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     CANASTOTA, NY - JUNE 1, 2020 -  The International Boxing Hall of Fame announced its flags will fly at half-staff in memory of welterweight champion Curtis Cokes, who passed away on Friday of heart failure in Dallas, TX. He was 82.

    Curtis Cokes was a terrific counterpuncher and owned one of the best right hands the welterweight division has ever seen,” said Hall of Fame Executive Director Edward Brophy. “The Hall of Fame offers our condolences to his family and joins the boxing world in mourning his passing.”

    Born in Dallas, TX, the 5’8” Cokes excelled at baseball and basketball before stepping into the ring at age 17 at his hometown YMCA. He turned pro in 1958 and quickly entered the top-ten. In 1966, he defeated Manny Gonzalez (W 15) for the vacant WBA welterweight championship and next defeated Jean Josselin (W 15) for the WBC belt to unify titles and gain universal recognition as champion. Cokes successfully defended his belts four times before losing the titles to Jose Napoles in 1969. He continued boxing until retiring in 1972 with a 62-14-4 (30 KOs) record that includes wins over Luis Rodriguez, Charlie Shipes and Willie Ludick among others. He found success outside of the ring, appearing in the acclaimed boxing film Fat City and training middleweight champion Quincy Taylor and heavyweight contender Kirk Johnson among others.

    In 2003, Cokes was elected into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

2003 Hall of Fame Inductee Curtis Cokes
Below please find photos from Cokes' career and visit to Canastota. Click on thumbnail to see image: 
The Class of 2003 - (left to right) Mike McCallum, Budd Schulberg, George Foreman, Nicolino Locche and Curtis Cokes
Hall of Fame trainer Lou Duva and Cokes enjoy time together during the 2003 Hall of Fame Weekend
Cokes in fighting pose during his championship career
Cokes hits the speed bag during a training session