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    Likely a study for the massive work unveiled at Robinson's retirement ceremony

    1965 Sugar Ray Robinson Original Painting by LeRoy Neiman. In 2002, the publishers of Ring Magazine unveiled their ranking of the eighty best fighters of the previous eighty years, honoring Sugar Ray Robinson as their number one selection in their pound-for-pound hierarchy. The choice was not controversial. Robinson had compiled an amateur record of eighty-five and zero prior to turning pro at age nineteen, and by the time he was thirty his professional record stood at 128-1-2 with eighty-four knockouts. Between 1943 and 1951, Robinson strung together an unbeaten streak of ninety-one bouts, this during a era in boxing when the Champion didn't dodge top contenders. Bucking the conventional wisdom that fighters are either boxers or punchers, Robinson was both, infusing his "sweet science" with the sort of power that would make Oppenheimer proud.

    If there was one weakness in Robinson's game, it was the oldest one in the book--the unwillingness or sheer inability to accept that Father Time is the only undefeated figure in the sport. Robinson first tested retirement in 1952, but his extravagant spending habits kept drawing him back to the ring. "You always say 'I'll quit when I start to slide,'" he admitted, "and then one morning you wake up and realize you've done slid." In 1965, broke at age forty-four after having earned and spent over $4 million in purses and endorsements, Robinson was honored in a final retirement ceremony at Madison Square Garden, where a massive six by eight foot tribute by LeRoy Neiman was unveiled.

    The "LeRoy Neiman '65" signature at lower left of the presented oil on board suggests that this was a study for that farewell portrait. This work measures 12x24" in size and stands as a definitive example of the bold, kaleidoscopic style that was Neiman's trademark. It should be noted that a very similar Neiman portrait serves as the cover art for the 1970 hardcover autobiography Sugar Ray.

    The work is original and unaltered, in fine, unrestored condition in simple gold toned wooden frame.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    Jul-Aug, 2014
    31st-1st Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 13
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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