Boxer Rocky Lockridge famous for 'Best Cry Ever' meme passes away at 60
Former boxing champion Rick 'Rocky' Lockridge has passed away at 60-years-old, his family have confirmed. He died in the home of his caregiver in Camden, New Jersey, due to complications that arose from pneumonia and a series of strokes.
“Rocky had a way to make an ordinary person feel extraordinary," amateur boxer Bobby Toney told The Philadelphia Inquirer on Thursday. “When I came to Rocky, I was depressed and wanted to kill myself. He saved my life.”
The super-featherweight champion retired from boxing in 1991 after an illustrious career, but he faced a number of troubles afterwards. For those who didn't know him for his sport career, he also shot to viral fame in 2010, after his breakdown into tears during an interview was deemed 'the best cry ever'.
While the video in which he burst into long sobs has become a staple of internet memes by now, the interview from which it came was a pivotal moment in Lockridge's life. “He had a good heart, and he brought himself back up from the bottom,” Perry Dawes, friend and former sparring partner, said, after reportedly spending the last week by Rocky's side.
Excelling at boxing from an early age, and inspired by a chance meeting with Muhammad Ali, Lockridge launched a successful career as a super-featherweight. As an amateur he held an astounding 210-8 record, and ended his career with 44 wins, 36 knockouts, and only 9 losses.
The definitive moment of his career came in 1984, when he knocked out the then-undefeated Roger Mayweather in the first round, winning the World Boxing Association's super-featherweight championship. Then, in 1987, he won the International Boxing Federation's junior lightweight title.
However, after his retirement, his entourage left him and the estimated $3 million he had earned dried up completely. He moved to Camden from Tacoma, and started to struggle with substance abuse, and by 2009, he was broke, debilitated by a stroke, and the only vestige of his career was that the people down the liquor store nicknamed him 'The Champ'.
That all changed when he made an appearance on the A&E reality show Intervention in 2010, at the behest of fans and family. It was here that he made the pledge to get sober, with the episode becoming intensely emotional when he was confronted by his two sons. He chose sobriety, and the clip soon found its way into internet culture.
“He made up his mind that he was going to conquer his addictions,” said Jacquie Richardson of the Retired Boxers Foundation. “He got his own apartment. He carried on a life drug-free.”
His life shows that no matter how far we fall, there's always a way back up to recovery. A memorial is currently being planned for the champ, and the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame has offered to pay for all funeral expenses. Our thoughts are with Lockridge's friends and family during this time.