Redtop Davis

The following article is one that I wrote and posted at Wikipedia.  I’m reproducing it here because I think it’s so interesting – and because I’m rather proud of it.

Teddy “Redtop” Davis, alias Murray (Sugar) Cain (born June 23, 1923 and died June 4, 1966), was a featherweight professional boxer from South Carolina.  Davis was born in Laurens, Couth Carolina but at his death was a resident of Brooklyn, New York.  He served in the US Army, where he made a name for himself fighting under the name “Murray (Sugar) Cain.”

Redtop’s career as a professional boxer might not be believable, were it not so well-documented. He made his professional debut in February of 1946 and initially fought at least once a month, sometimes twice. By the end of 1946 he had already amassed a dismal record of 1 win and 6 losses with 2 draws. Nevertheless he kept plugging away, winning a few fights here and there so that by March of 1947 he had been selected as an opponent for Sammy Angott, whose record was 82-23-7. He lost that fight by TKO in the 3rd round. Having begun his career in Ohio, in 1947 Redtop made a move to the boxing hotspot of New England, where the quality of his opponents improved – as did his own performances. It wasn’t long before Redtop was fighting the best boxers of his day, and not only that, winning with some regularity. In fact before 1948 was over, Redtop had fought the legendary Willie Pep twice – losing both bouts. In 1949 Redtop fought 54-1-3 Eddie Compo and according to Ring Magazine refused to do any punching until the state fight commissioner confronted him in the ring, whereupon Davis peppered Compo at will for two rounds before getting knocked out in the 8th.  His purse for that fight was initially withheld, its resolution is not known. Redtop continued to fight top-flight boxers for money and lower-flight pugs for wins, occasionally stringing together awful losing streaks and impressive winning streaks, and even occasionally pulling off a significant upset, as when he beat Elis Ask (record 31-5-2), Julie Kogon (record 81-37-17), George Dunn (record 33-7-3) and Paddy DeMarco (record 49-4-1) in a three month period in 1950. Also, in 1952 Redtop put together a six-fight winning streak against a collection of opponents with a combined record of 133-47-5. And yet Redtop continued to pepper these impressive stretches with occasional, even frequent losses. Following another six-fight winning streak, this time against fighters with a combined record of 190-57-15, Redtop was given a shot at the legendary champion Sandy Saddler, whose record was an incredible 138-13-2. Saddler, it was written, “won as he pleased and it pleased him to cuff and belabor Davis and put him to rout in a bout that through the early rounds looked fairly even.”  Following the Sadler bout, the good times seemed to end, and Redtop finished out his career with a stretch in which he only managed to win 8 out of 33 contests.

At the end of Redtop’s career, his record was tabulated as 68 wins (22 by knockout), 73 losses, and 5 draws in 146 contests.  Along the way he fought a collection of small boxers that included Eddie Compo, Buddy Hayes, Tommy Stenhouse, Nick Stato, Miguel Acevedo, Willie Pep, Dennis Pat Brady, Harry LaSane, George Dunn, Charley Riley, Jackie Graves, Paddy DeMarco, Percy Basset, Art Aragon, Corky Gonzalez, Arthur King, Federico Plummer, George Araujo, Tommy Collins, Tony DeMarco, Pat Mallane, Paul Jorgensen, Richie howard, Kenny Lane, and a host of others with impressive records.

 It is doubtful that in today’s climate we will ever see another fighter participate in so many fights (officially 146, unofficially many more), much less so many against great competition. If there was a golden age of boxing, it must have included the days of the 1940s and ’50s during which Teddy “Redtop” Davis made his name.

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