Former world champion boxer and Tacoma-native Rick “Rocky” Lockridge died Thursday morning in New Jersey from complications of multiple strokes. He was 60.
Lockridge was born Jan. 10, 1959 in Tacoma. He boxed for the Tacoma Boys Club and eventually became a World Boxing Association and International Boxing federation champion, although he struggled with drugs over the course of his career and in retirement.
“He sought Christ and was a true fighter in his final days, he had a tremendous heart,” said childhood friend Paul Brown. “I had talked to him on Jan. 10, that was his birthday, and he was struggling to speak. Doctors were in disbelief that he kept holding on from those strokes.
“I truly believe he wanted to go out on his own terms and he wanted to be at home and was ready to see the Lord.”
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Lockridge grew up in Tacoma and was a notable AAU-level boxer winning the 1977 AAU bantamweight title. He finished twice as a runner up at the bantamweight level in the 1978 AAU and Gold Gloves competition.
“We had a great friendship over the years dating all the way back to the ’60s,” Brown said. “I was living in Portland and most weekends we meet up or we’d see him box in places like Tacoma, Portland and over in Idaho.”
He turned pro in 1978. In February of 1984, Lockridge defeated Roger Mayweather Sr. to win the WBA world super featherweight title by knocking out Mayweather in 98 seconds. It was the first loss of Mayweather’s career.
Lockridge defended his title successfully three times until losing the belt in May of 1985 when he lost to Wilfredo Gomez. He captured the IBF super featherweight title by beating Barry Michael in August of 1987. He held that title until 1988.
He retired from boxing after losing to Sharmba Mitchell on April 22, 1992. He had a career record of 44-9-0 with 36 knockouts.
Lockridge continued to battle substance abuse and wound up homeless. He regained public attention after appearing on the A&E series “Intervention” in 2010.
He claimed that his sons saved his life after an episode when his son Lamar told him “somewhere deep down in my heart, I still love you.” That caused him to break down into a screaming cry that spawned a popular internet meme.
Two services are planned for Lockridge, one in Tacoma and another in New Jersey.