August 13th, 2012 By Pedro FernandezDOKES WAS NEVER REALLY “DYNAMITE”
San Francisco, CA- Truth be told, when I met Michael Dokes circa 1980 he was one of the fastest “boxers” I had ever witnessed sparring at the late Johnny Tocco’s Ringside Gym on Main & Charleston Sts. in Las Vegas, NV. With blistering hand speed, and not so fast feet, Dokes was coming off a draw with Ossie Ocasio, a 190 lb. cruiserweight type whom he would whip via TKO 1. The problem with Dokes, at least from my perspective was that his punches were more flash than smash!
ALWAYS LOOKING TO SHED WEIGHT
What I did notice was that Dokes was wearing “plastic” and always seemed to be sweating off the pounds. As if Tocco’s gym, which at times was a sweatbox wasn’t hot enough, Michael Dokes was always shedding weight. When I watched him weigh in Johnny’s office, his time on the scale was about as quick as the late Arturo Gatti spent before fighting Joey Gamache. Simply put, Dokes wasn’t taking care of himself and he was only 22 or 23 years old.
TITLE WIN SMELLED LIKE SUN-DRIED COD FISH!
In 1982, Dokes captured the WBA heavyweight title in what looked like to the masses as a “fix” as referee Joey Curtis abruptly stopped his fight with Mike Weaver. His posing with Dokes for photographs at a Don King sponsored post fight victory party did little to change the minds of many that Curtis was in the pocket of King. The much clamored for rematch ended in a 15 round draw, another time in which a King fighter escaped with title in hand. Dokes lost the belt in his next fight when Gerrie Coetzee knocked him out in 1983.
DOKES & COKE WERE LIKE RUM & COKE!
When I would see Michael Dokes at various events, I always was of the opinion he was high, I thought it was weed as I had smelled that emanating from one of his fur coats one night. But Johnny Tocco, who ran his Las Vegas gym since transplanting from St. Louis in 1952 until just before his death in the late 1990s, told me Dokes would never make it. “He lacks discipline and likes Cocaine.” Tocco said he warned Dokes one time after witnessing the tail end of what appeared to be a dope deal in Tocco’s parking lot.
DOKES HAD BUT ONE GREAT FIGHT IN HIS LIFE!
In 1989, Dokes met the ascending in weight (ex-cruiserweight 190 lb. champ) Evander Holyfield. That turned out to be Dokes’ finest moment as a professional. The only problem for Dokes is that he was running on fumes and stopped in ten rounds in what was called the “best heavyweight fight of the decade” of the 80s. Five fights later “Razor” Ruddock punched him out in four frames.
“BIG DADDY” BOWE THRASHED DOKES
With his last chance at glory, Dokes was drilled in less than one round in 1993 by another fighter who lacked discipline in then heavyweight champ Riddick Bowe. Although he would take almost two years off and win three fights against guys like Dave “Dig ‘Em Up” Davis (8-21), Dokes would lose his last two fights to ham & egger types and retire for good in 1997.
WILL NOT FORGET ONE NIGHT & MICHAEL DOKES!
One night, a girlfriend and I were staying at the now razed hotel that was right across the street from the Great Western Forum in Inglewood, CA after a night of boxing. Dokes, in the lobby with the ageless wonder and boxing manager/advisor Marty Cohen, trailed my girl Lucy into the elevator and after she exited the elevator Dokes followed. Making verbal advancements, she ran to the room and got inside just ahead of Dokes and locked the door. When she never returned to the lobby, I went looking for her and found her in tears in the room.
LUCY WAS LUCKIER THAN DOKES’ GIRLFRIEND
Dokes was a sexual predator. You can do all you can in writing sweet eulogies about him, but the bottom line is Michael Dokes was a violent man. In 1999, Dokes beat on his girlfriend for almost 24 hours, leaving her so battered that not even the National Enguirer would publish pictures of her. Sentenced to up to 12 years in prison, Dokes got out in 2008.
CANCER DIAGNOSIS SHOWED END WAS NEAR
In 2011, I heard that Dokes’ health was failing with terminal cancer. Although he had paid his debt to society with nine years in the slammer, Dokes had assaulted other women in the 90s and was said to have dragged one person an entire city block with his Cadilac.
DOKES A PRIME EXAMPLE OF….
You can take a person out of the ghetto, but as was the case with Michael Dokes, you can’t take the ghetto out of the person! As a professional, Dokes went 53-6-2, 34 KOs. His death on August 11, 2012 was noted in many news circles. For the many writers that didn’t know him, they wrote glorifying stories. The bottom line was that Michael Dokes may have been cool to some, but in reality a creep to many more !