Donald Curry vs. Lloyd Honeyghan

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Honeyghan throws a right at Curry

1986-09-27 : Donald Curry 146½ lbs lost to Lloyd Honeyghan 146½ lbs by RTD at 3:00 in round 6 of 12

  • WBA Welterweight Title (8th defense by Curry)
  • WBC Welterweight Title (7th defense by Curry)
  • IBF Welterweight Title (2nd defense by Curry)

Notes

  • Honeyghan was ranked #1 by the WBC.
  • The fight was considered to be such a mismatch that some oddsmakers refused to issue a betting line.
  • Honeyghan bet $5,000 on himself at 5-1 odds.
  • Curry's purse was $300,000, and Honeyghan's was $162,750.
  • The fight was held in a showroom at the Caesars Atlantic City Hotel Casino. There was a crowd of about 1,000.
  • The fight was televised live by Showtime.
  • 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.
  • Akbar Muhammad said Curry weighed 168 pounds six and one half weeks prior to the fight. Then his grandfather's death caused Curry 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."
  • When Curry returned to his corner after the sixth round, with blood flowing down his face from a deep gash over his left eye, he shook his head and was heard to tell his corner, "I'm through."
  • The fight was named The Ring Upset of the Year for 1986.
  • Honeyghan relinquished the WBA title in December 1986 to protest apartheid in South Africa and the WBA's continued sanctioning of bouts involving citizens of South Africa. At the time, South African Harold Volbrecht was the WBA's #1 welterweight contender.


From Sports Illustrated:

He [Honeyghan] and [trainer Bobby] Neill had agreed that the essence of their strategy must be to force Curry to back up, and their plan took immediate effect as the challenger attacked with surging verve and a variety of accurate punches to take the first round easily. Then, early on in the second, Honeyghan caught Curry with a tremendous driving right that hurled the champion across the ring. Curry managed to close and hold long enough for his head to clear, but he was already bleeding from the mouth. Honeyghan compounded the champion's miseries with a sharp combination to the head before the end of the round.

Curry reached far into a substantial spirit to try to turn the fight in the third and fourth rounds, but although he won both, he was never for a moment in total command, never recognizable as a man who came to this job with seven straight knockouts behind him. By the end of the fourth round, an awareness of imminent calamity was seeping into Curry's head. "I had been too relaxed all day," he recalled later. "I usually want to get a little nervous, but I didn't feel that way. I couldn't get into the rhythm, and during 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."

That wasn't surprising since he had burned down from 168 pounds to meet Honeyghan. Curry was not himself because part of him had been left in puddles on the floor of a gym. What remained might easily have been deposited on the floor of the ring in the fifth round, which saw Honeyghan punishingly regain control. Curry looked a beaten fighter before an accidental butt from his opponent's cropped head in the sixth opened an alarming gash under his left eyebrow. Honeyghan worsened the cut with ripping head punches, and ringside doctors were merely endorsing the view of Gorman, and of the loser himself, when they ruled that Curry should not come off his stool for the seventh round. Instead, he went to a nearby hospital to have some 20 stitches applied around the damaged eye and one to his lower lip.

Despite all that, as well as the pain of a broken nose, the 25-year-old ex-champion called a press conference at 1:30 a.m. Sunday and talked with such dignity that no one was inclined to dismiss his vow that he will be back to spread havoc among the junior middleweights.

Honeyghan, holder of all three versions of the world welterweight championship, faces an early defense of his crown against Johnny Bumphus, the International Boxing Federation's No. 1 contender, but the real money fight on his horizon should involve 1984 Olympic gold medalist Mark Breland. That could be a year away.

The new champion says he has no fear of any fighter—only of fame. He had better work on that problem. Hammering Donald Curry was no way to stay out of the limelight.

Articles

"Honeyghan does more than challenge Curry" by Ed Schuyler, Jr., Associated Press, September 26, 1986
"Upset Losses Slow Boxers' Progress" by Phil Berger, The New York Times, September 29, 1986
"A Shocker Over Cocktails" by Hugh McIlvanney, Sports Illustrated, October 6, 1986