Fort Worth will finally have a boxer in its sports’ hall of fame in the ‘Lone Star Cobra’

Donald Curry retained his WBA welterweight title by defeating Elio Diaz in Fort Worth on April 21, 1983.
Donald Curry retained his WBA welterweight title by defeating Elio Diaz in Fort Worth on April 21, 1983. Star-Telegram archives

One of the best Fort Worth ever produced will finally get the day he deserves.

Should you ever see Donald Curry around town know that you are looking at a Hall of Famer.

The Lone Star Cobra, for a period back in the ‘80s, was the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world. Curry was one of the best amateur boxers who ever lived, and the Paschal grad was once considered equal to Sugar Ray Leonard or Marvin Hagler.

In 1985, Donald Curry was the undisputed welterweight champion of the world.

His run did not last as long as it should have, but his body of work will now endure forever. This weekend in Canastota, New York, Curry will be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

He is the first boxer from Fort Worth to enjoy this distinction.

Along with my man Paulie Ayala, Curry, 57, is one of the best boxers to come from DFW. For a man whose timing was always just a bit off during his career, in this instance it finally worked out.

His candidacy for enshrinement at this Hall of Fame had previously been a point of contention; the argument against Curry as a Hall of Fame member was that he did not hold his titles long enough, or beat enough quality competition.

That while he was a dominant, and skilled, fighter, there were opponents in his era he needed to fight to prove that his induction into any Hall of Fame was earned.

Although he won a title belt, and defended it, he never did fight the greats of his era, Sugar Ray, Tommy Hearns, Duran or Hagler.

As a pro, Curry was 34-6-2, with 25 knockouts.

Curry’s amateur record made him a viable, complete candidate, and worthy inclusion. Curry was 400-4 as an amateur; although there are a few places where that record is listed at 400-6.

Curry is one of the lost group of U.S. fighters from the 1980 Olympic team that never actually fought in the Olympics. Although he later regretted it, President Jimmy Carter enforced a boycott by the U.S. of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow because of the Soviet Union’s invasion of ... Afghanistan.

At the time, fighting for the Olympic team in the U.S. carried weight; it had served as a successful point of entry into the pros for many of the fighters from previous generations, specifically the likes of Muhammad Ali, George Foreman and Sugar Ray.

Curry, who lives in Fort Wort with his family, turned out to be the best fighter of the ‘80 team, but he never had the chance to win gold. There was no way he could wait another four years for the ‘84 Olympics; he had to turn pro.

He steadily climbed and in December 1985, Curry knocked out Milton McCrory in Las Vegas in the second round to become the undisputed welterweight champion.

There would be no shot against Sugar Ray Leonard, who had relinquished his title because of an eye injury.

Curry would hold that title for a year, and others for multiple years, but his biggest problem was he never fought a household name. He defeated quality opponents, but to fight Hagler meant he would have to move up in weight class.

Curry eventually moved up a class, but he later regretted it.

Beating a giant name was held against Curry for years, until finally the totality of his career, and all of his achievements, were considered.

Being Donald Curry is finally enough.

So the next time you see The Lone Star Cobra, you are looking at a Hall of Famer.

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram