Born in the Coeur D Alenes to Eugene Sage, a former foreman at the Hercules, and later the Sheriff of Shoshone County, Sage was a tough, smart, Burke boy. This is how the Spokesman-Review chronicled it in its October 3, 1940, edition.
Sage went to school in Burke as a boy, took up boxing and made a success of it. He rose to the top of the field in the middleweight division and virtually fought his way through law school in Detroit.He contended for the word title, fighting Harry Greb, and other champions of the day.Now, he must have been one tough hombre, because if you are not a boxing fan or a boxing history buff, you may not know that Harry Greb was one the greatest middleweights of all time. From the tough city of Pittsburgh, Pa., Greb was known as the"Pittsburgh Whirlwind, and the Smoke City Wildcat". Boxing historian and legend, Bert Sugar, proclaimed Greb as one of the five greatest fighters of all time, and Box Rec, lists him as te third greatest middleweight of all time.
Harry Greb Robert Sage
So, as you can see, our Burke boy was in for the fight of his life. Yes, Sage lost the fight, on a decision, but I can just imagine that it was one brutal,bruising, bloody carnage as the two bulls from two of the nation's toughest towns went at it toe to toe.
Maybe those blows help contribute to what came later.