“Boxers, like prostitutes, are in the business of ruining their bodies for the pleasure of strangers.”
― Wayne Kelly
Jimmy Doyle (42-7-3, 14 KO’s) Born: 8-1-1924, Died: 6-25-1947
The Los Angeles based welterweight died following a 1947 knockout loss to Sugar Ray Robinson in a bid for the world welterweight championship. The 22 year old staggered Robinson in the sixth round of their contest, but couldn’t finish him off. He was stopped in the eighth round after getting dropped and counted out by referee Jackie Davis, dying a few hours after the bout at St. Vincent’s Charity Hospital as a result of head injuries. It’s said that Doyle may have entered the fight already injured; in a match against Artie Levine a year prior, he was knocked out in nine rounds and was hospitalized for head injuries that nearly ended his career. He went on to win five bouts before facing Robinson. Robinson gave the earnings of his next four fights to Doyle’s mother, as Doyle was fighting to earn enough money to buy her a home.
*Robinson had dreamt that he would kill his opponent in this bout and had originally backed out, fighting only after he was convinced by a priest and a minister to do so.
“Big” Ed Sanders (6-2-1, 3 KO’s) Born: 3-30-1930, Died: 12-14-1954
A U.S. Army veteran and 1952 U.S. Olympic gold medalist, Sanders had been a pro for just nine months when his life was cut short at the age of 24. The Los Angeles native based his career in Boston, Massachusetts, and was fighting for the USA New England heavyweight title against champ Willie James at the Boston Garden on December 11, 1954. Reports say that the iron chinned Sanders suffered some heavy shots from the outset, but lasted until the 11th frame before being dropped by a simple one-two combination. He lost consciousness immediately, and never recovered despite surgery to relieve bleeding on the brain. He passed three days later, with medical professionals feeling he had suffered an earlier injury that was aggravated during the James fight. This could be substantiated by the fact that Sanders had complained of headaches and shoulder cramps leading up to his final contest. He was laid to rest in Santa Monica, California after a 21-gun military salute. Willie James was never the same; he was knocked out in his next fight and retired.
Cleveland Denny (10-2-2, 5 KO’s) Born: 1956, Died: 7-6-1980
As a lightweight, Denny represented Guyana at the 1976 Olympic Games before turning pro and fighting out of Montreal. On June 20th 1980, he faced Gaetan Hart for the third time; each fighter had won once in their two previous meetings. The competitive contest ended in the 10th round when Denny took some heavy shots that by all accounts should have had referee Rosario Baillargeon stepping in, but he failed to do so. Hart landed another series of clean unanswered shots that dropped Denny, with the referee then issuing a count to the unconscious boxer. Denny remained unconscious, and died in the hospital 16 days later. Hart attended the memorial services, leaving his Canadian title belt on Denny’s waist. Denny’s wife would later filed charges against the Montreal Athletic Commission, the Olympic Installations Board, Hart’s trainer, Ralph Citro, and Denny co-manager, Pierre Gobeil.
Bradley Stone (17-2-1, 7 KO’s) Born: 5-27-1970, Died: 4-28-1994
After suffering a fifth round knockout loss to Boualem Belkif in March of 1994, Stone faced Richie Wenton seven weeks later for the BBBofC British super bantamweight title. After getting stopped in the 10th round, Stone was checked by a doctor and went home, where he collapsed and slipped into a coma as a result of a blood clot on his brain. He survived for two days following surgery before passing.
Oscar Gonzalez (23-3, 14 KO’s) Born: 4-22-1990, Died: 2-3-2014
A former WBC Youth and USNBC super bantamweight title holder, Gonzalez died following a bout with journeyman Jesus Galicia in Mexico. He collapsed after referee Rafael Saldana broke a clinch that sent Gonzalez staggering backwards. He then spit out his mouthpiece, bent over, and fell to the canvas. He was given immediate medical attention and removed from the ring on a stretcher, spending 36 hours in intensive care at the Hospital Espanol in Mexico City before lack of brain activity caused him to be removed from life support.