Sport: The Roar of the Crowd

The summer vacationers had vanished, and the juke joints along the shore looked ready to be boarded up. In the little village of Greenwood Lake, N.Y., only the Long Pond Inn showed signs of life. There the champ's camp followers—boxing writers soaking up free drink, ex-athletes gone fat in the jowls, the kind of women who get their names tattooed on sailors—swapped yarns as they waited for Sugar Ray Robinson, middleweight champion of the world.

Sugar Ray came down to his lakeside training camp trailing a drab crew—a couple of beefy sparring partners and...

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