REST IN PEACE, SCOTT LeDOUX
The ex fighter circa 2007.
He fought some of the best and brightest of heavyweights of a golden era, and if Scott LeDoux didn't win most of the big fights, his legacy will shine in another, more important area: he was a good man.
The Minnesota-born boxer, who retired in 1983 after a loss to Frank Bruno, with a 33-13-4 record, died Thursday at his home in Coon Rapids, MN. He was 62 years old, and had been battling Lou Gehrig's disease for three years.
LeDoux soldiered on in many a clubfight before he finally received the opportunity of his lifetime. On July 7, 180, LeDoux met WBC champion larry Holmes. The scrap took place on LeDoux' home turf, in Bloomington, Minnesota. The home court advantage wasn't enough to tip The Fighting Frenchman to the win; he succumbed via TKO in round seven.
The man always went down kicking, it must be said. He caused a ruckus when he thought he was jobbed by the judges in the second round of Don King's US Boxing Championship, a 1977 tournament which dissolved into allegations of fraud and grand juries. LeDoux charged at "winner" Johnny Boudreaux, who was being interviewed by Howard Cosell. " Johnny said something about my mother so I tried to kick him in the face," LeDoux recalled later. During the melee, Cosell's hairpiece came off its moorings, as a flying body pulled on Howard's headpiece, and the headpiece came off, taking the toupee with it.
LeDoux, though at times bitter at the wretched politics of the sport, fought on, and made his way up the ratings, the beneficiary of some soft touch wins. He hoped to pull a "Rocky" on Holmes, and that would have been a nice part of his story arc, as his wife Sandy was battling cancer and there were big medical bills to pay down. (Sandy, sadly, died in 1989. His second wife, Dolly, passed away in 1997. LeDoux leaves behind wife Carol; they married in 1996.)
There would be no Hollywood spin to the story that July night, as Holmes' jabbed LeDoux, age 31, into paralysis. The consummate fighter, he didn't whine after he took a whuppin. ''You see anybody with a gun at my back getting me into the ring?'' he said after the bout. ''Cleveland Denny had that choice. My wife can lose me and that's what we knew when we got into this business.''
Draws against Leon Spinks and Ron Lyle stood as high water marks on LeDoux' resume.
He stayed in the spotlight, to a degree, when he worked as a ref for the AWA wrestling organization in the mid 80s, and tried to spar with Mike Tyson, who paid him but didn't ask him to glove up. In 2004, the 55-year-old tried to lure George Foreman into a rematch of their 1976 bout, which Foreman won by KO3. Big George, also 55, passed.
He then made a leap into the political arena, also in 2004, winning a race for a seat on the Anoka County, Minnesota Board of County Commissioners, and did commentary for ESPN boxing. In 2006, he was appointed head of the state's boxing commission, and was lauded for doing much work for charities.
In 2008, he was diagnosed with ALS, Lou Gehrig's Disease, the progressive, fatal, nemrodegenerative disease. The ex fighter was pugnacious in talking about the illness. "I'm living with ALS," LeDoux, 60, said, "but I'm not going to die from it. This is my real heavyweight championship fight."
In 2009, he told a writer, "I want my epitaph to say, 'Here lies Scott LeDoux, who was a good family man, a good father and a good friend.' "