Ultimate Survivor: Don Elbaum and the story of two left gloves gifted to the greatest fighter in the world

The story of Don Elbaum began at a press conference in November 1965, where Sugar Ray Robinson’s last fight was being announced. Elbaum wanted to add sentimentality to the event, so he surprised Robinson with a pair of gloves from his pro debut 25 years earlier. Robinson and his wife were touched by the gesture, and the press went crazy asking for photos. However, Elbaum had mistakenly brought two left-handed gloves, which stopped Robinson from putting them on. Elbaum, who is known for challenging people to guess his age, still looks much younger than his reported 92 years. He has been difficult to reach over the years, but he has always been a trailblazer in the boxing world. Elbaum likes to remind people that he was responsible for getting Don King into boxing, although he half-jokes that he regrets it. Elbaum’s own start in boxing began when his father took him to fights in Cleveland, and he started making amateur matches. He promoted his first show in Erie at the age of 17, which is a story in itself. Elbaum has always dreamed big but has often fallen short. He has been known to put on unusual matches and even enter the ring himself as a substitute. Despite being winless in his pro career, Elbaum has always been in shape and took a good punch. Elbaum’s unorthodox career has resulted in heavy financial losses, but he has always managed to survive. He would usually find a backer to fund his shows, but he never promised any guarantees. Elbaum had a close relationship with Sugar Ray Robinson and tried to get him to box for him in Pittsburgh, but Robinson refused to retire after their fight. Elbaum also had a short-lived partnership with Don King, who Elbaum claims stole money and underpaid boxers. Eventually, Elbaum decided to walk away from King and leave the boxing world.

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