Boxing


Former Heavyweight Contender Scott LeDoux Bravely Battling ALS Disease

by James Slater - Older fight fans will certainly remember heavyweight contender Scott LeDoux of Minnesota. Back in the 1970s the technically limited but extremely courageous warrior met a who's who of top class heavyweights. Men like Larry Holmes (in LeDoux's sole world title fight), George Foreman, Ken Norton, Duane Bobick (twice), Mike Weaver, Leon Spinks, Ron Lyle, Gerrie Coetzee and Frank Bruno faced the gutsy 220-pounder, and against each guy LeDoux gave his best..

Sad news has been revealed, however, by The Star Tribune.com. The now 60-year-old is suffering from the muscle wasting disease known as ALS - Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Diagnosed with the disease back in August of last year after seeking medical help when it became almost impossible to do everyday things such as button up his shirt, LeDoux was given the bad news. In typically brave fashion, the former top-ranked heavyweight refused to let the news get him down. Showing the guts he was known for in the ring, the 60-year-old has vowed to not let the disease hinder his life.

ALS, the same disease well known British scientist Steven Hawkins has, is an extremely serious illness, with a 95% fatality rate (according to Dr. Eric Sorenson of The Mayo Clinic.) And though Hawkins has lived with the disease for over forty years, Dr. Sorenson says he doesn't know of any other case such as his.

In incredibly admirable fashion, LeDoux, who retired in 1983 with a 33-13-4(22) record, says his having ALS is a challenge greater than his world championship fight; but that he will win this battle. It does not need to be said how all fight fans the world over wish him well.

In the interview on the website the former contender recalled some of his most memorable ring battles. In his title crack at the great Holmes in July of 1980, the challenger was thumbed in the eye and suffered retinal damage, only to carry on trying to win. The title shot had been primarily earned due to LeDoux's fine showing against former champ Ken Norton the year before. Knocking Norton down twice in the 10th round, LeDoux was seen as unlucky to get only a draw.

"All I know," LeDoux recalled in the article, "is that after the fight I went to a great party and he went to hospital."

LeDoux, who turned pro back in Feb. of 1974, carried on for a further eleven bouts after the 7th round TKO loss to "The Easton Assassin," but his best days had been seen. Finally, after a stoppage loss to the up-and-coming Frank Bruno (TKO 3), the 34-year-old quit the ring. Later in life he became the Minnesota state boxing commissioner, while he also found time to do some well received commentary work for ESPN.

LeDoux's final ring record does not adequately show the grit and determination Scott had. This same grit and determination has never been more needed than right now.

Article posted on 27.01.2009



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