Don “The Cobra” Curry – living hard
Don Curry said he was “broken in joke“. he was in dire need of money and announced that he was coming back.
The year was 1997 and just months before his 37th birthday, the Hall of Fame boxing legend put his gloves back on after nearly six years in the ring, making a fortune of $5 million ($16 million in today’s cash). ). During a tough 11-year career that slips through his fingers.
“I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life and I’m paying for them,” Curry said in an interview with the Fort Worth-Star-Telegram.
Few in the boxing world who had witnessed the thrilling arc of his rise and the smooth path of his descent would disagree with this statement.
Whatever the circumstances of his past, Curry expected to get his fortune back in the best and only way he knew how.
“As good as I was, I’m better,” he said. “I will rock the world”.
Even those who were seduced by the memory of its ancient magnificence must have known that this was the least of the fuss. And so it happened. Because unfortunately there was no end in Hollywood for the legend of Fort Worth, Texas. This wouldn’t be her Rocky-style comeback under the big lights. It has not turned the world upside down a second time. There would be no fairytale ending for the great Don The Cobra Curry.
Curry fought two more times. First to win fellow boxer Gary Jones by a record of 3-25 in Winnipeg, Canada, and just two months later in a fight that seemed to embody his strange boxing life and Curry’s ubiquitous Achilles heel: the bad decisions he made in the outside world. the ring that chased him there.
In April 1997, Curry faced his last opponent, Emmett Linton, who looked like a dagger and bleeding. The reason for the bad appearance was that not only had Curry been Linton’s coach and manager, but they had also had a feud that erupted in the street involving guns and charges of cheating. Now they have shared the ring here.
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According to Curry, Linton had cheated on him with the mother of one of his children. Information that indirectly led to his incarceration for non-payment of child support, Linton disputes his version of events.
Hostility to Linton had grown while Curry was inside, and when he was released from prison, The Cobra came out swinging and decided that feuds in the boxing world are as big as money. He asked the legendary promoter, Bob Arum, to play in the ring between him and Linton this time and sell tickets. Curry’s equity stake was $30,000.
Things didn’t go to plan for a severely debilitated Curry, who was suffering from undiagnosed acute pancreatitis, as Linton dropped him in the first round and stopped him in the seventh. It was embarrassing and painful to watch. With nothing left of the former champion, he has been reduced to vile fighters and fan of sideshow entertainment in tacky places where once famous characters spend their days in the fading spotlight.
A bitterly disappointed Don Curry returned to the gym, saying he “hoped to set a better record for myself in my next match”. I wasn’t who I thought I was that night.
However, Curry never returned to the ring.
The battle with Linton became the sad swan song of a great career that promised so much and should have prepared him for life. Whoever believed they were talking to Emmett Linton that night, the truth was that Don The Cobra Curry had no sting left except the one that wounded the last of the Texas fighters.
It started so well for the Lone Star State man that he has become one of the greatest fighters in the ring.
He was just 21 years old when he won the vacant WBA middleweight title by unanimous decision over Jun-Suk Hwang. His climb to the top had been stratospheric as it seemed to effortlessly and effectively fend off all opposition.
The boxing world had a new star to marvel at: a relentlessly efficient technician with impressive speed and grace. Quick on the feet, devastating body kick and devastating left hook. Fearless and agile, he wreaked havoc on all newcomers to the division.
The sky was the limit for the boxer, who many boxing fans today tout as the undisputed world champion.
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His power was so great that only one of his opponents, the outstanding Marlon Starling, survived the final bell and still lost by unanimous decision. Curry destroyed Kronk superstar Milton McCrory in less than two rounds with a devastating knockout.
And he shared Ring Magazine’s Fighter of the Year award with prodigious welterweight king Marvin Hagler the same year Hagler won his epic decisive fight against Thomas Hearns.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen. He was so good. And then some.
But just when all the slots in his life were paying off, he made many bad decisions outside the ring and set him down a path that would eventually lead him to the poverty he is in now.
Curry made the cardinal mistake of fixing what wasn’t broken. And he did it with passion.
First, he demoted his superior, Dave Gorman, a Texas car salesman who found him and financed his training and meals from day one, to “Training Camp Head” and cut his percentage by two-thirds. He then cut his longtime manager Paul Reyes’ salary in half and named him assistant manager. He appointed Akbar Muhammad as his Manager and Promoter.
That decision alone would cost him his fortune in boxing.
“I trust that man and he took my soul. He gave me a lot of bad advice.”
The decision to get involved with his manager and former coach was effective immediately. It set in motion an alarming decline that began on September 27, 1986, when he lost his perfect record and world welterweight title to one of the hardest gamblers in boxing history, British fighter Lloyd Honeyghan.
An emaciated Don Curry, struggling with weight, showed no respect that famous night in Atlantic City, Honeyghan knocked down the champion. Bruised, battered and bloodied, his wound requiring twenty stitches, Curry left the game on crutches at the end of the sixth. He was awarded the Upset Fight of the Year by Ring Magazine.
It wouldn’t be Curry’s last award in this category.
Not only did he lose the fight and the titles, but in so doing he lost the glow of invincibility that had been his most powerful and confidence-inspiring weapon.
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Champion that he was, he managed to rally in the next two fights, move up to light middleweight and take the vacant title and defend. But when he challenged Mike McCallum for the WBA light middleweight title in his next bout, he was spectacularly knocked out in the 5th round.
Don Curry had one last hurray when he took the vacant WBC light middleweight title from Italy’s Gianfranco Rossi and immediately lost it back to the brash Frenchman Réné Jacquot, who wouldn’t live with Curry at his best. . Bad discipline, posture problems and drunkenness have now crept in and disrupted his fight preparations. And again, Curry was involved in Ring’s shocking Fight of the Year three years after his first appearance.
Devastating defeats against Michael Nunn and Terry Norris followed, marking an abrupt end for Curry as a boxing powerhouse, and he retired for his final two fights after being arrested in April 1997, with a staggering 34-6.25 record between them.
“I did the best I could. I was just a country boy from Fort Worth. I made bad investments. I borrowed money. I rang money. When people know you’ve got it, they expect you to do it. I don’t blame anyone but myself.”