MY BLEEDING BUSINESS by Terry Downes (Won 35 -KO 28, Lost 9 -KO 6, Drawn 0) Stanley Paul and Co Ltd 1964 (194pp H/back)
This very revealing publication spells out Terry's honesty, regard and pride for his Paddington Cockney family roots, which from the onset taught him self reliance among many things, including personal discipline and the need to develop his own initiative and drive. Immediately apparent is his them-n'-us tribal attitude which made him aware of his family's social niche in society. However, he recognised the call to be respectful of the law, was a great believer in the principle of National Assistance for the old and needy, but dead against layabouts and spongers spinning yarns to get a few quid regularly. In a nutshell, he was brought up to believe -it would seem- in the words of Andrew Carnegie 'anything in life worth having is worth working for'. A healthy expectation which does him great credit. In June '52, there occurred a horrific RTA accident in Baltimore resulting in his sister Sylvie losing her right arm. The immediate family flew to her bedside. Especially heartening, he says, was the kindnesses and sympathy shown his family by local residents in the United States. He thought the city's attitude to his family was both warm wonderful. Later, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps (Jan '54) and during his three year stint perfected his boxing abilities, becoming a polished and successful amateur fighter. It was after his discharge from the services and his return to the UK that the general public here began to sit up and take notice of what the sports pages termed 'The Paddington Express' so called for his all out aggression in the ring. I had the good fortune to see him fight against Orlando Di Pietro at a packed and noisy Liverpool Stadium one night in March 1960, when he won the ten-rounder with a convincing KO in the 4th Round. Following year, he was scheduled to meet Paul Pender for their second World Middle-weight title clash at the Empire Pool, Wembley (July '61). Terry Downes looked more the State-Side fighter with his two-fisted and continuous punching as opposed to Pender whose upright open stance was considered more in line with British fighters. The book revealed that one of his sparring partners was Wally Swift, who I always considered had the best straight left in the business. He'd invited Randy Turpin to spar with him and Terry wondered how he might have fared up against him in an official bout? Which led me to speculate as to how he might have managed in a scrap with the rough-n'-tumble hard-as-nails Jake LaMotta -now, there's a thought? He fought the top-of-the-crop, but could be modest and humble in his comments about them, as when he fought the great Sugar Ray (then, 41 years old) in 1962 and said after beating the best one-time pound-for-pound fighter in the world "I didn't beat Sugar Ray, I beat his ghost!" His last fight was against another great fighter in the form of World L/Heavyweight champ Willie Pastrano at the King's Hall, Belle Vue, Manchester in November '64, going down twice in the 11th round before being TKO'd. Glad to learn through the pages of a copy of July 2011 Daily Mail that he is still around in the land of the living, and with a lively wit. "Semper Fi" laudiblly applies in your attitude toward your Family, Service and Boxing records. I salute you, Terry Downes. You're one of the best! Regards, Bernard F. Spencer
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