“Hello All,” Donovan Curry began typing on twitter last week, addressing the 900-plus followers his dad, Donald ‘The Lone Star Cobra’ Curry, has on social media. “I’m speaking on behalf of my father, Donald Curry today. A champion of the world of boxing, one of the greatest welterweights of all time. However, today I’m asking for help. Not in a monetary way, but to spread awareness hopefully find a solution for retired athletes with head trauma and symptoms of CTE. For the last 3 years, I’ve tried to find help for my father to possibly get a CT scan or have a mental evaluation take place, but living far away and him not being able to travel correctly have dampened that situation.”
Things hit a real low when the former two-weight world champion struck his sister as she slept a little more than a week ago. The ex-fighter lived with her and when she called the police, Curry was arrested and thrown in jail – where he has spent entirely too much time.
Curry needs help and Donovan had nowhere else to turn.
‘The Cobra’ has declined mentally and physically in recent years and when he was released from jail a few days later, he had nowhere to go.
Donovan put him up in a motel for a couple of nights while posting a Go Fund Me page on Twitter trying to raise money so his pops had a place to stay.
In the meantime, he managed to find Curry a shelter moving forwards so when he raised enough money to take care of the motel for the few days it would take before the shelter could take him, Donovan took the request down. Curry is due to move in to the shelter next week but it’s a grim situation and the outlook isn’t great.
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy is a degenerative neurological disease that in 1928 was medically termed ‘punch drunk syndrome’. It later became ‘dementia pugilistica’ but the sporting lexicon began using CTE mostly around the time of the NFL’s concussion crisis although it’s still not an enormous part of the conversation in boxing.
Curry is on a conveyor belt of old champions, used, abused and tossed on a scrapheap with nowhere to go.
A rare highlight might be a weekend at the International Boxing Hall of Fame or an ex-boxers gala evening but they are few and far between.
“He loves interacting with all of the old fighters,” Donovan, 29, added. “They were having a good old time talking about the old times so it was fun, and I know it was good for my dad. He liked that feeling, I guess it helps him remember how things were rather than how things are.”
But in Donovan’s moving and heartfelt appeal to the boxing world, he cited one of the sport’s significant problems as a reason for him having so few options. There was no one he could call to talk to about the hard times his father was experiencing and no one he could ask for help.
He didn’t have the contacts to reach out to anyone at the WBC or the WBA, there’s obviously no pension fund and no union to help, either.
What he does have is YouTube, and occasionally he’ll allow himself to look back on how his dad looked and sounded in his glory years, when he streaked through the welterweight division with wins over Marlon Starling and Milton McCrory to be considered the pound-for-pound best of the time.
“I watch old fights and interviews and it feels like I don’t really know that person,” admitted Donovan, whose parents broke up when he was just three. “I know who I know as my dad growing up, that’s the only person I know. He’s a totally different person now so I never got to know him as a world champion. I was born towards the end of his career. It’s definitely a humbling experience but I’m just hoping maybe I can help spread awareness and maybe get him some help.”
He doesn’t just want to help his dad but he’s hoping his father’s story could be used for the greater good, to help boxers far and wide and well beyond Forth Worth, Texas, where his dad still lives. He hopes his father might yet help countless others like him, those who wind up in their biggest fight in life after the final bell.
“With my dad’s story, I feel there is a place for it in some kind of book,” Donovan added. “There were are a lot of people who were around in his boxing career that are still around now. I always thought there is something there for my dad. I feel like his career and his life is a story that can be told.”