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"I'm 25 years old," he says. "That's about the right age for me to win the title and hold it for three years. By that time the mink ranch ought to be going well and I can retire to it."
There are solid reasons for this confidence. Fullmer is one of the strongest middleweights ever and his bruising style is bound to take its toll of Robinson, 11 years older. Seven years ago Robinson was brooding that he might be over the hill.
MAN BREATHING EASY
No one in the Fullmer camp gives much credit to Robinson for his comeback, which made him the only middleweight ever to win his title back after a substantial retirement. The comeback and the successful defense of the title, they point out, were made against Bobo Olson, whose number Robinson always had.
Still, Angelo Curley, training Fullmer, was impressed by Robinson's recent tune-up showing against Bob Provizzi at New Haven. Curley worked Provizzi's corner for closer observation of the champion over the 10 rounds.
"Of course we gotta take the fight to Robinson," Curley explained. "We gotta go out there and win it big, otherwise we're not going to win it at all. There will be some strategy involved but we are not going to try to hamper Fullmer's natural strength and willingness."
Those are Fullmer's assets and they are formidable. Robinson at his best was hailed in paraphrases of the old accolade to the smallmouth bass: "inch for inch and pound for pound the gamest fish that swims." Historically he belongs somewhere up with the alltime greats, a master of boxing and a true gamester. He still has his boxing knowledge and his fighting heart, but Fullmer is a far more impressive challenger than Olson was. Prognosis: too much heat for Sugar.