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The Day in Sports | COUNTDOWN TO 2000 / A day-by-day
recap of some of the most important sports moments
of the 20th Century: MAY 18, 1956

Olson Is Hit With Big One-Two Punch

May 18, 1999|EARL GUSTKEY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Which would be worse:

* Getting knocked cold in a championship prize fight?

* Being told that your estranged wife has had your purse held up with a lawsuit?

On this date 43 years ago, both of those things happened to former middleweight champion Carl "Bobo" Olson.

First, he lost for the fourth consecutive time to Sugar Ray Robinson at Los Angeles' Wrigley Field. And for the third time in those four fights, Robinson knocked him out.

Olson trudged back to his dressing room, and there got confirmation of what he had learned earlier that day, that his wife's suit was asking for all his community property.

And that included his share, $89,094.60, of what then was a record California boxing gate, $228,500.

But he could take some solace in the fact that Robinson didn't get his $89,094.60 either.

Robinson found IRS agents in his dressing room. By a remarkable coincidence, the feds claimed Robinson owed "about" $89,000 in back taxes. Later, they said, Robinson could pay it in installments.

Olson, 27, was trying to regain the title from Robinson, who'd knocked him out in the second round and won the championship five months earlier. Robinson also had beaten Olson in 1950 and 1952.

Before 20,083, Robinson, 35, slammed a right hand onto Olson's ribs in the fourth and when Olson dropped his right hand, Robinson dropped him with a left hook to the jaw.

Olson landed on his back, then rolled over and pawed his face with his gloves as he was counted out.

Also on this date: In 1940, Eddie Morris of Huntington Beach High, one of the Southland's greatest prep sprinters, won both the 100-yard dash in 9.9 and the 220 in 21.4 at the CIF meet at the Coliseum. The previous weekend, he'd run 9.5 and 20.6 at the Sunset League meet. . . . In 1963, Syracuse's Ernie Davis, the first African American to win the Heisman Trophy, lost a 10-month battle with leukemia and died at 23. . . . In 1968, Frank Howard hit two home runs in Detroit, giving him 10 in six games--still the major league record for most in a week.

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