Re: RIP Johnny Prescott
This is an article taken from the programme for Prescott-Walker II, which took place on November 12th, 1963.
Prescott, the Playboy Pugilist. The 1963 drama of Johnny boy!
By Sam Leitch, Sunday Mirror
With eight weeks still to go 1963 has indeed been some boxing year for Johnny Prescott, ex-orphan, ex-blacksmith, the Brummie battler who has the looks to match the high life he loves.
January say him a K.O. hero in Smethwick, chaired on the shoulders of his exuberant Midlands fans. March saw women weep at the sight of Prescott, flattened amid Wolverhampton woe, by one of the most perfect punches produced in the year, a right hook dispatched by one Jim Cooper.
May-time saw the strong right arm of Johnny raised in victory, a healthy points verdict over Ray Shiel, but alas a month later a big, amiable, Leicester-based Nigerian truck driver called Alec Barrow sagged Prescott glassy-eyed in 100 secs. of supreme Carmarthen indignity.
July meant a sizeable "cut" in Johnny's purse but he got the prestige revenge he wanted against Barrow with a clear-cut point decision, the same Barrow he once employed as a 30/- per round sparmate!
There is little need to dwell on the September sensation when Prescott, and his opponent tonight, collided in the same Wembley ring. There were only 84 seconds of the last round left when the fight was stopped and Prescott, flabbergasted but fuming, was thwarted of victory he thought he had won.
So between January and the first run-in with old amateur ringmate Billy Walker, Johnny lost not only a stone in weight but a third of his reputation at the Midlands wonder boy of the ring.
But the fiery circumstances and controversy of the fight put him in the big money again.
Prescott's career has not been as haphazard as his 1963 form would suggest. Before Jim Cooper stopped him in precisely four minutes and four seconds, Johnny had run up 22 fights without defeat.
Glamour and drama surround this lad in hectic fashion. Three years ago a handsome, black-haired blacksmith earning £15 a week. Today he boasts a £2,000 car, a wardrobe of £40 suits, pictures in the paper hand-in-hand with Miss United Kingdom and the Duke of Bedford offering historic Woburn Abbey as a training gym!
For his first professional fight on September 5, 1961, Prescott collected £25; the championship of the Midlands sounds lofty but it meant only a £100 purse. Still his 27-fight career (22 wins, three defeats, two draws) has netted around £25,000, a fair proportion of that not being around any more.
For money is there to be spent says the playboy-pugilist, latest in the long line of ring glamour boys. He has trained hard, fought often - six fights in 1961, 14 last year and tonight is the 8th of 1963.
"Ever since I can remember I've been fighting one way or the other," says a lad who can move sweetly around the ring, counter-punching with spasms of left hand class. He is neither afraid to throw nor take a good punch.
Johnny's final word on his last fight is short and sour: "I know I won and the ref was wrong!"