By Jackie Kallen
Being one of 10 kids growing up on Long Island, Howard Davis jr. learned at a young age how to fight. He had to fight for attention, he had to fight for the things he wanted, and he had to distinguish himself among his siblings. He accomplished that. His father took him to the boxing gym, taught him to box, and his amazing journey began. Trained by his dad, Howard Davis, jr. went on to become boxing royalty.
Howard’s electrifying amateur career resulted in a Gold Medal in the 1976 Olympics in the lightweight division. No stranger to adversity, he had to fight for the gold just one week after his mother died of a heart attack. He dug deep, fought in her honor, and brought home the gold.
As a pro fighter, Howard had a record of 36-6-1 before retiring in 1994. He went on to train other fighters and is now very involved in the MMA world. Living in the Ft Lauderdale area, he has a beautiful wife, Karla, and a five year old daughter. His son, Dyah, is a pro fighter with a record of 22-4-1.
Earlier this year, Davis jr. noticed that he was feeling himself. He lost his appetite, lost eight pounds in just a few days, and was terribly tired. It was his birthday week and had a show planned for that weekend. He got through the weekend, thankfully, but went to the hospital on Monday. The initial diagnosis: Prostate Cancer.
“I knew it wasn’t that,” says Davis jr. “I knew my prostate was fine. More tests and more investigating and it came back that I had stage 4 lung cancer.”
It quickly metastasized to the liver, back and other areas. After chemo therapy made him sicker than a dog and weaker than a kitten, he sought out alternative options.
“I found a doctor who explained to me that I had been getting a cocktail of ten different medicines in my chemo treatment. It turned out I only needed two of them. I started getting only those two and it worked. The lung tumor shrunk and I started feeling better.”
The battle is not over since cancer is still alive in other areas of his body. But they are about to implant a port near his liver so he can get chemo directly into that organ specifically. He remains upbeat and positive. He faces each day with optimism and hope. He sees his doctor five times a week and eats a cancer-healthy diet.
He and Karla have started a foundation to help with the mounting medical bills. You can go to www.howarddavisjrfoundation.org to see how you can help. The site will list all upcoming fundraising events and you can send Howard a personal message through the website. He’d love to hear from his fans and boxing family. Prayer helps, so let’s all pray that Howard Davis jr. wins his fight against cancer.