On September 27th 1986, the biggest shock and the greatest surprise, when Lloyd Honeyghan defeated the formidable undisputed welterweight champion Donald Curry, at Cesar`s Palace, Atlantic City.
At the main press conference prior to the fight, Lloyd attended in casual clothes and a surprised champion remarked: “Who is this Ragamuffin Man?” It delighted Jamaican born Lloyd, because in the Caribbean it means a cool dude! So, on the spot Lloyd who`d been London based since the age of nine, adopted it as his nickname.
Donald who was known as the “Lone Star Cobra,” was undefeated. His record was 25-0 with 20 KO`s. He`d stopped Milton McCrory, Colin Jones of Gorseinon, Wales and defeated the brilliant Marlon Starling. It was his eighth defense and a mandatory, because Lloyd was the number one contender.
In spite of this, most experts thought that that Don would easily overcome Lloyd to retain his WBC, WBA and IBF Belts. The odds were six to one in his favor. So, audacious and brimming with confidence, Lloyd, who`s record was 27-0 with 15KO`s, promptly bet five thousand dollars on himself to win!
The legendary Mickey Duff who was Lloyd`s Manager, prophetically warned: “I don`t know anyone who trains harder than Lloyd. He`s a hermit! Lloyd has the toughest fight in his career, but so does Donald. Lloyd is undoubtedly the toughest opponent he`s going to fight, to date.”
And so it proved! Lloyd, who was calm and focused, wasted no time in launching a blistering attack in round one. He was peppering Curry with left right combinations, while the champion was more tentative, picking his shots and trying to pot shot. Donald, who was the physically bigger man, had struggled hard to make the weight, and it was going to tell on him.
Early in round two, Lloyd landed a straight right flush to the head and Donald`s knees buckled. He very nearly went down. It was only his Champion`s willpower that kept him upright. Lloyd attempted to exploit this opportunity, pouring it on with body shots and another huge overhead right, but a shocked Donald held it together, trying to employ his multi boxing skills.
Lloyd landed snappy left jabs in round three, but was then caught with a lovely short right and momentarily held on for grim death. Donald landed a left uppercut and a sinking body shot. We`d got a real fight on our hands!
A quieter round four, but with both landing hard. Donald was looking for one big shot, which never came. Round five was the turning point. A huge overhead right from Lloyd landed flush on Donald`s jaw, he wobbled and very nearly went down. He moved away, milling on the retreat, with a badly gashed lower lip. Another big right hurt him. Lloyd was far stronger in the clinches and Donald was being mauled. In the corner, Lloyd`s right cheek was starting to swell. In the other corner, they were working on Donald`s busted up mouth.
In the sixth Lloyd caught Donald with a left uppercut and a right hook. He was commanding the center of the ring. Then a clash of heads, and Donald emerged with a jagged cut above his left eye. Referee
Octavio Meyran took a look and wiped some blood away, before resuming the action. Lloyd dodged a malevolent sweeping right hook and landed his own. As the bell rang, Donald wearily trudged back to his corner, shaking his head.
The Ring Doctor examined the cut, Donald`s corner men huddled around him, and then it was announced that he couldn`t come out for the sixth. Pandemonium in Ragamuffin`s corner. Mickey Duff`s foghorn voice boomed in joy, and Lloyd was enwrapped in joyous celebration, as he kissed the iconic Green and Gold Belt. A taste of pure honey!
Donald`s nose was broken and he received twenty stiches to his wounds. Promoter Bob Arum said: “Donald Curry looked emaciated. He had no zip.” While a jubilant Lloyd Honeyghan said: “Donald Curry showed me respect in the first round. It was then I knew I had the fight won.”