Lover of the Fancy

Early C20th American culture and dissent

Off The Ropes: The Ron Lyle Story
Candace Toft


Ron Lyle had already served hard time for second-degree murder before he started his amateur boxing career at the age of twenty-nine. After he turned pro, fans knew him as the man who had Muhammad Ali beat on the scorecards for ten rounds in a fight for the heavyweight title; as the man who fought George Foreman in a legendary brawl with four knockdowns that nearly saw Foreman knocked cold; and as the man who was arrested for murder a second time.

Ron Lyle grew up in the Denver projects, one of nineteen children in a tight-knit, religious family. At twenty, he was convicted for a disputed gang killing and served seven and a half years at the Colorado State Penitentiary at Canon City, where at one point he was nearly shanked to death, and where he learned to box before he was paroled in 1969.

After a meteoric amateur career, he turned pro in 1971, and over the next six years established an outstanding professional record, which, in addition to the near misses against Ali and Foreman, included a brutal knockout win over one of the era’s most feared fighters, big-punching Earnie Shavers. Then, in 1978, Lyle was indicted for murder a second time and, even though he was acquitted, his career was effectively over. The years that followed were filled with struggle, a captivating love story, and eventual redemption.

With an introduction by Al Bernstein.

Paperback, 232pp
Hamilcar Publications, 2018
ISBN 9781949590005