By Richard T. Slone
I was extremely saddened to get the call that iconic artist LeRoy Neiman had died, aged 91, in New York City. I was first introduced to LeRoy when I was 16 years old through my then boxing trainer Smokin’ Joe Frazier. LeRoy was intrigued that I was an amateur boxer and also an artist. Once he saw my art his eyes lit up and in the many years I’d see him since, he kept up with my career and he always had kind words with sincere encouragement. I know we shared the same passion for boxing and I think he liked that.
LeRoy Neiman loved boxing and boxing loved LeRoy Neiman. He had a great passion for the fight game. He admired boxers more than any other athlete or celebrity and I think his love of the sport is very evident by simply looking at his timeless boxing paintings.
He will be missed. He was one of a kind. He brought an extra level of class to any event he’d paint. He was an attraction of his own, but took pride in painting those he admired. He was certainly flamboyant – a great showman – but was also a humble and generous man who truly did things his way without hurting anyone along the way. A lover of boxing, a great artist, a class act and a true gentleman.
Rest in Peace my friend.
Richard T. Slone is a multi-award winning painter who has emerged as one of the most intriguing and sought after artists today. His work has graced the covers of Ring Magazine, KO Magazine, World Boxing Magazine and many more. He has created the official artwork for programs and posters for many of boxing’s biggest super fights over the last decade. He is the Official Artist of the International Boxing Hall of Fame.