1970sBoxingESPNLightweight Bouts

Boxing – 1978 – 10 Round Lightweight Bout – J C Kim Vs Robin Blake

DOG COMMENTARY:

There is not a great deal of boxing information on J C Kim….mainly because this was his 1st and last fight….but in researching Rockin Robin Blake….we found this wonderful piece written about him as follows;

By “Big” Bill Bradshaw

Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini joined RSR’s CEO “Bad” Brad Berkwitt on the RSR podcast show this week. Mancini established himself as a legend in a decade that gave us some of the P4P all time greats and to be revered today, as he still is, simply highlights the level of sheer class he once brought to the game. But, in remembering Ray, it would be seem only fair to cast an eye over the teak tough contenders of the day and none came more rugged than “Rockin” Robin Blake. Born in Lubbock Texas on April 16th 1962, Robin had boxing blood coursing through his veins from the moment he first bawled out.  

His father, Roger, was a former Marine who had Robin and his four brothers in the gym by the time a glove could be laced on them. Robin fought his first amateur bout at the age of seven and had competed in over 300 bouts by the time he turned pro in August of 1981. As fate would have it, Robin was due to represent the US boxing team in Poland in 1980 but opted instead to fight in Germany. LOT Flight 5055 carrying the US team crashed outside Warsaw on March 14th 1980. All 87 passengers and crew were killed. Many of Blake’s closest friends perished in the accident and it was with a heavy heart that he said goodbye to the amateur ranks.  

Boxing was a different animal entirely in the 70’s and early 80’s. Fifteen round bouts were the championship standard and fighters were in the ring as often as the rest of us were in the pub. Irish Stevie Collins once said “a busy fighter is an improving fighter” and, that being the case, Blake would have been greatly improved when, after only four months, he faced into 1982 with a record of 7-0 with 6 KO’s. He was an exciting boxer, a flamboyant, pink trunked, southpaw who could move like a featherweight and bang like those boys at 160lbs.  

At 5’11, he was a tall lightweight and, with another nine big wins by years end, “Rockin” Robin Blake was a firm favorite with the cable TV networks. CBS, NBC and ESPN would regularly highlight the young Texan and it looked almost certain that he would be fighting for a title the following year.  

On September 17th 1983 Robin stopped Melvin Paul in the 6th round in Las Vegas, Nevada to take his record to an impressive 22-0 with 16 KO’s. This was further enhanced by the fact that he had amassed such a record in just 25 months. Blake was now installed as the No.1 contender for Ray Mancini’s WBA lightweight title and he trusted that his manager, Dave Gorman, would secure the bout over the coming months. Gorman also managed Donald Curry at this time so he was no stranger to big time boxing. That Gorman and Curry would split acrimoniously in 1986 would suggest that all had not been well in the camp but Blake was not to know this when he sat down for dinner with his team after the Melvin Paul fight.  

Gorman informed Robin that he would fight again in three weeks, this time against the extremely dangerous Tyrone Crawley. Blake objected immediately, citing exhaustion as the overwhelming factor for his refusal. He wanted the Mancini fight…he had earned it and he had earned the rest that so desperately needed before that bout would happen. Gorman wouldn’t hear of it and said that tickets were already selling out and that the fight would take place in Blake’s hometown and he couldn’t disappoint the hometown fans. Robin made a call to Bob Arum and asked that the fight be postponed but the bout went ahead regardless. A week before the fight, Blake even underwent treatment for a root canal but, on October 8th 1983, out of sheer respect and loyalty for the fans that had paid their hard earned cash to see their local hero, “Rockin” Robin Blake fought ten grueling rounds and lost on points. Even his opponent was shocked that the fight took place when it did. “I couldn’t believe that Blake’s people took me as an opponent” Crawley would later say “I had lost only to Melvin Paul and I had beaten Gene Hatcher in the tourney which I eventually won. I got paid $60,000 for this fight and I signed with Top Rank after defeating Robin.” Blake was gutted not just by the loss but by virtue of the fact that the bout took place at all. Once again he asked for the Mancini fight to be secured and he practically begged Gorman to allow him time to rest. But three months later Blake was in the ring with the unbeaten future IBF champion Harry Arroyo and once again he would lose out in a closely scored bout.  

Over the following 13 months, Robin knocked up another five exciting wins including a bruising contest with the highly rated Adolfo Medel. Blake won a narrow decision in a bout that was to be Medel’s last. Finally a world title shot was secured but not against Ray Mancini. Instead Blake would fight for Jimmy Paul’s IBF title. On June 30th in front of a sellout crowd at the Tropicana Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, “Rockin” Robin Blake gave it his all against the tough champion. He started well and took the first three rounds but Paul’s skill began to show and, going into the 14th round, Blake needed a knockout to lift the belt. Never one to shy away from a scrap, Robin went for it but took too many shots and referee Joey Curtis jumped in to stop the fight. Many felt that the fight was stopped prematurely but, with such a wide gap on the scorecards, Blake would most probably have lost anyway.  

Robin had wanted to share the ring with the legend that was Ray Mancini and it never happened but, in his very next bout, he would go the distance with the great Meldrick Taylor. “The Kid” would go on to become IBF Light Welterweight and WBA Welterweight champion and “Rockin” Robin would cruise toward retirement with a mixed bag that yielded a USA Texas State Welterweight Title in 1988. He would hang up his gloves in 1990 and walk away from the game with a respectable record of 33-8 with 21 KO’s. Prior to his last bout he had applied for a position in the police service and, in the summer of 1990, he was president of the first graduating class of South Plains College Police Academy. In 1994 he was transferred to the City of Odessa and has remained there ever since. When asked why he chose such a profession he replied “God was leading me that way”.

Officer Robin Blake rarely likes to talk about the old days. A hurt still lingers from the circumstances around the fight with Crawley. He was 22-0 and number one contender for Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini’s WBA title. Some part of Robin Blake will always be that fighter. He’s gone on record as saying that taking the Crawley fight when he did was his biggest regret in boxing. “I was tired and over trained and I knew when I stepped into the ring that night that I was going to lose” he once said “I just wish I would have declined to fight that night but I couldn’t say no to my fans”. When asked about Ray Mancini, he was thoughtful but, ultimately pragmatic “Who knows what would have happened had I got the chance to fight Mancini” Blake said “But I don’t like to dwell on the past. I had a good career and I am a better person for it.”

He certainly is and the Lightweight/Welterweight divisions of the 1980’s were all the better for his involvement. Here’s to “Rockin” Robin Blake, a fighter, a boxer, a slugger, a showman, an officer….and a gentleman.

Every time I read this story….and I remember the many “Rockin”  Robin Blake videos that I have posted here at ImaSportsphile…I can’t help but think of the human traits that define “West Texas Boys” like Robin Blake….tough, hard-nosed, intently loyal, God fearing and believing men….the kind you would want to share a foxhole with….as we are delighted to have his fights in our treasure chest of vintage boxing.

 

 

 

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