Curry began boxing at age eight under the tutelage of Paul Reyes, who's still his trainer. He was 400-4 as an amateur and in 1980 won the National Golden Gloves at 147 pounds, and his class in both the World Cup tournament in Kenya and the Olympic Trials, beating Davey Moore, who would later win the WBA junior middleweight title. Curry won the vacant WBA welterweight crown last February with a victory over Jun Sok Hwang of South Korea. After recovering from ligament damage in his right wrist, Curry KO'd Roger Stafford in September.
Curry maintains a stern visage and admirable composure in and out of the ring. Until his half brother, Bruce, lost his WBC junior welterweight title on Jan. 29 to Billy Costello, the Currys were the only brothers—half or otherwise—ever to hold world championships simultaneously. Donald said he didn't watch Bruce's fight because "my brother's best days are behind him ...but Bruce's losing just inspires me more."
At the postfight press conference Saturday, which was attended by McCrory, who holds the WBC welterweight title, Curry was uncharacteristically brash in saying, "I don't think Milt wants to fight me." Then Curry quickly toned down his challenge: "I'm not trying to hassle you. I'm just ready to fight whenever you are. We're buddies." Oddly enough, Curry is an admirer of John McEnroe, and not because Mac has a sizzling serve. "I like his mouth," Curry says.
Assuming Leonard beats a so-so welterweight named Kevin Howard in his Feb. 25 comeback fight, he's the kingpin in making superfights. And right now, Curry offers Leonard maximum risk and, because of Curry's relative obscurity, minimum profit, compared with bigger if slightly tarnished names like Duran and Hearns, the WBA and WBC junior middleweight champions, respectively. "If I was Ray Leonard, I wouldn't want to fight Curry," Gorman says.
That kind of talk frustrates Bob Arum, the Top Rank promoter who controls Curry and Duran but would be shut out of any Leonard fight. "Leonard has to remember he's not the champion anymore," Arum says. "If he wants his title back, he's going to have to come to Curry." Then, perhaps remembering that Leonard could go for McCrory's WBC crown instead, Arum outlandishly added that Curry doesn't need Leonard: "Donald will soon be making $1 million and more a fight." For Starling, Curry got $250,000, his biggest purse to date. Starling was paid $100,000.
Curry says he'll challenge Duran or former WBA junior welterweight champ Aaron Pryor, who might be enticed into unretiring. First, though, Curry must defend against No. 1-ranked Elio Diaz of Venezuela.
With the big money waiting, it's doubtful Curry will have to go toe-to-toe for 15 rounds again. Even Starling said as much. "I told Curry, 'You don't have to prove you're the boss by fighting inside,' " he said. "I told him, 'You can be the boss from the outside.' "
But, as Curry knows, the old boss is back in the division, which could make Curry very much an outsider.