Boxer Johnny Prescott to be laid to rest to his favourite song
As many as 300 mourners could be present at next Thursday’s service at Holy Trinity Parish Church, Sutton Coldfield, his family told the Birmingham Mail.
Johnny Prescott in his heyday
BIRMINGHAM boxing legend Johnny Prescott will be laid to rest to the strains of his favourite song – ‘Money’ by Barrett Strong. And as many as 300 mourners could be present at next Thursday’s service at Holy Trinity Parish Church, Sutton Coldfield, his family told the Birmingham Mail. Johnny, who fought the country’s best heavyweights in the 60s and 70s, died on Sunday at Good Hope Hospital. At the age of 74, he had fought dementia for six years. The degenerative illness was one of the few opponents to get the better of the crowd pleaser. Four times divorced, the fighter had three children - Jay, Lee and Diane, who lives in Florida.
Jay, who followed his father into the steel business, said Johnny’s ring nickname of ‘Playboy’ was well earned.
Johnny Prescott fights Billy Walker in 1970 Johnny’s exploits with drinking companion – and Wolves legend – Derek Dougan became as much a part of city folklore as his ring wars. He was also big buddies with fellow Wolves favourite Bobby Thomson. Jay, aged 37, said: “If he was fighting today he would have earned a lot more money – but he would’ve spent that, too. “His best friend told me how he had to drag him out of bed each morning kicking and screaming to go running.” Despite being less than diligent in training, Johnny, then based in Nechells, shone against the very best domestic heavyweights. His two bouts with Billy Walker are considered among the greatest battles between big men seen in this country. Johnny, who won 34 of 49 contests, was stopped in ten rounds by Henry Cooper in a British and Commonwealth title bid. He hung-up his gloves after being out pointed by Joe Bugner in 1970. In retirement, he dabbled as a bookmaker and boxing promoter before turning to the steel business. Son Jay said his father never boasted about his ring achievements. “He never discussed it, really. He was proud of it and would talk about it if you asked him.
“He was actually a quite quiet man in himself, not loud or brash.” Johnny made no funeral plans, added Jay. “We’re at a bit of a loss, really. We read an article by (ELO drummer) Bev Bevan that said he would always request ‘Money’, which was later covered by the Beatles. There could be 50 people present (at the funeral), there could be 300 – we really don’t know.” Dementia first took a hold six years ago. “It really escalated in the last six to eight weeks,” added Jay. “It took him quite quickly.” The service takes place at noon, followed by interment at New Hall Cemetery.