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Curtis Cooke, Hall of Fame champ, dies


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DALLAS (AP) Curtis Cokes, the Hall of Fame welterweight who became Dallasâ?? first world champion in 1966, has died. He was 82.

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Erwin â??Sparkyâ?? Sparks, Cokesâ?? partner at the Home of Champions gym, told The Dallas Morning News that Cokes died Friday after a week in hospice.

Cokes took the World Boxing Association welterweight title in 1966 belt with a unanimous decision over Manny Gonzalez in New Orleans and added the World Boxing Council crown three months later with a unanimous decision over Jean Josselin at Dallasâ?? Memorial Auditorium.

Cokes lost the titles to Jose Napoles in 1969 at the Forum outside Los Angeles, and dropped a rematch soon after in Mexico City.

Inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2003, the 5-foot-8 Cokes fought 80 times from 1958 to 1972, finishing 62-14-4 with 30 knockouts. He later trained fighters at his gym.

Cokes starred in basketball and baseball at Dallas' Booker T. Washington High School.

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