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Curtis Cokes was born June 15, 1937, in Dallas, Texas. In 1958, he made his professional boxing debut against Manuel Gonzalez and won a six round decision. Little did he know that he would fight Gonzalez three more times over the course of the next eight years, his final victory over Gonzalez earning the WBA world welterweight title.
Along the way, Cokes fought and defeated some of the best fighters of his era including Rip Randall, Stan Harrington, Luis Rodriquez, Joe Miceli, and Jean Josselin. As a champion, Cokes successfully defended his title against Josselin, Francois Pavilla, Charlie Shipes, Willie Ludick, and Ramon LaCruz, before losing to the great Jose Napoles in 1969.
Cokes’ boxing career came to an end on October 5, 1972, with a ten round decision victory over Ezra Mzinyane, in Cape Town, South Africa. His final ring record was 62-14-4, with 30 knockouts.
Cokes, who has spent his entire life in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, has become one of the best trainers in the business. He developed Quincy Taylor into a world champion, and also trained Ike Ibeabuchi, in his upset victory over David Tua.
His fighters are known to be well schooled, well conditioned, and reliable. Curtis Cokes, one of the best liked men in boxing, was inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame, in Los Angeles, California, in October 1998.