Former heavyweight boxing champion Michael Dokes died on Saturday in Akron after a long battle with liver cancer, the Cleveland Dealer reported. Dokes had turned 54 the day before he died. Besides his boxing prowess, Dokes was known for his use of drugs and alcohol and his relationships with women. Dokes, whose nickname was "Dynamite," first gained fame as age 15 when he made it to the finals of the national Golden Gloves tournament. He won the national AAU heavyweight championship in 1975 and the Golden Gloves title in 1976. Dokes turned professional in 1976, and he was 25-0-1, with 14 knockouts, when he won the World Boxing Association heavyweight title with a first-round technical knockout of Mike Weaver on Dec. 10, 1982. The rematch was ruled a draw, and Dokes retained his title, but he lost the title to Gerrie Coetzee on a 10th-round TKO on Sept. 23, 1983. Years later, in an article in Sports Illustrated, Dokes said he trained for the fight "on cocaine and Jack Daniels." Dokes remained a high-ranking heavyweight for several years, but was never able to regain the title. Losses to Evander Holyfield in March 1989 and to Donovan Ruddock in April 1990 prevented him from reaching the top. In 1993, Dokes got a title bout against Riddick Bowe. But Dokes came in weighing 244 pounds and was stopped in the first round. Dokes earned $750,000 for the fight. He fought five more times after that, and he stopped in the second round by Paul Phillips in his final bout on Oct. 11, 1997. He finished with a record of 53-6-2, with 34 knockouts. Dokes was arrested in Nevada in 1998 for assaulting his girlfriend and sentenced to 10 years in prison. He was paroled in 2008. He returned to Akron to live with relatives in 2010.
- Michael Dokes