Curtis Cokes, Hall of Fame champ, dies at 82

Photo+of+Curtis+Cokes+during+his+boxing+career

Associated Press

In this April 1969 file photo, welterweight boxer Curtis Cokes trains for his fight against José Nápoles in Los Angeles. Cokes, the Hall of Fame welterweight who became Dallas’ first world champion in 1966, has died. He was 82.

Associated Press

DALLAS Curtis Cokes, the Hall of Fame boxer who became Dallas’ first world champion in 1966, died on May 29. He was 82.

Erwin “Sparky” Sparks, Cokes’ partner at the Home of Champions Boxing Gym, told The Dallas Morning News that Cokes died Friday after a week of hospice care.

Cokes took the World Boxing Association welterweight title in 1966 with a unanimous decision over Manny Gonzalez in New Orleans. He added the World Boxing Council crown three months later with a unanimous decision over Jean Josselin at Dallas’ Memorial Auditorium.

Cokes lost the title to José Nápoles in 1969 at the Forum outside Los Angeles and dropped a rematch soon after in Mexico City.

Inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2003, the 5-foot-8 Cokes fought 80 times from 1958 to 1972, finishing 62-14-4 with 30 knockouts. He later trained fighters at his gym.

Cokes starred in basketball and baseball at Dallas’ Booker T. Washington High School.

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