October 15, 2003 by

Bill Cayton

4 comments

Categories: Media, Sports

bcayton.jpgBill Cayton, a boxing manager with one of the world’s largest collections of vintage fight films, died on Oct. 4 from lung cancer. He was 85.
Born in New York City, Cayton earned a degree in chemical engineering from the University of Maryland. His first job was as a technical writer for DuPont, but by 1945, he had built his own advertising agency.
Outside of work, Cayton’s passion was boxing. He combined this interest with his day job by helping Chesebrough Manufacturing Co. advertise its Vaseline Brand Hair Tonic on television. At the time, ad agencies produced their own programs, so Cayton acquired the rights to air boxing matches. “The Greatest Fights of the Century,” sponsored by Chesebrough, generated some of network television’s highest ratings.
Cayton also spent 50 years collecting fight films. By the time he sold the film and tape library to Disney/ESPN in 1998, he had amassed more than 1,500 reels, including the famous 1936 bout between Joe Louis and Max Schmeling at Yankee Stadium and the 15-round fight in 1949 when Sugar Ray Robinson successfully defended his welterweight title from Kid Gavilan.
In the 1970s, Cayton began managing fighters. He worked with Tommy Morrison, Vinny Pazienza, Jeremy Williams, Michael Grant, Wilfred Benitez, and Edwin Rosario. He and Jim Jacobs co-managed boxer Mike Tyson to a heavyweight championship in 1986. Two years later, Tyson fired his managers so he could join with Don King.
Cayton was named Manager of the Year 14 times in his career.

4 Responses to Bill Cayton

  1. Chuck

    Instead of boxing, I remember William Cayton for his animation work with Fred Ladd on the early morning cartoon series I watched as a kid back in 1959 called “The Space Explorers.” The most memorable cartoon I ever saw. I still think about it today. Many people try to describe the cartoon and get a “blank stare” from people. It was about a young boy and a professor traveling through space looking for the boys father “Commander Perry” who they suspected had crash-landed on Mars. The name of the rocket ship was the “Polaris-1” and it was flown by Professor Nordheim and “Smitty” the Navigator. There is a great website about it now too.

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