Michael Dokes, a former World Boxing Association heavyweight champion, has died. He was 54.
The Rhoden Memorial Home in Akron, Ohio, said Dokes died Saturday.
The Akron Beacon Journal reported the boxer died in an Akron hospice from liver cancer.
Dokes won the heavyweight title at 24 in December 1982 when referee Joey Curtis made a controversial decision to stop his fight against champion Mike Weaver. Dokes dominated the first round over Weaver, prompting the decision.
An admitted problem with cocaine helped him lose the WBA title only nine months later to Gerrie Coetzee, however, and Dokes never held the heavyweight crown again.
Known as "Dynamite" Dokes because he packed a powerful punch, he had a career record of 53-6-2.
Dokes came back for one last shot at the big time, getting a February 1993 opportunity at the heavyweight title against Riddick Bowe in New York.
Dokes earned $750,000 but didn't last long. Bowe won by technical knockout in the first round at Madison Square Garden.
Dokes last fought in October 1997, when he weighed 280 pounds.
Once regarded by many as one of the most promising young fighters in the game, Dokes succumbed to a cocaine habit that cut his career short. He ran into a string of legal problems that derailed his career.
In 1986, Dokes was arrested in Las Vegas for cocaine trafficking and served two years' probation.
In 2000, he was sentenced to 10 years in jail after pleading guilty to attempted murder and other charges after holding his girlfriend against her will for six hours in the home they shared. He was released in 2008.
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