Black and Blue

More than 20 million Britons, 1 in every 3 alive (among them King George VI), tuned in to their radios in 1951 when Randolph Turpin took on Sugar Ray Robinson for the middleweight crown of the world. This was doubly surprising, insofar as the mixed-race Englishman was boxing for a country where, just four years earlier, blacks — even if British-born — were not allowed to compete for the national championship. When Turpin pulled off a remarkable upset against the highly favored American — only Robinson's second loss in 135 fights — he seemed more than ever an emblem of the...

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