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Multiple Years / Olympic Boxing Champ Howard Davis Passes
It has been announced that Howard Davis Jr., a gold medalist on the vastly talented 1976 American Olympic boxing team, passed away at age 59 from inoperable lung cancer on December 30, 2015. In a TV news interview conducted about two weeks before his death late, Davis claimed he had never used tobacco nor alcohol throughout his entire life. Davis was one of five American gold medalists who dominated the Montreal Olympic boxing tournament. Davis won the Val Barker Award as the most outstanding boxer in those Games. This was quite a feat considering the other American gold medalists were Sugar Ray Leonard, Leo Randolph, Michael Spinks, and Leon Spinks. Davis was a sentimental favorite as his mother died from a heart attack just a week before the Olympics began. Davis won two of his five Olympic bouts in the lightweight division by knockout, but as a professional he seldom displayed punching power, recording only 14 knockouts in 43 fights. Davis' lack of a big punch and generally cautious approach to his bouts made him far less marketable to TV audiences than Ray Leonard or Michael Spinks. Nevertheless, three times Davis fought for pro world titles and three times he lost. His last title fight loss--a first-round defeat to Buddy McGirt in 1988--sent Davis into retirement. Six years later Davis won three comeback fights before suffering a bad knockout defeat as a middleweight which ended his boxing career. His overall pro record was 36-6-1. The other four American Olympic champs from 1976--plus heavyweight bronze medalist John Tate--won at least some version of a world title at the professional level.