Sandy's stubbornly proud attitude and his grimly hopeful outlook are characteristic of professional fighters in this period when boxing revenues—aside from the big heavyweight matches—are down to about half of what they were at the start of his career. Among the 1,100 U.S. boxers listed in current ring records there are the same familiar, eager beginners with the same sort of promising record that Sandy made when he started back in 1951 and 1952: people like Mike Pusateri of Brockton, Mass., who had 14 fights last year and won them all by knockout, six in the first round, six in the second, two in the third; or Tod Herring of Houston, who won seven last year, to make his total victories in three years add up to 18, but who was also knocked out for the first defeat of his professional career. And then, too, some of Randy Sandy's contemporaries are still carrying on; Vince Bonomo, a Florida middleweight, had 16 fights and won 10 of them. The Mexican welterweight, Gaspar Ortega, seems to have been the busiest boxer of the year, fighting 16 times, winning 13 of his bouts and defeating the late Benny Paret, among others, but losing to Emile Griffith in a try for the title.
Randy Sandy's life is now on the edge of this turbulent side of the fighting business. A boxing friend told him he wanted to fight just one more year and make a stake. "I tell him, "Don't decide like that,' " Sandy says. " 'If you gettin' beat bad, quit right away.' He took a bad walloping on his next fight and retired. I'm glad, because he was getting unstable." Unstable is Sandy's word for a fighter suffering from too many thumps on the head.
Sandy, still unready to end his own career, leads a life of moderation. He eats two careful meals a day, simple, high-protein foods but no fish or tea. A non-smoker, he indulges in an occasional glass of Cherry Heering, a taste acquired during his European travels. Syd Martin says, "If I see he isn't getting anywhere I'll tell him to hang up his gloves." Sandy says, "I still think I can make it as a fighter. I feel that while I matured early mentally, because I had to support my family, I matured late physically, and I'm still able. But I've got to start to support my family. Ruth's been carrying us, and this can drive a man crazy."
Once when Sandy was thinking of quitting, he met Joe Brown, then the world lightweight champion. An ex-carpenter from Baton Rouge, Brown had been fighting for 11 years—86 fights in all—before he won the championship. "He told me he had been knocking around just like me," Sandy said, "and suddenly he got his chance and he became champion. I've been fighting for 13 years, and to start doing something different is very hard for me."
"Boxing is a hard way to make an easy dollar," said one fighter not long ago. In the late afternoon of his career as a fighter, Randolph Sandy offers a balanced view of his own 13 years: "Fighting done a lot for me even though I haven't always been treated fair. I have the home, a wife and two children. Fighting made me a better fellow than I would have been."