Ten-Count for Rocky Lockridge

By Robert Ecksel on February 8, 2019
Ten-Count for Rocky Lockridge
With championship glory in the rearview mirror, he turned to drugs. (Humphrey Nemar)

Happy endings in boxing are few and far between, especially for former fighters, and Rocky Lockridge was no exception…

Former two-time super featherweight champion Rocky Lockridge passed away Thursday after a long illness. He was 60.

He died of complications related to a series of strokes, the first which he suffered 13 years earlier, and pneumonia.

After going 210-8 as an amateur, Lockridge turned pro in 1978 and stopped 14 of the first 16 men he faced, setting up his first shot at a world title against long reigning featherweight champion Eusebia Pedroza in 1980. Rocky lost that bout by split decision after 15 hard-fought rounds. But he wasn’t close to being done.

Rocky went 14-1 in his next 15 fights, leading to a rematch with Pedroza in 1983. Again he lost, by a razor-thin majority decision, and again he resumed his winning ways, defeating high caliber opponents like Cornelius Boza-Edwards in ‘83 and then-undefeated Roger Mayweather the following year, who Lockridge flattened in the opening round to win the WBA super featherweight title.

His first title reign was short-lived, however. In the first defense of his title in 1985, Rocky fought WBC super featherweight champion Wilfredo Gomez, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, no less, and lost a majority decision. The final scores were 145-144, 145-143, and 144-144.

After two quick wins to regain his footing, he fought and lost to WBC champion Julio Cesar Chavez in 1986, again by majority decision, before winning the IBF super featherweight champion a year later.

Lockridge won his first two IBF title defenses, before losing the crown to Tony Lopez in 1988 in Ring Magazine’s Fight of the Year.

He lost three of next four fights, before retiring in 1992 with a 44-9 (36 KOs) record. His was stopped once in 15 years.

Happy endings in boxing are few and far between, especially for former fighters, and Rocky Lockridge was no exception.

With championship glory in the rearview mirror, he turned to drugs and the madness that goes with it. He was convicted of burglary in 1997 and served 27 months in the joint before being released in 1999. Free at last, he continued his substance abuse and was homeless on the mean streets of Camden, New Jersey.

He suffered a stroke in 2006. In 2010 he appeared in an episode of A&E’s “Intervention,” a reality show for voyeurs with strong stomachs, and was clean and sober, if somewhat debilitated, for the remainder of his life.

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  1. George Otto 10:09am, 02/10/2019

    Winning a world title, defending it, not staying away from a crew of individuals solely interested in having fun, frequently engaging in addictive behaviors which are destructive in many ways, not planning for a meaningful vocational career after boxing, avoiding securing solid financial planning advice to include lawfully paying taxes, not staying busy as a fighter in regular training and frequent bouts, and thinking that fame and fortune will last forever add up to an unfortunate and often shortened stay on this planet.  Years ago the American Association for the Improvement of Boxing presented a series of suggestions to help professional fighters do well in many ways after securing a championship.  Unfortunately, many championship and other boxers have not adhered to those published ideas.

  2. Mau-Mauing The Flak Catchers 07:25am, 02/09/2019

    Remember watching the Lockridge vs. Wilfredo Gomez fight.  I see Rocky passed on the same day as baseball great, Frank Robinson. Lockridge had a tough road after retiring from boxing but then again he had to have made some decent paydays so he has to shoulder some of the blame himself. At least he was somewhat responsible for winding up on the streets, but whatever was crippling him emotionally, money or drugs can’t help no matter the size of your bank account. The guy was a helluva fighter.  Hope he found peace in the end. RIP Rocky and RIP also to number 20, Frank Robinson. Mr. Robinson was part of one of the greatest teams ever assembled on the baseball diamond, the 1969-1971 Baltimore Orioles.

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