08/13/2012 12:12 pm ET Updated Aug 13, 2012

Michael Dokes Dead: Former Boxing Champ Dies At 54

Former world heavyweight boxing champion Michael Dokes died of liver cancer on Saturday night at the age of 54, as first reported by the Cleveland Plain Dealer and Akron Beacon Journal.

Dokes, who turned 54 the day before his death, had been battling cancer for several years before passing away at his family home in Akron, Ohio., reports Boxing Scene.

Nicknamed "Dynamite," Dokes burst on to the boxing scene when he became the Amateur Athletic Union Heavyweight champion in 1975. He turned professional the 1976 and went on to gain exposure when he fought Muhammad Ali in an exhibition.

Dokes became the World Boxing Association heavyweight champion in 1982 after he defeated Michael Weaver. He lost the title the very next year to Gerrie Coetzee.

He was also quite the showman. Jackie Kallen of Boxing Insider referred to Dokes as "the Dennis Rodman of boxing" for his flashy attire and exuberant personality.

According to, Dokes finished his career with an overall record of 53-6-2 with 34 knockouts. He last fought in 1997.

But as powerful as Dokes was in the ring, Dokes had difficulty staying out of trouble with the law. He served two years of probation after his arrest in 1986 in Las Vegas for cocaine trafficking. In 1999, he pleaded guilty to attempted murder, second-degree kidnapping and intent to commit sexual assault. He started a 10-year prison sentence in 2000 and was paroled in 2008.

More from the Associated Press:

AKRON, Ohio — Michael Dokes, a former World Boxing Association heavyweight champion, has died. He was 54.

The Rhoden Memorial Home in Akron said Dokes died Saturday. The Akron Beacon Journal reported that the boxer died in an Akron hospice from liver cancer.

Known as "Dynamite" Dokes because he packed a powerful punch, the fighter won the WBA title in 1982 by defeating Michael Weaver. He lost the title a year later when he was beaten by Gerrie Coetzee.

Dokes had a career record of 53-6-2.

A run of legal problems began late in his career. In 1986, Dokes was arrested in Las Vegas for cocaine trafficking and served two years' probation. In 2000, he was sentenced to 10 years in jail after pleading guilty to attempted murder, second-degree kidnapping and intent to commit sexual assault against his girlfriend. He was released in 2008.