When Sugar was be­ing re­ally sweet to a fan at Prest­wick Air­port

The Herald - - NEWS -

HE looks so gal­lant as he signs an au­to­graph for this smartly-dressed woman at Prest­wick Air­port. “It’s not for me, it’s for my hus­band,” she prob­a­bly told him.

Cu­ri­ously, af­ter study­ing the pho­to­graph af­ter en­larg­ing it, I see that it is a Bi­ble he is car­ry­ing and lean­ing on to sign.

The man should be known to box­ing fans. He is Amer­i­can Sugar Ray Robin­son, said by some to be the best boxer ever – bet­ter even than Ali.

This, though, was taken in Au­gust 1964, when he was then 42, well past his prime, and tour­ing Europe to pick up some purses to help with his com­ing re­tire­ment.

Pro­moter Peter Keenan took him to Pais­ley Ice Rink, where he suf­fered a rare de­feat to Ir­ish boxer Mick Leahy. Sugar Ray put Mick on the can­vas in the se­cond round, but he was un­able to sus­tain his at­tacks, and the fight went the full 10 rounds, with Leahy given the fight on points. Scots boxer Wal­ter McGowan was also on the card.

It seems very old-fash­ioned now, but the top tick­ets for the fight were eight guineas, go­ing all the way down to two guineas for seats at the back. The boxer did guest ap­pear­ances at Ibrox and Park­head foot­ball grounds be­fore matches to drum up in­ter­est in the non-ti­tle fight.

Sugar Ray Robin­son won nu­mer­ous world ti­tles, and from 1943 to 1951 went on a 91-fight un­beaten streak.

He is giv­ing this woman all his at­ten­tion, un­aware of the ea­ger box­ing fan be­hind him des­per­ate to get his own au­to­graph.

Copies of our archive pho­to­graphs can be pur­chased by email­ing pho­toen­quiries@her­al­dand­times.co.uk or via our web­site www.thep­ic­ture­desk.co.uk

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