Unfortunately, the sad news keeps coming regarding the great featherweights and super-featherweights of this beloved sport of ours. First we heard, earlier this week, how Panamanian legend Eusebio Perdroza is fighting for his life with cancer, and now the sad news has broken of how another world title challenger at 126 pounds, and a champ at 130, Rocky Lockridge (who fought Pedroza on two occasions) has passed away at the age of 60.
TMZ broke the bad news, and they report how Lockridge – who became embroiled in a long battle with drug addiction and was even living homeless in his retirement years – died due to complications with a stroke the former champ suffered. A fine fighter in his day, Rocky will be sorely missed by his fans, friends and of course his family.
A pro in 1978, Lockridge of Tacoma Washington met a veritable who’s who of the featherweight and super-featherweight divisions. Losing two close decisions to Pedroza in world featherweight title challenges, Lockridge moved up and found his greatness at super-feather. Lockridge KO’d Roger Mayweather inside a single round to win the WBA super-feather crown in 1984 (Rocky being the first man to defeat Mayweather) and he went on to retain his belt twice, before losing via majority decision to Wilfredo Gomez in 1985.
An unsuccessful challenge of WBC 130 pound king Julio Cesar Chavez (then 52-0) followed (another majority verdict that went against Lockridge), before Rocky stopped Barry Michael to become a two-time champ, this time the IBF ruler. Two retentions followed, before Tony Lopez dethroned Rocky via decision in 1989 – repeating the win in an immediate return bout.
Rocky had three more fights, winning one, by KO, and then dropping decisions to champs Rafael Ruelas and Sharmba Mitchell, both in non-title bouts. Retiring in 1992 with hard-earned 44-9(36) record, Rocky was stopped just once, this by Juan Laporte way back in 1981, in what was Lockridge’s 22nd pro fight.
Sadly, Rocky’s retirement years were largely unkind to him, but he has a special place in the hearts and minds of those fans who knew him.