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Newz Forum: PFL:BOXING: Sugar Ray Robinson SportzNewz Boxing Profile

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posted on Jun, 27 2004 @ 02:27 PM

"Pound for pound, the best." The claim has been used to describe many boxers, but it was invented for Sugar Ray Robinson.

"He hit me with this left hook I never seen, heard or felt. As a matter of fact, when I got up, I said, 'Why is Robinson doing exercises between rounds? Look at him over there jumping up and down.' They said, he just won, they counted to 10," said former middleweight champion Gene Fullmer about Sugar Ray Robinson on ESPN Classic's SportsCentury series.

Never mind the weight class. When it came to boxing, Robinson was as good as it got.

Muhammad Ali called Sugar Ray "the king, the master, my idol."

"Robinson could deliver a knockout blow going backward," boxing historian Bert Sugar said.

Robinson held the world welterweight title from 1946 to 1951, then was the middleweight champion five times between 1951 and 1960. At his peak, his record was 128-1-2 with 84 knockouts. And he never took a 10-count in his 200 fights, though he once suffered a TKO.

His one early loss was to Jake LaMotta, his career-long rival. They fought six times, and Robinson won five.

As recently as 1997, Robinson was renamed the best of all time -- "pound for pound" -- when The Ring magazine chose him the best boxer in its 75 years of publication.

But Robinson's legacy was not made on boxing alone. He was one of the first African-American athletes to become a major star outside of sports. With his flashy pink Cadillac convertible and his Harlem nightclub, Sugar Ray was as much a part of the New York scene in the forties and fifties as the Copa and Sinatra.

He was the pioneer of boxing's bigger-than-life entourages, including a secretary, barber, masseur, voice coach, a coterie of trainers, beautiful women, a dwarf mascot and lifelong manager George Gainford.

After making an estimated $4 million in the ring, Robinson spent himself into destitution by the mid-sixties. Then he reinvented himself by getting into show business -- acting and even singing. But he would always be remembered for the music he made in the ring.

"He boxed as though he were playing the violin," sportswriter Barney Nagler observed.

Robinson literally made his name boxing. Born Walker Smith Jr. in Detroit, Mich. on May 3, 1921 (some say it was earlier), he moved with his parents to New York. Boxing in a Harlem gym, he borrowed the Amateur Athletic Union boxing card of a friend named Ray Robinson.

An early look at the future champ prompted Gainford to say he was "sweet as sugar." So Walker Smith Jr. was no longer. In 1939, Sugar Ray Robinson was born.

Shortly after winning the New York Golden Gloves, Robinson turned pro at age 19.

Aside from a hitch in the Army, Robinson's World War II life was marked by the beginning of his rivalry with LaMotta. It started with his brutal, 10-round victory in New York. LaMotta, a middleweight, won their first rematch in Detroit, Robinson's first defeat in 41 pro fights. Then Robinson, a welterweight, avenged the loss three weeks later, also in Detroit.

Robinson won two more decisions over LaMotta in 1945. "I fought Sugar Ray so often, I almost got diabetes," LaMotta later said.

Just before Christmas 1946, Robinson won the vacant welterweight championship with a unanimous 15-round decision over Tommy Bell.

An eighth-round TKO of Jimmy Doyle in 1947 proved to be a tragic title defense for Robinson. Doyle suffered brain injuries that eventually cost him his life. When the coroner asked if he figured to get Doyle "in trouble," Robinson said, "Mister, it's my business to get him in trouble."

Robinson continued to dominate his welterweight championship fights, including winning a unanimous decision over future champ Kid Gavilan on July 11, 1949. Then he moved up and won the vacant Pennsylvania middleweight title in 1950 with a unanimous decision over France's Robert Villemain.

Still, there was that enduring memory of the only man who ever beat him. After more than five years, Robinson was reunited with LaMotta at Chicago Stadium on Feb. 14, 1951.

Through seven rounds, the fight was competitive. Then the champ took command in the bloody "St. Valentine's Day Massacre." The raging Robinson ripped into the raging bull and it was a weary LaMotta who came out for the 12th round, hanging onto the ropes, Robinson's trunks, anything he could find to avoid being knocked down for the first time in his career.

Somehow, LaMotta answered the bell for the 13th, but a barrage of unanswered punches from Robinson led the referee to stop the bloodbath.

