1947-06-24 Sugar Ray Robinson w rsc 8 (15) Jimmy Doyle, The Arena, Cleveland, Ohio, USA - WORLD

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1947-06-24 Sugar Ray Robinson w rsc 8 (15) Jimmy Doyle, The Arena, Cleveland, Ohio, USA - WORLD. Referee: Jack Davis. Jarred by a left hook in the opening round, Doyle (147) had the worst of matters for the next two sessions, during which he was badly punished by blows to head and body as the champion looked to work him over. Despite Robinson (146) being firmly in control, Doyle began to force the fight in the fourth only to be met by heavy counters, and in the fifth he was twice staggered. However, he came back strongly in the sixth to open a cut over Robinson’s right eye and made the latter appear to be just another fighter in the seventh when blocking many of his shots with arms and elbows to take the round. Late in the eighth, Robinson banged in two fast rights to Doyle’s body, and when the latter launched a right he was met by a crunching short left to the jaw that sent him down heavily, his head crashing on the floor. With Doyle out cold the count reached ‘nine’ when the bell rang to end the session and on realising that his condition was serious the fight was halted.

In a bad way, the stricken fighter was taken to hospital where he died 17 hours later, having lapsed into a coma and failing to survive an operation to remove a blood clot. Doyle had returned to the ring in December 1946 having been out of boxing for nine months after suffering brain concussion when knocked out by Artie Levine, but had gone on to justify his title challenge when running up five wins in succession.

On 25 November it was announced that Robinson’s next challenger would be Chuck Taylor, a man who had lost three of his last four contests, against Charley Fusari, Tony Pellone and Sammy Adragna, and was not even rated in the top ten. Although Taylor had wins over Tommy Bell, Freddie Archer (twice), Tony Marteliano and Pellone, in the wake of the Doyle tragedy one would have thought that the commissioners would have been more careful when it came to chosing the champion’s future opponents. With 23 wins from 33 contests Taylor was a 6-1 underdog, and as far as the papers were concerned it was only Robinson’s weight-making problems that stopped the odds from soaring higher.