Scream! Sweet Raymond Boyd

By Mike Casey on March 21, 2013
Scream! Sweet Raymond Boyd
Perhaps he should have quit, but he didn't. Sweet Raymond Boyd was never a quitter.

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).

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  1. Kelly Boyd 06:41pm, 07/28/2013

    Thank you so much for writing this!! I have always been intrigued by his story.. .actually all the Boyds have very interesting stories. I have very fond memories of my Uncle Raymond leaving for his morning run with his German Shepard by his side shortly after they both had their morning breakfast…three eggs….raw , eww! Anyhow, thanks for this article. We are all very proud to be Boyds and this is just another reminder as to why.

  2. Donald Boyd 06:16pm, 07/28/2013

    Thank you Mike for writing the article about my big brother Sweet Raymond Boyd..he is the 4th of 11 children and I am the 11th and the baby..to think that you even have boxing knowledge to know how amazing Raymond was is impressive..your flair to explain these boxing moments of entertainment Raymond provided to the crowds tells me u must have been there..i don’t know how you could have related it so clearly if you were not there. you have a few facts wrong on his boxing record (he was 21 and 0 before he lost and was going to the 72 Olympics before turning pro because he had a little girl Tammy Jo on the way and needed the money ) but you captured the moment..great job.. I would like to collaborate with you on a short story or novel about our family celebrity ..The real story is far more amazing than even fiction..if we can contribute with stories and facts and even financially we would like for you to contact us.. you have my e-mail and we look forward to hearing from you..we have writers in our family and we have been waiting for one of us to tell the story.. I thought beth or sandy would but I think you would do a great job,,again thank you !!  The Donald Boyd..

  3. Kassie Bowman 01:31pm, 07/27/2013

    Thanks Mike for this: Ray is also my uncle and I have always loved hearing his boxing stories. Ray and many of his brothers were involved in golden gloves as kids so boxing is a favorite sport for our family..

  4. Kevin Boyd 07:29pm, 07/15/2013

    Mike - Thank you for writing this. Raymond Boyd is my uncle. He hasn’t been involved with boxing full-time in many years, but still occasionally helps out his younger brother Willie, who is a trainer at Ringsters in Houston.  I have fond memories as a youngster of hanging around Uncle Raymond’s home gym and “training” like a World Champ while he yelled at me to keep my hands up.

  5. Mike Casey 04:41am, 03/22/2013

    I don’t believe they ever did, Clarence. Diana was one smart lady and well protected I would imagine. Yes, I take your point about Aragon. Art has been so extensively written about. It becomes very difficult to find a new angle.

  6. Clarence George 03:15am, 03/22/2013

    Also frightening is that Art Aragon made it to 80!  Hard to picture him at that age, given his womanizing.  Maybe I should write about him, but…he just doesn’t interest me much, despite his involvement with luscious Jayne Mansfield.  Which reminds me, did Diana Dors’ kids ever find that fortune she apparently stashed?  Don’t hear much about Miss Dors on this side of the pond.

  7. Mike Casey 02:53am, 03/22/2013

    Yes, I think he probably did look at Gorgeous George, Ali and a few other showmen and then concocted his own mixture! I always admired him for his persistence, though. He had a 12-year pro career and didn’t quit when he got a hiding. I looked up his record the other day, rather fearing that he might be one of those wild characters who died an early death - but he’s still around, although I’ve no idea what he’s doing. He’d be around 65 now, which is a bit frightening!

  8. Clarence George 02:32am, 03/22/2013

    He appears to have been influenced by Gorgeous George.  The only thing Sweet Raymond didn’t do (or did he?) is squirt perfume upon entering the ring.

  9. Mike Casey 01:46am, 03/22/2013

    Sweet Raymond certainly loved himself, Clarence! But he was great fun while he lasted.

  10. Clarence George 06:23pm, 03/21/2013

    Never heard of him!  Which made the piece all the more interesting.

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