Jimmy Doyle (boxer)
|Real name||James Emerson Delaney|
August 12, 1924|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
June 25, 1947 (aged 22)|
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
|Wins by KO||14|
A mixed-race Creole, Doyle was born James Emerson Delaney in Los Angeles on August 12, 1924, "Jimmy Doyle," was the son of Edward (originally Edouard) Delaney and Marie Elodie Barret, both from New Orleans, who moved to Los Angeles shortly after their marriage in 1921. Jimmy's father was born in 1886 to Joseph Georges Delaney and Elodie Landry, part of a French-speaking family of colored Creoles who hailed from the upper Bayou Lafourche country.
"Doyle" made his debut as a professional boxer in 1941 and in 1947 lost to Sugar Ray Robinson by 9th round TKO. After the bout, Doyle went to the hospital, suffering from a severe head injury. Although Doyle was leading, Referee Jackie Davis stopped the bout after Doyle went down for the third time in the 9th round.
Last fight and death
In 1947, Doyle challenged Sugar Ray Robinson for the World Welterweight Title. Robinson had the advantage in every round except the sixth, when he was staggered twice and hurt. A single left hook from Robinson ended the fight. "That punch knocked Jimmy rigid.... With heels resting against the canvas as if hinged, Doyle's body went down. It struck the floor with a thud, like a rigid mass falling. His head crashed against the padded canvas, and as the referee started the count. Doyle raised his head and rested on his elbows.... The referee counted to ten. Doyle was out." 
Doyle was taken to St. Vincent's Charity Hospital immediately after the bout, and failed to regain consciousness and died a few hours later.
Jimmy Doyle was fighting in Cleveland, since after suffering some heavy knockouts in California that state's boxing commission would not sanction him to fight again. After his death, criminal charges were threatened against Robinson in Cleveland, up to and including manslaughter, though none actually materialized. Robinson's biographer Wil Haygood stated during a September 25, 2010 book festival appearance that Doyle was pushing himself to fight to "buy his mother a house" and after Doyle's death in 1947, Robinson gave the earnings of his next four fights to Doyle's mother, so she could buy that house.
In a tragic bit of irony, Robinson had tried to back out of the fight due to a nightmare the night immediately before the match, in which he killed his opponent in the ring. However, Robinson was convinced to go ahead with the bout after taking counsel from a priest and a minister.