That spring, Robinson and his enterouge traveled to Europe, where he went through six opponents in as many weeks. But his streak of 91 fights without a defeat (88-0-2 with one no contest) ended when Randy Turpin scored a stunning upset, taking the title on a 15-round decision in London on July 10, 1951.

Sugar Ray came home and, two months later in New York, he regained the championship from Turpin before 61,370 fans at the Polo Grounds, winning on a 10th-round TKO.

Robinson went after the light-heavyweight championship, fighting Joey Maxim on June 25, 1952. It was 103 degrees at Yankee Stadium, and Robinson wilted under the Maxim-um pressure and the New York heat, failing to answer the bell for the 14th round. Robinson had been ahead on all three officials' cards.

Six months later, he announced his retirement.

Business interests and a tap-dancing career occupied the two years before Robinson returned to the ring in 1955. He regained the middleweight championship with his third victory over Carl "Bobo" Olson, a second-round KO on Dec. 9, 1955.

Not done spawning rivalries, Robinson lost his title on Jan. 2, 1957 to Gene Fullmer. Robinson suffered a bad cut alongside his right eye in the 14th round and dropped a unanimous decision.

But he won back the title four months later in his first of three rematch victories over Fullmer. He did it with a quick left hook in the fifth round, the first time Fullmer was ever knocked out.

Robinson resumed the pattern later that year, this time with 5-foot-6 Carmen Basilio, who was five inches shorter than Robinson. Sugar Ray cut open Basilio's eye and nose to gain an early advantage before Basilio, the welterweight champion, came back to win a split decision in a furious fight.

Afterward, Basilio may have spoken for the many opponents who hated Robinson and all his swagger. Saying Robinson would not admit to how hard he punched, Basilio said, "Robinson wouldn't tell the truth to God."

More than bad blood would flow six months later in their rematch. In spite of a virus and his 36 years, Robinson pounded Basilio, closing his left eye, and won a split decision to gain the middleweight championship for the fifth -- and final -- time.

Robinson didn't have a title fight for almost two years, and when he did, he relinquished his belt for the last time. Paul Pender took a 15-round split decision from him on Jan. 22, 1960. When Gainford complained about the verdict, Robinson said, "No beefs, George. Sometimes we got the best of it in the past."

By 1965, an over-the-hill Robinson was broke and forced to fight five times in 36 days for as little as $1,100 a night. Soon after losing a 10-round decision to Joey Archer, the 44-year-old Robinson announced his retirement -- this time for good. He finished with a record of 175-19-6 with two no-decisions, according to The Ring.

In his later years, Robinson resumed a show-business career that enabled him to rally his finances. He moved to Southern California with his third wife, Millie. By 1986, he made one of his last public appearances as the best man at a wedding. The groom: Jake LaMotta.

Robinson, suffering from Alzheimer's disease and diabetes, died at age 67 on April 12, 1989, in Culver City, Calif.

Sugar Ray Leonard, who took Robinson's name, said, "Someone once said there was a comparison between Sugar Ray Leonard and Sugar Ray Robinson. Believe me, there's no comparison. Sugar Ray Robinson was the greatest."

Sugar Ray Robinson Record 173-19-6, 109 KO's, 2 NC - Cyber Boxing Zone

Oct 4 Joe Echeverria New York KO 2
Oct 8 Silent Stafford Savannah, GA KO 2
Oct 22 Mistos Grispos New York W 6
Nov 11 Bobby Wood Philadelphia KO 1
Dec 9 Norment Quarles Philadelphia KO 4
Dec 12 Oliver White New York KO 3

Jan 4 Harry LaBarba Brooklyn KO 1
Jan 13 Frankie Wallace Philadelphia KO 1
Jan 31 George Zengaras New York W 6
Feb 8 Benny Cartegena Brooklyn KO 1
Feb 21 Bobby McIntire New York W 6
Feb 27 Gene Spencer Detroit KO 5
Mar 3 Jimmy Tygh Philadelphia KO 8
Apr 14 Jimmy Tygh Philadelphia KO 1
Apr 24 Charley Burns Atlantic City KO 1
Apr 30 Joe Ghnouly Washington DC KO 3
May 10 Vic Troise Brooklyn KO 1
May 19 Nick Castiglione Philadelphia KO 1
Jun 16 Mike Evans Philadelphia KO 2
Jul 2 Pete Lello New York KO 4
Jul 21 Sammy Angott Philadelphia W 10
Aug 27 Carl Red Guggino Long Island City, NY KO 3
Aug 29 Maurice Arnault Atlantic City KO 1
Sep 19 Maxie Shapiro New York KO 3
Sep 25 Marty Servo Philadelphia W 10
Oct 31 Fritzie Zivic New York W 10

