THE SIDELINES : Ex-Champ Conn Takes on Robber

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<i> From Times wire services</i>

A robber got more than he bargained for when he held up a convenience store: He ran into 72-year-old ex-boxing champion Billy Conn.

Conn, who was nicknamed “The Pittsburgh Kid” during his boxing career in the 1930s and 1940s, was in a Uni-Mart in the Squirrel Hill section Wednesday when a man walked in and told store manager Tom Dieker that he had a gun, police said.

When Dieker asked to see a weapon, the robber grabbed about $80 from the register and the two began scuffling. Conn and Dieker then wrestled the man to the floor, but the man got away, police said.


Conn’s wife, Mary Louise, said she was not surprised that her husband got involved. “Once a fighter, always a fighter,” she said.

Conn was light-heavyweight champion from 1939 to 1941 and twice fought Joe Louis unsuccessfully for the world heavyweight title.