Sugar Ray Robinson vs. Jimmy Doyle

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Ray Robinson 146 lbs beat Jimmy Doyle 147 lbs by TKO in round 8 of 15

  • Date: 1947-06-24
  • Location: Arena, Cleveland, Ohio, USA
  • Referee: Jackie Davis
  • World Welterweight Championship (1st defense by Robinson)
Sugar Ray Robinson drops Jimmy Doyle in the eighth round


CLEVELAND, June 25, (AP) — Jimmy Doyle, 22-year-old Los Angeles boxer, died today of head injuries suffered last night when he lost by an eight-round technical knockout in a title bout with Welterweight Champion Ray (Sugar) Robinson.

The death was the first suffered by a professional boxer in a world championship match.

The youthful fighter never regained consciousness after being carried from the ringside to Charity hospital. Later he underwent an operation by Dr. Spencer Braden, noted Cleveland brain specialist, and the last rights of the Catholic church were administered.

Hospital attaches said Doyle was suffering from a blood clot and concussion and that respiratory paralysis had developed. He was given oxygen and carbon dioxide continuously.

Separate investigations into his death were under way by the Cleveland boxing commission and County Coroner Samuel R. Gerber. Mayor Thomas A. Burke said he wanted a complete report on the fighter's condition before the bout.

Doyle suffered a brain concussion March 11 of last year when knocked out here by Artie Levine, Brooklyn middleweight. Dr. A.F. Hagedorn, Cleveland boxing commission chairman, however said last night's injury was a fresh one. He described it as separation of a brain membrane caused when the fighter's head hit the ring floor.

After Robinson delivered the blow, Doyle fell flat on his back, unconscious. Referee Jackie Davis started the count but the bell ending the round sounded when Davis' roll reached nine.

Under the rules of the Cleveland boxing commission, the fight officially went into the record books as a technical knockout in the eighth round.


  • Robinson was a 3-1 favorite
  • There was a crowd of 11,275.
  • Robinson received a purse of $25,000 and Doyle got $11,841.
  • Robinson set up a $50 per month trust over 10 years (about $6,000) for Doyle’s parents. The money came from non-title fights against Flashy Sebastian and Jackie Wilson.
  • The night before their fight, Robinson dreamed that he killed Doyle in the ring. The next morning, a shaken Robinson said he couldn't fight Doyle, but the commission brought in a Catholic priest who assured Robinson his fears were unfounded.
  • The coroner, Samuel Gerber, ordered an inquest. Gerber asked Robinson, "Did you intend to get Doyle in trouble?" Robinson replied, "Mister, it's my business to get him in trouble." Gerber later exonerated Robinson of all blame for Doyle's death.

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