Bernard Docusen


docusenbernard1300-0084January 14, 2009 – Bernard “Big Duke” Docusen, one of boxings’ uncrowned champions of the 1940s-1950s, died on Sunday, Jan. 11. Docusen suffered several heart attacks and lapsed into a coma while at Oakwood Annapolis Hospital with his family. The 81-year-old Mr. Docusen was best known for his terrific fight with Sugar Ray Robinson for the welterweight championship of the world on June 28, 1948. Mr. Docusen, who turned 21 years old just nine days before the fight, lost a very close 15-round decision to the man that many consider to be the best pound-for-pound boxer of all time. In the days of only eight weight classes and one champion per division, Mr. Docusen never got another crack at a title. As an amateur he won the National AAU bantamweight championship at 14 years old. Turning pro at 15 he attracted big crowds in his native New Orleans due to his exciting, smooth boxing style. “He was a proud yet humble man who truly was one of the uncrowned champions of boxing,” said Bob Ryder, a boxing writer, photographer and friend of the Docusen family. “He loved to talk about the “old days” of the sport when there were only eight divisions and one champ per division. Bernie was a devoted family man who always had a smile for everyone. I feel privileged to have known him.” After retiring from the ring, Mr. Docusen relocated to the Detroit, area where he worked as a welder and later as a custodian for a local high school. An active family man, he also hand wrote his memoirs that were later published in book form. Mr. Docusen was inducted into the New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame in 1976 and the California Boxing Hall of Fame in 2008. Mr. Docusen is survived by his wife of 64 years, Ernestine, six children, 15 grandchildren, 29 great grandchildren, and one great-great grandchild.