R.I.P Ricky Parkey – The Former IBF Cruiserweight Champ Passes At Age 67

By James Slater - 04/12/2024 - Comments

In sad news, it’s been reported how former IBF cruiserweight champion Ricky Parkey has passed away at the age of 67. Long-time fight figure Aaron Snowell put the news up on his FaceBook page. While some tributes have appeared on the internet. Parkey lost a short battle with lung cancer.

Older fans may remember Parkey of Morristown, Tennessee. Going pro in 1981, Parkey won two and then he fought future WBA heavyweight champ James “Bonecrusher” Smith, with the 25 year old losing on points over six rounds. Parkey lost his eighth fight, again on points, this time to Bobby Jennings. It was in 1984 when Parkey began fighting for titles, but he unfortunately came up short against Bernard Benton in a USBA cruiserweight title shot, Parkey again losing via decision.

Parkey then faced another name heavy, with him getting a split decision win over Renaldo Snipes. Parkey, who never let a loss bother him too much, with him simply moving onto the next one, was decisioned by Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, this in September of 1985. By this stage of his career, Parkey was 16-4 and not too many people were expecting him to become a world champion.

But Parkey did it in October of 1986, when he scored a 10th round TKO over Lee Roy Murphy in Italy, winning the IBF cruiserweight title. Parkey had overcome so much and now he was a world ruler. Sticking around in Italy, Parkey successfully defended his belt with a late stoppage win over Chisanda Mutti. Then, in his biggest fight, Parkey was stopped by Evander Holyfield in a two-belt unification fight in Las Vegas.

Sadly for Parkey, he went on a losing spell after being stopped in three rounds by “The Real Deal.” Parkey, fighting at both heavyweight and cruiserweight, lost to Johnny du Plooy, Gary Mason, and Alonso Ratliff. Parkey was now being stopped in fights on a pretty regular basis. On Parkey soldiered, facing big names like Dwight Muhammad Qawi and Anaclet Wamba, with Parkey being stopped both times. Fighting on until May of 1994, Parkey would lose his final 12 fights. Ricky retired with an average-looking 22-20(16) record, but he was a world champion and at his best he was a proven warrior with plenty of heart.

We express our condolences to Ricky’s family and friends at this time.

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