In February of 1961, a fighter named Jim Robinson, allegedly out of Kansas City, climbed into a Miami Beach ring with 19-year-old Cassius Clay as a last-minute substitute and was summarily dismissed inside of one round. By virtue of that bout, Robinson became a footnote in history, but in a bizarre way, he has become much more significant. As the Ali legend became firmly established and the “industry” surrounding him grew and grew, collectors and those in the literary world sought out each of The Greatest’s opponents for commercial purposes. The only one they could not find was Jim Robinson. To this day, his fate is not known, despite the efforts of autograph dealers, historians, even private investigators, to the point where his disappearance has become a cult legend of sorts, in and of itself.
Hank Kaplan, the world’s foremost boxing historian and archivist, is one of those people who has looked for any trace of Robinson, to no avail. He discusses the story with Charles Jay of Boxing Channel Radio.
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