Jan 16 Fritzie Zivic New York KO 10
Feb 20 Maxie Berger New York KO 2
Mar 20 Norman Rubio New York KO 8
Apr 17 Harvey Dubs Detroit KO 6
Apr 30 Dick Banner Minneapolis KO 2
May 28 Marty Servo New York W 10
Jul 31 Sammy Angott New York W 10
Aug 21 Ruben Shank New York KO 2
Aug 27 Tony Motisi Chicago KO 1
Oct 2 Jake LaMotta New York W 10
Oct 19 Izzy Jannazzo Philadelphia W 10
Nov 6 Vic Dellicurti New York W 10
Dec 1 Izzy Jannazzo Cleveland KO 8
Dec 14 Al Nettlow Philadelphia KO 3

Feb 5 Jake LaMotta Detroit L 10
Feb 19 Jackie Wilson New York W 10
Feb 26 Jake LaMotta Detroit W 10
Apr 30 Freddie Cabral Boston KO 1
Jul 1 Ralph Zannelli Boston W 10
Aug 27 Henry Armstrong New York W 10

Oct 13 Izzy Jannazzo Boston KO 2
Oct 27 Sgt. Lou Woods Chicago KO 9
Nov 17 Vic Dellicurti Detroit W 10
Dec 12 Richard "Sheik" Rangel Philadelphia KO 2
Dec 22 George Martin Boston KO 7

Jan 10 Billy Furrone Washington DC KO 2
Jan 16 Tommy Bell Cleveland W 10
Feb 14 George Costner Chicago KO 1
Feb 26 Jake LaMotta New York W 10
May 14 Jose Basora Philadelphia D 10
Jun 15 Jimmy McDaniels New York KO 2
Sep 18 Jimmy Mandell Buffalo KO 5
Sep 26 Jake LaMotta Chicago W 12
Dec 4 Vic Dellicurti Boston W 10

Jan 14 Dave Clark Pittsburgh KO 2
Feb 5 Tony Riccio Elizabeth, NJ KO 4
Feb 15 O'Neill Bell Detroit KO 2
Feb 26 Cliff Beckett St. Louis KO 4
Mar 4 Sammy Angott Pittsburgh W 10
Mar 14 Izzy Jannazzo Baltimore W 10
Mar 21 Freddy Flores New York KO 5
Jun 12 Freddy Wilson Worcester, MA KO 2
Jun 25 Norman Rubio Union City, NJ W 10
Jul 12 Joe Curcio New York KO 2
Aug 15 Vinnie Vines Albany, NY KO 6
Sep 25 Sidney Miller Elizabeth, NJ KO 3
Oct 7 Ossie Harris Pittsburgh W 10
Nov 1 Cecil Hudson Detroit KO 6
Nov 6 Artie Levine Cleveland KO 10
Dec 20 Tommy Bell New York W 15
(Wins Vacant World Welterweight Title)

Mar 27 Bernie Miller Miami KO 3
Apr 3 Fred Wilson Akron, OH KO 3
Apr 8 Eddie Finazzo Kansas City KO 4
May 16 Georgie Abrams New York W 10
Jun 24 Jimmy Doyle Cleveland TKO 9
(Retains World Welterweight Title)
Aug 21 Sammy Secreet Akron, OH KO 1
Aug 29 Flashy Sebastian New York KO 1
Oct 28 Jackie Wilson Los Angeles KO 7
Dec 10 Billy Nixon Elizabeth, NJ KO 6
Dec 19 Chuck Taylor Detroit KO 6
(Retains World Welterweight Title)

Mar 4 Ossie Harris Toledo, OH W 10
Mar 16 Henry Brimm Buffalo, NY W 10
Jun 28 Bernard Docusen Chicago W 15
(Retains World Welterweight Title)
Sep 23 Kid Gavilan New York W 10
Nov 15 Bobby Lee Philadelphia W 10

