Associated Press, Published June 30 2011
Billy Costello, ex-boxing champ, dies of cancer at 55
Costello died Wednesday at a hospital in his hometown, Kingston, N.Y., longtime friend Joe LaLima said Thursday.
Costello was 40-2 over a 20-year career that began in 1979. He won the WBC light welterweight championship in 1984 with a 10th-round technical knockout of Bruce Curry, then defended the title three times over the next year.
Costello lost the title to "Lightning" Lonnie Smith in an eighth-round technical knockout in 1985. His only other loss as a pro came to Alexis Arguello in 1986.
After retiring from fighting, he worked in building and road construction, as a boxing judge and with young people in his hometown.
LaLima said Costello could afford to live anywhere after his career, but stayed in Kingston.
"He chose to buy a home in his neighborhood, where he was needed to help kids stay straight," said LaLima, a friend of Costello's father who had known the fighter since he was a child.
Costello spent recent years helping run the city Police Athletic League boxing club, which sometimes hosts bouts in a neighborhood gym named for him.
LaLima said a pedestal and plaque are already in place and the money has been raised to put a 6-foot-tall statue of Costello at one of the main streets leading into the city.
There was no immediate information on funeral arrangements.