Sugar Ray Robinson Sugar Ray Robinson ] Statistics Real name Walker Smith Jr. Nickname Sugar Weight Middleweight Nationality American Birth date May 3, 1921 Birth place Ailey, Georgia Death date April 12, 1989 Death place Culver City, California Style Orthodox Boxing record Total fights 200 Wins 173 Wins by KO 108 Losses 19 Draws 6 No contests 2 Sugar Ray Robinson, born Walker Smith Jr., (May 3, 1921 - April 12, 1989) is recognized as one of the greatest boxers of all time. He is frequently listed at number one on the list of top boxers by boxing aficionados.
Robinson was born in Ailey, Georgia and grew up in Detroit and in Harlem.
A holder of many boxing records, Robinson was the first boxer in history to win a divisional world championship five times, a feat he accomplished by defeating Carmen Basilio in 1958 to regain the world middleweight title he had lost to Basilio the previous year. Robinson also held the world welterweight title from 1946 to 1951.
Many boxing fans and critics regard Robinson as pound for pound the best boxer of all time. Muhammad Ali, who repeatedly called himself "The Greatest," has said without hesitation that, while he considers himself the greatest Heavyweight, Robinson was the greatest fighter of all time.
Robinson made his debut in 1940, knocking out Joe Echevarria in 2 rounds. He built a record of 40 wins and 0 losses before facing Jake LaMotta in a 10-round bout. This was the second of six fights between these opponents, and LaMotta dropped Robinson, eventually beating him by decision. Robinson had won their first bout and would go on to win the next four. Between his debut fight and the second LaMotta bout, Robinson had also beaten former world champions Sammy Angott, Fritzie Zivic and Marty Servo. The only blemish on his record was a ten-round draw with Jose Basora in 1945. On December 20, 1946, he and Tommy Bell were matched in New York City for the vacant world welterweight title. Robinson became a world champion by beating Bell by a 15-round decision.
In 1947, Robinson defended his title for the first time by knocking out Jimmy Doyle in the eighth round. Before the fight, Robinson dreamed that he was going to kill Doyle in the ring. As a result, he decided to pull out of the fight. A priest talked to Robinson and convinced him to go ahead. Unfortunately, just as Robinson had dreamed, Doyle died from the injuries sustained in the fight.
In 1948, Robinson fought five times, but only one was a title defence. Amongst the fighters he defeated in non-title bout was future world champion, Cuba's Kid Gavilan. In 1949, he boxed 16 times, again only defending the title once. In a rematch with Gavilan, the challenger was again beaten on points. The only boxer to match Robinson that year was Henry Brimm, who fought him to a 10-round draw in Buffalo.
1950 brought 19 fights to the great champion. He defended the welterweight title against Charley Fusari and beat Robert Villemain to win the world middleweight title. In defence of that crown he defeated Jose Basora and Carl Olson, a title holder at that weight whom Robinson would meet and beat four times. Robinson's 50-second knock-out of Basora in the rematch set a record that would stand for 38 years.
On February 14, 1951, Robinson and LaMotta met for the sixth time. In a fight that would become known as The St. Valentine's Day Massacre, Robinson won the undisputed world middleweight title with a 13th round technical knockout. After that, he embarked on his first European tour, which would take him all over the Continent. During his fight in Berlin against Gerhard Hecht he was disqualified after hitting his opponent on the kidneys, but the fight was later declared a no-contest. In London, he sensationally lost the world Middleweight title to Randy Turpin. Three months later, in New York, he knocked Turpin out in ten rounds to recover the title
1952 brought another bout with Olson, and another knock-out, followed by a third-round knock-out of Rocky Graziano, the former champion. Later that year he challenged world lightheavyweight champion Joey Maxim at Yankee Stadium. Robinson built a large lead but the 140-degree temperature inside the ring took its toll on the fast-moving Robinson. At the end of round 13 the challenger collapsed and failed to answer the bell for the next round, thereby suffering the only knock-out of his career.
After that bout Robinson retired with a record of 131-3-1-1. However, in 1955 he returned to the ring, winning five fights and losing one, before challenging Olson for the world middleweight title. Robinson won the title for the third time with a two-round knock-out. He repeated the dose a year later. In 1957 he lost his grip on the crown against Gene Fullmer but won it back for a fourth time by knocking-out Fullmer in five rounds in the rematch. Boxing critics have referred to the punch with which Robinson knocked out Fullmer, a left-hook to the chin, as The Perfect Punch. Still, later that year his precious tilte went west, to Carmen Basilio, although he was to regain it for a record fifth occasion by beating the champion on points in Chicago, Illinois.
Robinson's only bout in 1959 saw him see off Bob Young in Boston over ten rounds; a year later he finally lost his the title for good, this time against Paul Pender. An attempt to regain the crown for an amazing sixth time proved beyond him, Pender taking a points decision. On December 3 of that year he and Fullmer fought a 15-round draw for the NBA middleweight title, which Fullmer retained.
In 1961 Robinson and Fullmer fought for a fourth time, with Fullmer retaining the NBA middleweight title by a unanimous decision in Robinson's last title bout. The rest of the 1960s were spent fighting 10-round contests, including a victory over future world champion Denny Moyer and a loss to former world champion and fellow hall of famer Joey Giardello. Robinson also toured Europe once again. The end came in 1965, after another 14 bouts and a defeat to Joey Archer.
Legend has it that a young aspiring boxer walked into Robinson's restaurant in Harlem and asked for an autograph, which Robinson refused to give. So frustrated was the young man that he swore never to deny anyone an autograph if he ever became a champion. That person was Cassius Clay, later Muhammad Ali.
Robinson suffered from diabetes mellitus and was an insulin user. During a period of his life, he, like fellow boxing legend Joe Louis, had a problem with drug addiction. In Robinson's last years, he suffered from Alzheimer's disease. He died in Los Angeles at the age of 67 and was interred in the Inglewood Park Cemetery, Inglewood, California.
Sugar Ray Robinson retired from the ring with a record of 173-19-6-2 (108 KOs) in 200 professional bouts, ranking him among the most prolific knock-out winners of all time. In 2003 Ring magazine ranked him number eleven in the list of all-time greatest punchers in history. He is a member of the International Boxing Hall Of Fame and is featured on a 2006 United States postage stamp , issued in a ceremony in 7 April 2006 in New York City.