Feb 10 Gene Buffalo Wilkes-Barre, PA KO 1
Feb 15 Henry Brimm Buffalo, NY D 10
Mar 25 Bobby Lee Chicago W 10
Apr 11 Don Lee Omaha, NE W 10
Apr 20 Earl Turner Oakland KO 8
May 16 Al Tribuani Wilmington, DE Exh 4
Jun 7 Freddie Flores New Bedford, CT KO 3
Jun 20 Cecil Hudson Providence KO 5
Jul 11 Kid Gavilan Philadelphia W 15
(Retains World Welterweight Title)
Aug 24 Steve Belloise New York KO 7
Sep 2 Al Mobley Chicago Exh 4
Sep 9 Benny Evans Omaha, NE KO 5
Sep 12 Charley Dotson Houston KO 3
Nov 9 Don Lee Denver W 10
Nov 13 Vern Lester New Orleans KO 5
Nov 15 Gene Burton Shreveport, LA Exh 6
Nov 16 Gene Burton Dallas Exh 6

Jan 30 George LaRover New Haven, CT KO 4
Feb 13 Al Mobley Miami KO 6
Feb 22 Aaron Wade Savannah, GA KO 3
Feb 27 Jean Walzack St. Louis W 10
Mar 22 George Costner Philadelphia KO 1
Apr 21 Cliff Beckett Columbus, OH KO 3
Apr 28 Ray Barnes Detroit W 10
Jun 5 Robert Villemain Philadelphia W 15
(Wins Pennsylvania Middleweight Title)
Aug 9 Charley Fusari Jersey City, NJ W 15
(Retains World Welterweight Title)
Aug 25 Jose Basora Scranton, PA KO 1
(Retains Pennsylvania Middleweight Title)
Sep 4 Billy Brown New York W 10
Oct 16 Joe Rindone Boston KO 6
Oct 26 Carl "Bobo" Olson Philadelphia KO 12
(Retains Pennsylvania Middleweight Title)
Nov 8 Bobby Dykes Chicago W 10
Nov 27 Jean Stock Paris KO 2
Dec 9 Luc Van Dam Brussels, Belgium KO 4
Dec 16 Jean Walzack Geneva, Switzerland W 10
Dec 22 Robert Villemain Paris KO 9
Dec 25 Hans Stretz Frankfurt KO 5

Feb 14 Jake LaMotta Chicago KO 13
(Wins World Middleweight Title)
(Vacates World Welterweight Title)
Apr 5 Holly Mims Miami W 10
Apr 9 Don Ellis Oklahoma City KO 1
May 21 Kid Marcel Paris KO 5
May 26 Jean Wanes Zurich, Switzerland W 10
Jun 10 Jan deBruin Antwerp, Belgium KO 8
Jun 16 Jean Walzack Liege, Luxembourg KO 6
Jun 24 Gerhard Hecht Berlin NC 2

Robinson disqualified by referee for a kidney punch. Commision later purportedly changed it to a No-Contest

Jul 1 Cyrille Delannoit Turin, Italy KO 3
Jul 10 Randy Turpin London L 15
(Loses World Middleweight Title)
Sep 12 Randy Turpin New York KO 10
(Regains World Middleweight Title)

Mar 13 Carl "Bobo" Olson San Francisco W 15
(Retains World Middleweight Title)
Apr 16 Rocky Graziano Chicago KO 3
(Retains World Middleweight Title)
Jun 25 Joey Maxim New York KO by 14
(For World Light Heavyweight Title)
Dec 18 Announces Retirement

Did not fight

Oct 20 Announces Comeback
Nov 29 Gene Burton Hamilton, Ont. Exh 6

Jan 5 Joe Rindone Detroit KO 6
Jan 19 Ralph "Tiger" Jones Chicago L 10
Mar 29 Johnny Lombardo Cincinnati W 10
Apr 14 Ted Olla Milwaukee KO 3
May 4 Garth Panter Detroit W 10
Jul 22 Rocky Castellani San Francisco W 10
Dec 9 Carl "Bobo" Olson Chicago KO 2
(Regains World Middleweight Title)

