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Photos: Micah True story in NY Times brings back Westword cover

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Micah True, the world-famous "ultrarunner" who was found dead in New Mexico in April, was profiled Sunday in a mammoth New York Times piece by Barry Bearak, who described True's days as a furniture mover and prizefighter in Boulder. That's when True, then going by the moniker "The Gypsy Cowboy," displayed his fighting form on Westword's August 20, 1981 cover. See it and the essay he wrote for it below.

The photograph was taken by Boulder photographer Michael Lichter, who says he was taken aback by the "awful" circumstances of True's death. The shot was part of a package that Alan Katz pulled together on Denver's boxing scene, which included an essay that True himself penned about his time in the ring.

The True essay from Westword:

The first time I ever knocked out a guy I cried. I was a kid in the San Jose Police Athletic League. For a long time after that, I didn't knock out anyone.

Later, though, I decided to box professionally. I went to Southern California because it was a hotbed of boxing. I walked in to a promoter's office and said, "I'm The Gypsy Cowboy and I'd like to fight on your next card." He told me to get lost. So I went back to San Jose and got on a card at the Circle Star and won my first fight. I've had twelve pro fights now and won them all.

I had a playful childhood. My brother was shorter than me and older, too. He had a little man's complex. He'd chase me for miles and finally catch me, so I'd have to punch him out.

When I was a young boy, I dreamed I was what I am now. Only it was more. I'd have visions of me in the ring with people. I find myself reliving my dreams a lot.

There's a spirit called upon when you're in the ring. You get the feeling you don't want to go on, but you realize it's only about 18 to 30 minutes, and really that's not such a sacrifice. Being in the ring covers a lot of ground. Not just physically; that's only part of it. You have to have faith.

It's an honest way to make a living. Basic, down-home honesty, instead of being in the business world and making the compromises you have to make.

I don't have a training routine. I might run at two in the morning or two in the afternoon. Or both. I run 25 to 30 miles some days. I run in the foothills from Boulder to Nederland or to Gold Hill. I eat whatever I want to, but I don't eat meat, ever.

I'd like to fight Paul Ranzany in Sacramento -- kind of a going home thing. I think it's a good time for him to be had, while he's still rated. Tony Chiaverni is my type, too. He's short and a brawler. I'd rather fight someone who's really aggressive and comes in hard. Those are also the most aesthetic fights to watch. But I'll fight anybody for the right price.

I grew up in the lower middle class, but I prefer to be called classless. I have no class and I'm proud of it.

Look below to see the full cover and a scan of the article -- complete with a headline misspelling of True's name! The cover of the August, 20, 1981 issue of Westword, with True's portrait:

A scan of the page on which True's essay appeared:

More from our News Archive: "Derrick Saunders, Denver cop, unfired despite driving 143 MPH while drunk."

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