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Rocky Lockridge


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One of the best super featherweights of his time, Rocky Lockridge captured the world title twice at this weight. He lost only to the best and gave Julio Cesar Chavez one of his toughest and closest fights in the 80's. However, a drug addiction and marital problems helped get his career on the downward slope and he retired with 9 losses on his record. He has however only been knocked out once, early in his career. He hit hard, was fast and could take a good punch also, plus he had the necessary fundamentals.This is the story of pride of Tacoma, Rocky Lockridge.


Born Rick Lockridge on 10 January 1959 in Tacoma, Washington, Lockridge started boxing as amateur for the Tacoma Boys Club. He won the national AAU bantamweight championship in 1977 and was a runner up for the 1978 Golden Gloves title, as well as runner up in that year's AAU championship. That same year, he took part in the world amateur championships in Belgrade and was eliminated in the quarter-finals by Fazlija Sacirovic, 2-3 on points. He turned pro in August that year, trained by George Benton and managed by Lou Duva. In September 1979 he won the New Jersey State featherweight title on points against Gerald Hayes. In February next year he won the USBA title by knocking out Fel Clemente by TKO 7. He got a world title shot against the WBA champion Eusebio Pedroza of Panama and the two commenced 4 October 1980 at Great Gorge Resort in McAfee, USA. The fight was very close but Pedroza at 5'8 or maybe 5'9 towered above the 5'6 Lockridge and he came on strong in the second half to snatch the decision and win by SD15. Lou Duva accused Pedroza's trainer of putting something illegal in his mouth after the fifth round, but Pedroza said it was just ice and nothing was made of it. After defending his USBA feather title on points against Edwin Luis Rivera, Lockridge fought Juan LaPorte, himself a future world champion, 22 August 1981. The first round was fast paced and they exchanged a lot, LaPorte looking faster and Lockridge more accurate. At the beginning of the second round, LaPorte hurt Lockridge with a lead right hand and then sent him off balance and buckled his knees with a right and a left. Lockridge was allover the place. He then recuperated and drove LaPorte to the ropes where they started exchanging wildly, before LaPorte landed another big left hook before nailing Lockridge with a massive right hand that knocked him out. This was the first and the only time this would happen to him.


Lockridge got back on track by fighting contender Refugio Rojas and winning by a narrow majority decision after 10 rounds. He then reeled off 7 knockouts and 1 decision before again fighting Pedroza, the long reigning WBA champ, 24 March 1983 in San Remo, Italy. Again the fight was close but Pedroza retained the title this time by unanimous decision, though the scores were close, two of the judges giving it to him by one point. After this, Rocky decided to move up to the division where he would make his mark: super featherweight. On 9 September he fought against former WBC champ Cornelius Boza Edwards and though he was down once in the first round, he managed to win by UD10. On 26 February 1984 at Civic Center in Beaumont, Texas came his first great night as he fought the WBA champion Roger "Black Mamba" Mayweather. Mayweather was slightly taller and a lot rangier and was undefeated at 17-0, being considered one of the hottest new names in the division. Lockridge changed that status when he nailed him with a tremendous overhand right which put Mayweather out cold after only 91 seconds. It couldn't be a more stunning way to become a champion. In his first defense he stopped Korean Tae-Jin Moon by TKO11. In the second, he had a brawl against Tunisian future WBO champion Kamel-Bou Ali and got the better of the action until Ali's corner stopped the fight early in round 6. He then landed his first really big fight against Wilfredo "Bazooka" Gomez; the fight happened on 19 May 1985 in San Juan, Gomez's homeplace. It was a back and forth fight where Lockridge was more aggressive while Gomez stayed on the outside and boxed patiently. It paid off as in the end, despite getting bloodied and almost knocked down in round 10, Gomez was awarded the majority decision. Farewell to that title.


Rocky didn't sulk and returned to action soon, winning two easy fights by stoppage before fighting in his biggest ever fight versus Julio Cesar Chavez, 3 August 1986 at Stade Louis II in Fontvieille, Monaco. It is not known to those who haven't been there just what happened, because the American broadcast got cut off before the fight started. But what is known is that Chavez took home a narrow majority decision, meaning it was another close and hotly contested loss for Lockridge. He then finally became a world champion again when he fought the IBF champion from Australia, Barry Michael, 9 August 1987 in Windsor, England. This time, nobody could deny Lockridge the victory after Michael retired in his corner following the 8th round. All the scorecards were decisively on Lockridge's side. Rocky defended first against Dominican Johnny De La Rosa, who had given his former conqueror LaPorte a close fight, 25 October in Tucson, Arizona. Rocky had less trouble with De La Rosa and halted him by TKO 10 after a competitive fight but with Lockridge firmly ahead. He then made his second defense against the 19-0 Harold Knight, the USBA champion. It was 2 April 1988 in Atlantic City and Lockridge won by UD15, after being shook by Knight's left hook in round 6 and hurt in the 11th by another left hook but elsewhere was dominant and took everything else his opponent had to give. "I take my hat off to one hell of a fighter-"The Shadow" (Knight's fighting alias), he will be the next junior lightweight world champon", Lockridge said after the fight. But that prediction didn't go home, as Knight retired following that fight.


It was then time for Tony "Tiger" Lopez and the fight of the year. Lopez was 29-1 and his sole loss was by disqualification. He was known as a strong, durable and hard-hitting fighter, a brawler. The fight happened 23 July at Arco Arena in Sacramento, which favored Lopez because of its' many Mexican residents. It was a war of atrition and Lopez, despite getting floored in round 8, would prevail after 12 hard rounds, winning by decision, 116-112 and 115-112 twice. The rematch was signed soon and happened 5 March 1989, at the same place. This time, Lopez was more dominant and won again by UD, this time also more decisively. Lockridge's prime was now gone. He slid into alcohol and drug abuse, which worsened after he retired. After knocking out Mike Zena in 8 at the end of 1989, he lost first to Rafael Ruelas and then to Sharmba Mitchell, both times by UD10. Last decision was a near-shutout and he retired after that fight which happened 22 April 1992, aged 33. His record is 44 wins (36 by ko) and 9 losses.


Lockridge moved back to Tacoma after the end of his fighting career, but a divorce made it worse for him in trying to live a peaceful life and his drug abuse worsened. He moved back to New Jersey where he lived as a pro and ended up living on the streets for a long time, until his sons Ricky jr and Lamar persuaded him to take part in the 2010 reality show Celebrity Intervention. This resulted in him going to rehab and he became sober eventually. In 2016, he was hospitalised. His health is in a troubling state currently and in 2006 he suffered a stroke that forced him to walk with a cane. He looked in better shape in a video from 2013 however, where he was properly dressed and was filmed standing in front of a building, when a liquored up bully approached him. Lockridge landed a left hook and knocked the man unconscious, thus "winning" his last fight and becoming famous for a knockout long after his retirement. In 2000, he was inducted into New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame. Together with Freddie Steele, Leo Randolph and Johnny Bumphus, he is the only world champion from Tacoma.

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