Let's switch to another of Honeyghan's favorite names for himself—Flash Harry. An amiable, uncomplicated addiction to dandyism is one of his most cockney characteristics. Which is why we are now paying a visit to Mr. Archie Constantina, from Kyrenia, Cyprus, who works in a neighborhood tailor shop and is meticulously fashioning a suit for Honeyghan. "You like it?" asks Flash Harry. "I designed it myself. It's like in the old-time gangster movies, see?" Such broad stripes and expansive lapels have not been seen since the days of Dutch Schultz. "Don't give me more than a touch of waist," he instructs Constantina, as both the young Stafford-shires begin to whine impatiently.
Two weeks before his fight with Bumphus, the magazine section of Britain's Mail on Sunday featured a fashion section in which Honeyghan was seen-reclining languorously, on a couch and over two pages, in what looked like a black silk bathrobe. That photograph was taken in a trendy London gents' boutique called Ebony, whose owner, John Kaye, commented, "God, he was so over the top it wasn't even flash. But you could see he liked clothes and, well, we just clicked. And he bought a full-length evening coat in silver silk, very 1950s, with coordinating jacket and trousers."
That image of Honeyghan as fop might have amused Bumphus, the 28-1-1 former WBA junior welterweight champion, had he chanced to see it. So might Honeyghan's appearance on fight night in his "suit of lights," an outfit consisting of silver diamante robe and trunks that reputedly cost him $2,000. But the ferocity with which Honeyghan cluster-punched Bumphus into defeat—courting disqualification by leaping across the ring to smash the challenger with a left hook just as he was rising from his stool for the start of Round 2—did not invite comments about bathrobes.
Actually, Bumphus was unlucky to have been the first fighter the Ragamuffin Man met after Curry: Honeyghan was still simmering from comments that a weight problem, not he, had beaten the Texan. Curry's camp insisted that their man had weakened himself while getting down to a welterweight's 147 pounds, and the fighter himself said later, "The weight caught up with me. I had no zap." Excuses aside, Curry was not only beaten but comprehensively destroyed. The likelihood is that he and his handlers had seriously underestimated Honeyghan.
That match was meant to be a pushover for the highly regarded Curry. In spite of his 27-0 record, Honeyghan was unknown in the U.S., and the 25-year-old Curry had not lost a fight since he was 16. "Curry spoke like I wasn't in the room," Honeyghan recalls now of the prefight press conference. "All he wanted to talk about was the $10 million he was going to get to fight [Marvin] Hagler." (The day Sugar Ray Leonard beat Hagler, Curry sued Leonard and his manager, Mike Trainer, contending that Sugar Ray had misled him as to his comeback plans in order to delay Curry's move up into the middleweight division and a possible big payday against Hagler.)
"London Bridge is falling down," Akbar Muhammad, Curry's business manager, had taunted at the press conference. Muhammad predicted it would take his fighter just one round to finish the job, but Honeyghan was the better, if cruder, prophet. "I'll smash his face in and take his titles away," said the Ragamuffin Man, and he was right. The bell for the seventh never rang because Curry was out of the fight and on his way to the hospital, his nose broken, cuts over his left eye and on his lower lip and, according to promoter Bob Arum, worth about $10 million less as an asset.
Curry is not the first fighter to underestimate Honeyghan. He is a difficult man to categorize. The little parlor of the senior Honeyghans' apartment vividly displays the strange, schizoid world of the West Indian immigrant in England. There are the photos, cut from magazines, of Di and Charles, Andrew and Fergie, favored by the fighter's mother, but there are pictures of Jamaican politicians as well, and the reggae records are piled high. As a boxer, Honeyghan looks to America for inspiration—he frequently trains in the U.S. before major fights, and his best friend is Buster Drayton, the IBF junior middleweight champion, who lives in Philadelphia.
"In England," Honeyghan says, returning to an earlier theme, "you have to be a gentleman. The English can't understand anybody believing in himself as totally as I do. So how do they expect the guy they put into the ring to win?"
Honeyghan's arrogance is utterly natural, utterly sincere. And you can see how it kills him stone dead with the English public. He is absolutely right: The English do prefer a big, amiable loser like Bruno to a guy like the Ragamuffin, who wins a title and then announces, as he did joyously after the Curry fight, that he had fathered four children by three different girlfriends. And it also seemed wantonly arrogant when, as an undisputed champion in his division, Honeyghan shed one of his titles as casually, it seems, as he shared parenthood.
Or maybe not so casually. To defend the WBA segment of his title, it was possible that Honeyghan would have been required to meet white South African Harold Volbrecht. Honeyghan said he wouldn't be able to look at himself in the mirror if he fought a South African—black or white.