Scream! Sweet Raymond Boyd
Boyd was the self-styled Pink Panther. It was a risky venture back in the 1970s—particularly for a boxer in a tough town like Houston…
He was lean and mean and he was a lot of fun for as long as his star burned brightly. Sweet Raymond Boyd, from New Orleans, was an unashamed and unabashed slugging welterweight who loved to fight, brawl, cause general mayhem and blow kisses to the ladies in the audience as he was going about his violent business. There were those who loved him and those who didn’t. Those who didn’t formed the Hate Raymond Boyd society.
That Sweet Raymond was a natural fighter was a good thing, especially in his adopted state of Texas. His preferred color was pink and that went for his whole boxing attire. Boyd was the self-styled Pink Panther, and while that traditionally feminine color is no big deal for a man to wear in today’s enlightened times, it was a risky venture back in the 1970s—particularly for a boxer in a tough town like Houston. Something on the scale of a boy named Sue in fact.
“So which one of you is Pink?” someone once asked the puzzled band members of Pink Floyd. It was always a color that provoked mild hilarity in manly circles.
Not that crazy Sweet Raymond—who liked to announce his arrival in the arena with a blood-curdling scream—would have worried about that. He was pretty good at looking after himself. Shaggy blond hair flying, fists pumping, the Pink Panther wasn’t too choosy about who he hit or where he hit them.
Boyd never made it to the top of the tree, but he certainly thrilled local crowds in a slam-bang rollercoaster career. Signs of what the professional ranks could expect came in his last fight as an amateur against future National Golden Gloves champion, Melvin Dennis. The battle, at the Houston Coliseum, was one of the dirtiest and most chaotic that locals had ever seen.
There wasn’t much boxing that night, but there was a fair bit of kicking, gouging and wrestling before the referee disqualified Dennis because one of his cornerman had entered the ring. The cornerman had done so for the purpose of punching Sweet Raymond, who wasted no time in punching back. By the time the riotous affair was called off, eight people had climbed into the ring, including two policemen.
The incident didn’t prompt Sweet Raymond to tone down his act. In his professional debut in the spring of 1970, he knocked out John Armstrong in one round and celebrated with raised hands as he rested one foot on Armstrong’s chest. Mr Armstrong’s supporters were not amused.
The Boyd circus gathered momentum as Sweet Raymond constantly invented new ways of selling his zany package. The local crowds lapped it up.
Furthermore, Boyd could actually fight and possessed a lot of grit. He could take it as well as he could dish it out. He had to take it for a while in a scheduled ten-round match with Gil Gutierrez in San Antonio in October, 1970. Boyd was having his tenth professional fight and it was considered to be his toughest test to date.
Sweet Raymond trained diligently for the match and had some intense sparring sessions with his illustrious stablemates, Manny Gonzalez and Kenny Weldon. Those gym battles stood Boyd in good stead and enabled him to overcome the worst possible start when Gutierrez decked him with a right hand.
Boyd got up and had a fine old battle with Gutierrez before putting in a storming rally to knock out his man in the third round.
It seemed that Sweet Raymond was on his way, but his open style of fighting would only take him to a certain level. He soon found that level. His perfect 13-0 record was slightly tarnished by a draw against Eddie Davis, but then suffered its first ugly blot with a second round knockout loss to Roy Barrientos in Dallas.
Boyd continued to give the fans their money’s worth, but thereafter joined the ranks of the win-some-lose-some brigade. In May, 1972, at the Curtis Hixon Hall in Tampa, he was knocked out in two rounds by Tom Van Hatten and finally seemed to lose heart with working the treadmill.
“I’m quitting,” Boyd announced afterwards. “You play around in this sport and you’ll get hurt. That was it tonight. I’m through.”
Perhaps he should have quit, but he didn’t. Sweet Raymond was never a quitter. Whether you liked or disliked his loud and gaudy act, Boyd was a brave man who didn’t run for the hills when the other fellow hit him back.
He drove on, winning eight and drawing one of nine fights up to the summer of 1979, when he was knocked out by Jerry Cheatham. But Sweet Raymond had to have the last word. He was made that way. After three years of inactivity, he returned in 1982 to end his career on a winning note with a points victory over Eddie Mitchell in Houston.
It was a favorite practice of Sweet Raymond Boyd to look in the gym mirror and proclaim, “You’re a handsome son-of-a-gun, Boyd!.” He was all that and he could fight a bit too.
Mike Casey is a Boxing.com writer and Founder & Editor of ALL TIME BOXING at https://sites.google.com/site/alltimeboxingrankings. He is a freelance journalist and boxing historian and a member of the International Boxing Research Organization (IBRO).