May 18 Carl "Bobo" Olson Los Angeles KO 4
(Retains World Middleweight Title)
Nov 10 Bob Provizzi New Haven, CT W 10

Jan 2 Gene Fullmer New York L 15
(Loses World Middleweight Title)
May 1 Gene Fullmer Chicago KO 5
(Regains World Middleweight Title)
Sep 10 Otis Woodard Philadelphia Exh 2
Sep 10 Cosby Linson Philadelphia Exh 2
Sep 23 Carmen Basilio New York L 15
(Loses World Middleweight Title)

Mar 25 Carmen Basilio Chicago W 15
(Regains World Middleweight Title)

Dec 14 Bob Young Boston KO 2

Jan 22 Paul Pender Boston L 15
(Lose World Middleweight Title)
Apr 2 Tony Baldoni Baltimore KO 1
Jun 10 Paul Pender Boston L 15
(For World Middleweight Title)
Dec 3 Gene Fullmer Los Angeles D 15
(For NBA Middleweight Title)

Mar 4 Gene Fullmer Las Vegas L 15
(For NBA Middleweight Title)
Sep 25 Wilf Greaves Detroit W 10
Oct 21 Denny Moyer New York W 10
Nov 20 Al Hauser Providence KO 6
Dec 8 Wilf Greaves Pittsburgh KO 8

Feb 17 Denny Moyer New York L 10
Apr 27 Bobby Lee Port of Spain, Trinidad KO 2
Jul 9 Phil Moyer Los Angeles L 10
Sep 25 Terry Downes London L 10
Oct 17 Diego Infantes Vienna KO 2
Nov 10 Georges Estahoff Lyons, France KO 6

Jan 30 Ralph Dupas Miami Beach W 10
Feb 25 Bernie Reynolds Santo Domingo, D.R. KO 4
Mar 11 Billy Thornton Lewiston, ME KO 3
May 5 Maurice Rolbnet Sherbrooke KO 3
Jun 24 Joey Giardello Philadelphia L 10
Oct 14 Armand Vanucci Paris W 10
Nov 9 Fabio Bettini Lyons, France D 10
Nov 16 Emile Sarens Brussels, Belgium KO 8
Nov 29 Andre Davier Grenoble, France W 10
Dec 9 Armand Vanucci Paris W 10

May 19 Gaylord Barnes Portland, ME W 10
Jul 8 Clarence Riley Pittsfield, MA KO 6
Jul 27 Art Hernandez Omaha, NE D 10
Sep 3 Mick Leahy Paisley, Scotland L 10
Sep 28 Yolande Leveque Paris W 10
Oct 12 Johnny Angel London KO 6
Oct 24 Jackie Caillau Nice, France W 10
Nov 7 Baptiste Rolland Calen, France W 10
Nov 14 Jean Beltritti Marseilles, France W 10
Nov 27 Fabio Beltini Rome D 10

Mar 6 Jimmy Beecham Kingston, Jamaica KO 2
Apr 4 Ray Basting Savannah, GA KO 1
Apr 28 Rocky Randall Norfolk, VA KO 3
May 24 Memo Ayon Tijuana L 10
Jun 1 Stan Harrington Honolulu L 10
Jun 24 Young Joe Walcott Richmond, VA W 10
Jul 12 Fred Hernandez Las Vegas L 10
Jul 27 Young Joe Walcott Richmond, VA W 10
Aug 10 Stan Harrington Honolulu L 10
Sep 15 Bill Henderson Norfolk, VA NC 2
Sep 23 Young Joe Walcott Philadelphia W 10
Oct 1 Peter Schmidt Johnston, PA W 10
Oct 20 Rudolph Bent Steubenville, OH KO 3
Nov 10 Joey Archer Pittsburgh L 10
Dec 10 Announces Retirement

Career Highlights and Titles
NYSAC Welterweight Title
National Boxing Association World Welterweight Title
World Welterweight Title
Pennsylvania State World Middleweight Title
World Middleweight Title (5)

[Edited on 27-6-2004 by Ocelot]

[Edited on 18/7/04 by TRD]

posted on Jun, 27 2004 @ 06:02 PM
Holy crap, he went for 25 years in a sport like boxing! Thats something you never see. It's gotta be the most physically demanding of any sport, I couldn't imagine that.


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