How Sugar Ray Killed Jimmy Doyle

In June 1947, American professional boxer, Sugar Ray Robinson backed out of a fight when he had a dream, right before the fight, that he killed his opponent in the ring.

However, his priest convinced him to fight and he went into the ring killing his opponent, Jimmy Doyle, in the eighth round.

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

Robinson discussed the dream with a reporter as he sat outside of Doyle’s hospital room immediately after the incident.

As reported in the San Jose News on June 26, 1947: Robinson, with a gauzy white patch over his right brow, looked up at the reporter somewhat fearfully and said, “Jeez, this is awful. For three days I’ve been afraid something like this would happen.” The slender Negro champion rolled his eyes and added, “I’ve been afraid ever since I had that dream.”

An urban legend is that Doyle was pushing himself hard to fight to “buy his mother a house” and after Doyle’s death in 1947, Robinson gave six exhibition bouts around the country to raise money to buy Doyle’s mother a house.

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