Donald Curry Previously OWNED original WBA welterweight championship belt vacated by Sugar Ray Leonard and won by "The Lone Star Cobra" by defeating Jun Suk Hwang, 13th February 1983, Tarrant Co Convention Center, Fort Worth, Texas, USA.
The belt is adorned with a heavy, gold colour emblem that signifies the World crown that is decorated in jewels and enameled shield of the World Boxing Association. The shields on either side of this centrepeice are engraved:-
(left) DONALD CURRY "THE LONE STAR COBRA" DEFEATED JUN SOK HWANK VIA 15th Rd. DECISION
(right) FOR THE WELTERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP OF THE WORLD W.B.A. IN FT. WORTH TEX. 2-13-83
The belt measures 41" x 10 1/2" with velvet lined back.
*The WBA title had been vacated by Sugar Ray Leonard, who retired following surgery to repair a detached retina.
*Curry was ranked #1 by the WBA and Hwang was ranked #3.
*Curry's purse was $75,000 and Hwang's was $25,000.
*The fight was televised by ESPN.
*There was a crowd of 9,000.
From the New York Times:
FORT WORTH, 13th February 1983, Donald Curry, surviving the first knockdown of his professional career, captured the World Boxing Association welterweight title with a unanimous 15 -round decision over Jun Sok Hwang of South Korea.
Curry, unbeaten in 16 fights and winner of 12 by knockouts, assumed the championship vacated last year with the retirement of Sugar Ray Leonard.
In the seventh round, a right uppercut sent Curry to his knees. He was dazed by the blow, but he managed to backpedal his way out of trouble. From that point his jabs and combinations began to take their toll on Jun.
It was the first loss for Jun, who had won 21 fights and also had 12 knockouts. Referee Roberto Ramirez of Puerto Rico scored the bout 146-139, as did Judge Ishmael Fernandez of Puerto Rico. Judge Harmando Cedeno of Panama had it 148-140.
Curry, a Fort Worth native who came into the bout weighing 146¼ pounds to 147 for Jun, was a heavy favourite.
Condition STUNNING (minor tarnishing)
Price: £ SOLD
Donald Curry vs Jun-Suk Hwang **WATCH CURRY WIN THE WBA WELTERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP BELT**
Donald Curry (born Donald Sample; September 7, 1961) is an American who competed from 1980 to 1991, and in 1997. He held the undisputed welterweight title from 1985 to 1986; the WBC super welterweight title from 1988 to 1989; and challenged once for the IBF and lineal middleweight titles in 1990.
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.
*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.
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."
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. The win earned Curry the unified #2 spot in the rankings behind Milton McCrory for the welterweight title.
Undisputed Welterweight Champion
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.
After making his first title defence, 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.
Curry's next three fights were successful title defences. 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.
Curry's first defence 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. Curry was 25-0 with 20 knockouts, and many boxing experts considered him to be the best pound-for-pound boxer in the World.
Curry's next defence 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.
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.
Move Up In Weight
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.
McCallum vs Curry
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.
McCallum, 31-0 with 28 knockouts, was boxing's longest reigning champion. Curry, a 2-1 betting favourite, 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 him 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."
HBO commentator Barry Tompkins told his broadcasting partner Sugar Ray Leonard, "You settled a case out of court here."
WBC Light Middleweight Champion
After outpointing former WBC champion Lupe Aquino, Curry got another title shot. He travelled 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.
Curry was once again a champion, but his reign didn't last very long. He lost the title in his first defence, 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.
Back-To-Back Title Shots
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.
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. Curry retired after the fight.
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."
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 defence destroyed him financially.
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.
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." 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.
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."
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."
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.