Michael Dallas Sr., a longtime boxing coach for the Bakersfield Police Activities League, died Wednesday after a seven-month battle with leukemia. He was 45.
Dallas coached hundreds of boys in the PAL boxing program.
His passion, according to his son, professional boxer Michael Dallas Jr., was "Helping young kids make the right decisions coming out of bad neighborhoods. He did a lot. A lot of people looked up to him more than their own parents because he was around them more. So he was a positive role model in a lot of kids' lives."
Dallas Sr. was a standout wrestler at Foothill High, where he went 44-4 one season to earn a first-team selection to The Californian's All-Area team.
He then wrestled for three years at Cal State Bakersfield, where he was second in the Division II nationals at 126 pounds in 1987, then third in the Pac-10 Championships the following year, CSUB's first season as a Division I wrestling program. That earned him a trip to the NCAA Division I national championships.
He concluded his collegiate wrestling career in 1990 when he was fifth in the Pac-10 at 126 pounds.
An amateur boxer in his youth, Dallas fought 26 bouts as a professional after his college wrestling career. He posted a record of 12 wins, 13 losses and one draw with nine of the victories by knockout, according to BoxRec.com.
In May, he was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia, a cancer that produces too many white blood cells.
Elizabeth Arvizu, an oncology nurse practitioner at Kern Medical Center, told The Californian earlier this month that his illness takes over the bone marrow, which prevents it from functioning as it should.
Dallas became the first person to get financial help from the Kern County Cancer Fund, which was created to aid local cancer patients.
Dallas made an appearance at last Saturday's "Fight for Life" fundraiser, which generates money for the Kern County Cancer Fund.
A funeral service is set for 10 a.m. Nov. 24 at St. Peter church, 510 E. Brundage Ln.