LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Donald Curry was the toast of boxing a year ago.
Fresh from a stunning second-round knockout of Milton McCrory for the undisputed welterweight title, he was hailed as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
He had big plans--a few quick defenses of his 147-pound crown, followed by a move up in weight and a possible megabucks fight against Marvelous Marvin Hagler.
But an unheralded Briton named Lloyd Honeyghan wouldn't cooperate. Instead of becoming Curry's 21st knockout victim in 26 fights, he stopped the Fort Worth, Tex., fighter in the sixth round last September to capture his title and knock Curry from the undefeated ranks.
"I was out of bounds, out of play," Curry said, using golf parlance. "I couldn't do anything. It was the first time that happened."
Next Saturday, Curry fights for the first time since that loss, facing former sparring partner Tony Montgomery in a 154-pound bout he says will prove that the Honeyghan fight was a fluke, caused by his continuing battles to make the 147-pound weight.
"I need to be impressive against Montgomery and I will be impressive," Curry said. "I want people to know I am back."
Curry was 168 pounds when he started training for Honeyghan and says he got dehydrated trying to lose enough weight to fight.
"After the first round I knew something was wrong," Curry recalled, "but I still believed I was going to win."
Contract disagreements with manager Dave Gorman and his admitted lack of respect for Honeyghan's skills also played a part in the defeat.
"I didn't have the tunnel vision you need to have," the 25-year-old fighter said. "Honeyghan's face never popped up in my mind during all my training. I didn't take him seriously. I figured I could take my skills into the ring and still win."
Now fighting at 154 pounds and not worrying about his weight, Curry says he's enjoying training again.
"Before, I didn't like training, but now I run every morning trying to get in the best shape I can," he said while eating two bowls of cereal in a coffee shop. "Now, instead of just trying to make the weight, I can work on my fundamentals in training, trying to do different things. I think it will make me a better fighter."
The loss has also made him a more motivated fighter, eager to win back the respect he gained with his crushing knockout of the previously undefeated McCrory in a title unification bout in December 1985.