It is this city's loss that the temperature and humidity prevents Mister T from jauntingly tilting a derby on his shaven head and marking cadence for his boulevardier's stride down the streets.
"Mister T," as he prefers to be called, or "Odd Job," as others refer to him - behind his back, of course - otherwise is braving the discomfort here as Leon Spinks' bodyguard by wearing a vested suit and tie, a diffedent one every day, while lesser sticklers for convention perspire in sport shirts.
He sticks out a mile, because he's got style. T's assortment of variously colored derbies are reminiscent of "Odd Job," the major domo to "Goldfinger" in the spy film of the same name, though Mister T does not have the razor-sharp brims on his derbies like those Odd Job flung at adversaries:
Mister T can fall back on another "weapon," his second-degree black belt in karate (10 being the highest degree).
Mister T insists that he is a peaceful man, the son of a minister, but he also is a sergeant in the military police of a National Guard unit and, as he describes it, "an off-and-on deputy sheriff" in Cook Country, III.
"People look at me and say, 'I'll bet nobody gives you a hard time,'" Mister T says. "Well, I am not interested in violence. I think a 'presence' can prevent incidents. I prefer peace. I am not too proud to get down on my knees and thank God for peace.
A "presence" Mister T is at 5-foot-10 and 247 pounds, straining the seams of his mostly tailor-made 24 suits.
Why would a heavyweight boxing champion, of all people, need a bodyguard?
For one reason, Spinks would not be a logical choice to endanger the weapons of his trade without a big purse; besides, courts regard a profession boxer's fists as possible lethal weapons, particularly when used on a nonprofessional.
Mister T says an up-front image prevents incidents. When he suggests with extreme courtliness, that a sportswriter extinguish his cigar at ringside at Spinks' workouts, he usually is accomodated.
When he asks the inevitable cluster of hangers-on to clear Spinks' working area, he gets magical cooperation.
When he asks the whole audience to remain mute so Spinks can hear low-key advice from his handlers, he is obeyed.
Mister T says he has been confronted with only one call to action since joining Spinks in June. It seems there was this exhibition bout against an opponent Mister T remembers only as "The Italian Assassin."
"Some people threw beer at Leon," Mister T said. "Some made racist remarks." He says they were gently but firmly dissuaded from such breaches of manners.
Manners and mores mean a lot to Mister T, one of 11 children.
"All I ever had was hand-me-down clothes," he said. "I never owned a suit until I graduated from high school. That's why I want to dress like a winner. I have a passion for fashion."
He was most chagrined when the flower shop wasn't open here on Sunday because he could not wear his daily carnation.
"I wear that because as I understand, in the past a gentlemen didn't feel completely dressed without a carnation in his lapel. Also because I have admired persons who wore carnations," He always sports a pocket kerchief.
Mister T tells why he wears two earrings, on the left ear: "Two to be different from those who wear one and because it is a symbol of pride in my African heritage." A beard adds to the image.
He wears one-way sunglasses, in several color schemes selected to match his uniform of the day, and one-way for tactical purposes: "Someone may I'm think I'm looking some other way when he is ready to sneak up on me, when I'm actually looking right at him. He can't see my eyes."
In his right lapel is a "T" of gold with a small diamond for the period. In his neckties he wears a pearl stickpin and across his vest a watch and chain of a bygone era.
"I had been a bodyguard previously for peole of prominence within small circles," Mister T said, "but I prefer the wider identification from being with the heavyweight champion."
He says he began shaving his head about five years ago to be different. He acknowledges that he is selling an image.
He teaches karate to augment his income. He has investments in two apartment houses in Chicago. In his absence, his partners opened a barbecue and liquor business in Chicago.
Mister T began driving Spinks' limousine-length white Continental recently, and liked the feel of it.
Almost automatically, when he signals a taxi driver that he wants to park the Continental in a spot the cabbie was coveting, Mister T gets his way. "If I save enough money."
Mister T played halfback in high cause I was too good for everyone." Leon's image after this fight," - as if several color schemes selected to match his uniform of the day, and one-way for tactical purposes: "Someone may think I'm looking some other when he's ready to sneak up on me, when I'm actually looking right at him. He can't see my eyes."
school and won all-state recognition. He also wrestled as a sophomore and junior but didn't as a senior "because I was too good for everyone."
He says he went on to Prarie View A&M and then to the Green Bay Packers for a tryout.
Wasn't he the wrong shape for a halfback, with all the muscles he overdeveloped as a wrestler?
"That's what people would ask me," Mister T said. "But that's precisely why I wouldn't change. I wanted to look different from other halfbacks.
Mister T suffers the cynical grim of others in Spinks, entourage, secure in the knowledge that he will have no trouble with them. In fact, the notion occurs that maybe Mister T would not have too much trouble with Spinks himself, if it came to push, punch and karate chop.
Mister T takes notice of the more common sort of camp followers in boxing by allusion only, frequently remarking, "I'm no parasite."
In fact, he says, a bit cryptically, "Wait till you see the change in Leon's image after this fight," as if he is going to make him over in the image of a champion to the manner born, instead of a public housing project.
Mister T has been the escape route of a faceless man named Lawrence Tero. Now, at age 27, everything is starting to fit into place like his spats on a cold winter's promenade.