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R.I.P. Former World Champion Rocky Lockridge

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  • R.I.P. Former World Champion Rocky Lockridge

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    By Arne K. Lang

    Rocky Lockridge, a former world super featherweight champion who participated in a slew of memorable bouts in the 1980s, has reportedly died at age 60. The news was confirmed by his son, Ricky Lockridge Jr. Complications from a recent stroke were cited as the cause of death.

    Born in Tacoma, Washington, Lockridge won a national AAU bantamweight title as a teenager but declined an invite to compete in the Olympic trials because he was making too much money as the drummer and lead singer of a local band. He made his pro debut at age 19 in neighboring Seattle but in quick time became identified with New Jersey where he was part of the Duva family of boxers under the Main Events imprimatur. Twenty-nine of Lockridge’s first 33 fights were in the Garden State.

    Lockridge, who finished his career with a record 44-9 with 36 KOs and was stopped only once, had only 16 fights under his belt when he challenged future Hall of Famer Eusebio Pedroza for the WBA featherweight title. He came up short, losing a 15-round split decision. They would fight again in San Remo, Italy, and once again Lockridge came up a tad short, losing a narrow but unanimous decision. Two of the judges gave the fight to the Panamanian (who is reportedly in very bad health) by a single point.

    Four fights after his second setback to Pedroza, Lockridge won the WBA 130-pound title with a spectacular one-punch, 91-second knockout of Roger Mayweather. He would subsequently add the IBF 130-pound diadem, dethroning Australia’s Barry Michael on a card in England. Michael failed to answer the bell for the ninth round and would never fight again.

    All told, Lockridge fought nine current, former, or future world title holders: Pedroza, Mayweather, Michael, Juan LaPorte, Cornelius Boza-Edwards, Wilfredo Gomez, Julio Cesar Chavez, Tony Lopez (twice), Rafael Ruelas, and Sharmba Mitchell. His first fight with hometown hero Tony Lopez in Sacramento was named The Ring magazine Fight of the Year. He retired after losing back-to-back fights to Ruelas and Mitchell.

    Lockridge didn’t adapt well to life after boxing. In 2009, he was found living on the streets of Camden, New Jersey, where he frequented the crime-ridden city’s most notorious intersection. By then he had served time for burglary and was using a walker to get around. This was quite a comedown for an articulate man known for his easy-going personality who had taken classes in business at New Jersey’s William Paterson College.

    “Rocky was always just a nickname, but it came to represent a broken-down champion who lost his family and more than a decade of his life to crack and alcohol on the Camden (New Jersey) streets,” wrote Jason Nark in the Philadelphia Daily News in 2010.

    Nark’s story was in conjunction with an upcoming episode of the award- winning A&E reality show “Intervention” where Lockridge’s fight for sobriety would be chronicled. His appearance on the show was arranged by Jacquie Richardson, a woman who has dedicated her life to helping retired boxers in similar circumstances.

    We here at The Sweet Science send our condolences to Lockridge’s loved ones. Rest in peace, Champ.

  • #2
    Vastly underrated. A victim of substance abuse. A very sad story. May the Lord watch over him for eternity.

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    • #3
      Rocky was a stud fighter back in the day day.

      Rest In Peace Mr. Lockridge. 🙏

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