO 2 (6) Mar 26, 1981 Hacienda, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
3 Win 3–0 Jerry Reyes TKO 2 Feb 26, 1981 Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
2 Win 2–0 Juan Ramirez TKO 2 (6), 2:17 Jan 16, 1981 HemisFair Arena, San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
1 Win 1–0 Mario Tineo TKO 1 Dec 26, 1980 Caesars Palace, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kentucky (Hopkinsville) New Era December 22, 1984
  2. ^ Donald Curry's Record at Cyber Boxing Zone
  3. ^ Caroccioli, Tom; Caroccioli, Jerry (2008). Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games. Highland Park, IL: New Chapter Press. pp. 243–253. ISBN 978-0942257403.
  4. ^ Beaver County (PA) Times December 6, 1985
  5. ^ The Day (New London, CT) October 24, 1982
  6. ^ Lexington (KY) Herald Leader September 7, 1986
  7. ^ Spartanburg (SC) Herald-Journal February 5, 1984
  8. ^ "The Lineal Welterweight Champs". Cyber Boxing Zone.
  9. ^ Sports Illustrated December 16, 1985
  10. ^ Chicago Sun Times March 10, 1986
  11. ^ Ocala (FL) Star-Banner January 4, 1988
  12. ^ The Dallas Morning News September 24, 1986
  13. ^ Texas Monthly July 1987
  14. ^ Ocala (FL) Star-Banner March 12, 1986
  15. ^ Eugene (OR) Register-Guard September 28, 1986
  16. ^ The New York Times September 29, 1986
  17. ^ Sports Illustrated October 6, 1986
  18. ^ The News and Courier (Charleston, SC) April 16, 1986
  19. ^ The Sumter (SC) Daily Item April 7, 1987
  20. ^ The New York Times July 18, 1987
  21. ^ Sports Illustrated July 27, 1987
  22. ^ The Telegraph (Nashua, NH) July 9, 1988
  23. ^ The Victoria (TX) AdvocateFebruary 12, 1989.
  24. ^ The New York Times October 19, 1990
  25. ^ Sports Illustrated June 10, 1991
  26. ^ Rome (GA) News-Tribune April 29, 1984
  27. ^ Fort Worth (TX) Star Telegram January 28–29, 1995
  28. ^ Sarasota (FL) Herald-Tribune April 29, 1996
  29. ^ Las Vegas Sun February 10, 1997
  30. ^ The Las Vegas Review-Journal April 6, 1997
  31. ^ The Seattle Times July 8, 1997
  32. ^ The New York Daily News April 10, 1997
  33. ^ The Las Vegas Sun News April 17, 1997
  34. ^ The Las Vegas Sun September 25, 1997
  35. ^ "Donald Curry's longest fight". The Independent. 10 December 2021.

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Amateur boxing titles
Roger Leonard
U.S. welterweight champion
Gene Hatcher
Regional boxing titles
Preceded by
Bruce Finch
NABF welterweight champion
May 4, 1982 – February 1983
Title next held by
Marlon Starling
Preceded by
Marlon Starling
USBA welterweight champion
October 23, 1982 – February 1983
Title last held by
Duane Thomas
USBA light middleweight champion
February 7, 1987 – July 1987
Title next held by
Robert Hines
World boxing titles
Title last held by
Sugar Ray Leonard
WBA welterweight champion
February 13, 1983 – September 27, 1986
Succeeded by
Inaugural champion IBF welterweight champion
February 4, 1984 – September 27, 1986
Preceded by WBC welterweight champion
December 6, 1985 – September 27, 1986
The Ring welterweight champion
December 6, 1985 – September 27, 1986
Title last held by
Sugar Ray Leonard
Undisputed welterweight champion
December 6, 1985 – September 27, 1986
Preceded by WBC light middleweight champion
July 8, 1988 – February 11, 1989
Succeeded by