Hall Of Fame Boxing Champion Curtis Cokes Passes Away At 82
An influential star for the sport of boxing, Curtis Cokes has died at the age of 82. According to Dallas News, Cokes was in hospice for a week and passed following complications with his heart.
A former welterweight champion, Cokes (62-14-4) made his professional debut in 1958, beating Manuel Gonzalez via points. Cokes would then win his next 11 before losing to Gonzalez in 1959. He would end up facing him two more times: beating Gonzalez in 1961 and in 1966, the latter resulting in him winning the WBA Welterweight Title.
Cokes would eventually win the WBC and The Ring Welterweight Titles and would hold onto them until 1969, where he faced Jose Napoles in back-to-back bouts. He was popular among those in Texas and would headline multiple events in the area, competing in the Sportatorium, Municipal Auditorium, Memorial Auditorium, the Convention Center, and Will Rogers Coliseum. Some fans weren’t too keen on his counterpunching style, but it is something Cokes did by design.
“The name of the sport is boxing, not fighting,” Cokes told The Dallas Morning News in 2013. “You can play football, you can play basketball, but you can’t play boxing. It’s serious business where you can get hurt every time you step into the ring.
“It’s an art to hit and not be hit.”
His last three bouts took place in South Africa. Ending his career on a two-fight win streak, Cokes beat Joseph Hali in September 1972 and Ezra Mzinyane in October of that year, both via points. It was the same way he won his first two bouts.
Other sports he enjoyed participating in was basketball and baseball. Following his boxing career, Cokes became a trainer and an actor. One of the people he trained include former WBC International Heavyweight Champion Ike Ibeabuchi. As an actor, he appeared in the “Fat City” movie.
Cokes was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2003.