Brief History on Sugar Ray Robinson
Born Walker Smith Jr. Sugar Ray Robinson would become an iconic boxer. The name Ray Robinson, is actually the name of his friend. When he tried to enter a boxing tournament, he was turned down because he was too young. He borrowed an ID card from his friend and was finally able to enter.
Sweet as Sugar
Ray Robinson was the first boxer called Sugar, when during one of his fights, a sports writer said he was "sweet as sugar" in the ring. Ray Robinson was also the boxer the term "Pound for Pound" was based on. After a boxing expert described Robinson as "Pound for Pound the best fighter in the sport". Today the term is used to recognize the best fighter in the sport. Robinson is also credited for pioneering the fight entourage and being a high paid player in the sport. He made sure not to fight, unless he got top dollar. His charisma and fighting style would influence Muhammad Ali
, Sugar Ray Leonard
, Sugar Shane Mosley, and many others. Even his face was once put on a United States postage stamp. After his career, many experts, fans, and even boxing peers describe Sugar Ray Robinson as the best boxer they ever seen. Rival's like Jake LaMotta even admit that he was the best.
Ray Robinson earn a record of 40-0 before losing his first fight to Jake LaMotta. Experts often point out that Robinson was twenty pounds under weight for that fight. After the lost, a rematch was setup in the same month. Ray Robinson would revenge his loss and win every fight against Jake LaMotta since. The most famous fight between the two is the "St. Valentines Day Massacre". In that fight, Robinson completely dominated Jake LaMotta. However, Jake wouldn't go down. Finally in the 13th round, the referee stopped the fight. The so called famous "You never got me down Ray" that Jake said after the fight, never happened. It was just a line used in "Raging Bull", a movie about the tough fighter. Robinson went on to win a long series of fights. His second lost happened when he fought a surprisingly good European fighter named Randy Turpin. Robinson couldn't figure the opponents style and lost because of it. In a rematch, it seemed like the same thing was happening. Robinson was having trouble dealing with Turpin's style. After Randy gave Robinson a bad cut, the legendary fighter decided to let his hands go. No longer caring about mastering Turpin's style, Robinson completely turned the fight around stopping Turpin. Robinson moved up to light Heavyweight and fought for the title. In his fight against Joey Maxin, the legendary fight was dominating. However, Maxin wasn't Robinson's problem that night, the weather was. It's reported that it was so hot, one Referee fainted and another had to be replaced. Robinson himself couldn't hold up and passed out from heat exhaustion. After the fight, Robinson retired with a record of 131-3-1-1. He used his popularity for television and theater.
Because of financial troubles with the government, Sugar Ray Robinson was forced to come out of retirement. He had a series of wins and losses. His most famous fights were against Gene Fullmer, Carman Basillio, and Rocky Castellani. By 1965 Sugar Ray Robinson was way over the hill and had nothing left. After he lost to Joey Archer, he retired from boxing for good. His final record 175-19-6-110.
Not Everything was Sweet
Despite his success as a fighter, Sugar Ray Robinson was a poor man. During his reign as champion, Ray Robinson opened many businesses in Harlem, however, he didn't take proper care of them. As a result, the government shut his businesses down, and took away all 4 million dollars which he earned prize fighting. It would also come to light that Robinson wasn't a very nice guy, especially when it came to his own family. Sugar Ray Robinson frequently cheated on, and beat his second wife who he stayed the longest with. He even had a whole harem dedicated to himself. Ray Robinson was also a deadbeat father that never spent any time with his children. Ironically, it was his wife who created the nice guy image that got him crossover appeal with white boxing fans.
Years of punishment in the ring would take it's toll on Robinson in his elder years. He lost half the ability to control his own body. He also became very forgetful often times forgetting the very people around him. Treatment from the doctor reviled he had serious case of diabetes with mellitus. Later his health got worst as he suffered Alzheimer's disease causing his laps in memory. Sugar Ray Robinson died at the age of 67. He was laid to rest in Inglewood Cemetery in Inglewood California.
Sugar Ray Robinson in Video Games
Like most beloved legendary boxers, Sugar Ray Robinson is included a every officially licensed boxing game.