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Pound for Pound


My Old Man was certain about a great many things–that he was “second to none,” as a fan of Jackie Robinson, that the United States was the best country in the World, and that New York was the capital of the World but also that the tap water was better on the Upper West Side than it was on the Upper East Side. He was not a boxing fan but when I was a kid I remember asking him who was the greatest fighter of all-time. I figured it had to be Ali, but he didn’t pause when he told me that “Ray Robinson was, pound-for-pound, the greatest fighter that ever lived.”


 The Old Man wasn’t alone in this assessment, yet it wasn’t just Robinson’s accomplishments in the ring that appealed to him: it was his style.

Robinson’s elan is mentioned in  a complimentary review of a new Sugar Ray Robinson biography today in the Times:

The jazz that filled Robinson’s head, and that he loved his entire life, spills over into Mr. Haygood’s book like a buoyant soundtrack. Robinson befriended many jazz players over the years (Miles Davis, Billy Eckstine, Dizzy Gillespie). He loved their style, and they loved his. As Mr. Haygood writes, Sugar Ray was “the first modern prizefighter to take culture — music and grace and dance — into the ring with him.”

It was something to see. Robinson really brought it all: the beautiful smile, the finely chiseled body, the thin mustache and wavy hair, the coiled ease with which he moved. Mr. Haygood captures his grace and power, at many disparate moments, as well as it’s been captured: “At times whirling around the ring — as if moving from rock to rock across a shallow lake — he seemed the epitome of lightness and balance, until he stopped to unload a series of punches that drew gasps from onlookers.”

First, the book on Louis Armstrong, now this–I’ve got some reading to do this winter.

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1 OldYanksFan   ~  Nov 25, 2009 3:19 pm

According to RAB and http://tinyurl.com/y8wx4sj:
the Sox are Hot for Halladay.

I don't want him if it means giving up any prime meat.
The Sox have the players and the money, if they have the will.

Halladay on the Sox makes the division VERY close... either way.

2 knuckles   ~  Nov 25, 2009 4:19 pm

My Pop Pop used to say the same thing about Sugar Ray being the best, and his father in law was a sparring partner and buddy of Joe Louis and Billy Conn.

3 OldYanksFan   ~  Nov 25, 2009 6:26 pm

Interesting deal. Talk about high risk/high reward! (from ESPN)

"The Chicago White Sox have signed outfielder Andruw Jones to a one-year contract for $500,000, with a chance to make $1 million in performance bonuses."

"Jones, who turns 33 in April, had moderate success early last season with Texas, but finished with a .214 batting average with 17 home runs and 43 runs batted in. He is a career .257 hitter with 388 home runs and 10 Gold Gloves from his days in Atlanta."

4 thelarmis   ~  Nov 26, 2009 12:46 am

sugar ray's smile in the top picture reminds me of our Robbie.

5 Rich   ~  Nov 26, 2009 1:35 am

[4] More than just the smile, it looks a lot like him.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver