Sugar Ray Robinson

Sugar Ray Robinson (born Walker Smith Jr.; May 3, 1921 – April 12, 1989) was an American professional boxer who competed from 1940 to 1965. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990.[1] He is widely regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time, if not the greatest pound-for-pound boxer to ever enter a ring[2].

Sugar Ray Robinson
Sugar Ray Robinson 1966.jpg
Robinson in 1966
Statistics
Real nameWalker Smith Jr.
Weight(s)
Height5 ft 11 in (180 cm)
Reach72 12 in (184 cm)
Born(1921-05-03)3 May 1921
Ailey, Georgia, U.S.
DiedApril 12, 1989(1989-04-12) (aged 67)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
StanceOrthodox
Boxing record
Total fights200
Wins173
Wins by KO109
Losses19
Draws6
No contests2

Robinson was a dominant amateur, but his exact amateur record is not known. It is usually listed as 85–0 with 69 knockouts, 40 in the first round. However it has been reported he lost to Billy Graham and Patsy Pesca as a teenager under his given name, Walker Smith Jr. He turned professional in 1940 at the age of 19 and by 1951 had a professional record of 128–1–2 with 84 knockouts. From 1943 to 1951 Robinson went on a 91-fight unbeaten streak, the third-longest in professional boxing history.[3][4] Robinson held the world welterweight title from 1946 to 1951, and won the world middleweight title in the latter year. He retired in 1952, only to come back two-and-a-half years later and regain the middleweight title in 1955. He then became 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 middleweight championship). Robinson was named "fighter of the year" twice: first for his performances in 1942, then nine years and over 90 fights later, for his efforts in 1951. Historian Bert Sugar ranked Robinson as the greatest fighter of all time and in 2002, Robinson was also ranked number one on The Ring magazine's list of "80 Best Fighters of the Last 80 Years".[5] As of October 2020, BoxRec ranks Robinson as the fourth greatest pound-for-pound boxer of all time.[6]

Renowned for his classy and flamboyant lifestyle outside the ring,[7] Robinson is credited with being the originator of the modern sports "entourage". After his boxing career ended, Robinson attempted a career as an entertainer, but it was not successful. He struggled financially until his death in 1989. In 2006, he was featured on a commemorative stamp by the United States Postal Service.[8]

Early lifeEdit

Robinson was born Walker Smith Jr. in Ailey, Georgia, to Walker Smith Sr. and Leila Hurst.[9] Robinson was the youngest of three children; his eldest sister Marie was born in 1917, and his other sister Evelyn in 1919. His father was a cotton, peanut, and corn farmer in Georgia, who moved the family to Detroit where he initially found work in construction.[9] According to Robinson, Smith Sr. later worked two jobs to support his family—cement mixer and sewer worker. "He had to get up at six in the morning and he'd get home close to midnight. Six days a week. The only day I really saw him was Sunday...I always wanted to be with him more."[10]

His parents separated, and he moved with his mother to the New York City neighborhood of Harlem at the age of twelve. Robinson originally aspired to be a doctor, but after dropping out of DeWitt Clinton High School (in the Bronx) in ninth grade he switched his goal to boxing.[11] When he was 15, he attempted to enter his first boxing tournament but was told he needed to first obtain an AAU membership card. However, he could not procure one until he was eighteen years old. He received his name when he circumvented the AAU's age restriction by borrowing a birth certificate from his friend Ray Robinson.[12] Subsequently told that he was "sweet as sugar" by a lady in the audience at a fight in Watertown, New York, Smith Jr. became known as "Sugar" Ray Robinson.[13][14]

Robinson idolized Henry Armstrong and Joe Louis as a youth, and actually lived on the same block as Louis in Detroit when Robinson was 11 and Louis was 17.[13] Outside the ring, Robinson got into trouble frequently as a youth, and was involved with a street gang.[13] He married at 16. The couple had one son, Ronnie, and divorced when Robinson was 19.[13] He reportedly finished his amateur career with an 85–0 record with 69 knockouts – 40 coming in the first round, though this has been disputed.[15] He won the Golden Gloves featherweight championship in 1939, and the organization's lightweight championship in 1940.[12]

Boxing careerEdit

Early careerEdit

Robinson made his professional debut on October 4, 1940, winning by a second-round stoppage over Joe Echevarria. Robinson fought five more times in 1940, winning each time, with four wins coming by way of knockout. In 1941, he defeated world champion Sammy Angott, future champion Marty Servo and former champion Fritzie Zivic. The Robinson-Angott fight was held above the lightweight limit, since Angott did not want to risk losing his lightweight title. Robinson defeated Zivic in front of 20,551 at Madison Square Garden—one of the largest crowds in the arena to that date.[16] Robinson won the first five rounds, according to Joseph C. Nichols of The New York Times, before Zivic came back to land several punches to Robinson's head in the sixth and seventh rounds.[16] Robinson controlled the next two rounds, and had Zivic in the ninth. After a close tenth round, Robinson was announced as the winner on all three scorecards.[16]

In 1942 Robinson knocked out Zivic in the tenth round in a January rematch. The knockout loss was only the second of Zivic's career in more than 150 fights.[17] Robinson knocked him down in the ninth and tenth rounds before the referee stopped the fight. Zivic and his corner protested the stoppage; James P. Dawson of The New York Times stated "[t]hey were criticizing a humane act. The battle had been a slaughter, for want of a more delicate word."[17] Robinson then won four consecutive bouts by knockout, before defeating Servo in a controversial split decision in their May rematch. After winning three more fights, Robinson faced Jake LaMotta, who would become one of his more prominent rivals, for the first time in October. He defeated LaMotta by a unanimous decision, although he failed to get Jake down. Robinson weighed 145 lb (66 kg) compared to 157.5 for LaMotta, but he was able to control the fight from the outside for the entire bout, and actually landed the harder punches during the fight.[18] Robinson then won four more fights, including two against Izzy Jannazzo, from October 19 to December 14. For his performances, Robinson was named "Fighter of the Year". He finished 1942 with a total of 14 wins and no losses.

Robinson built a record of 40–0 before losing for the first time to LaMotta in a 10-round re-match.[19] LaMotta, who had a 16 lb (7.3 kg) weight advantage over Robinson, knocked Robinson out of the ring in the eighth round, and won the fight by decision. The fight took place in Robinson's former home town of Detroit, and attracted a record crowd.[19] After being controlled by Robinson in the early portions of the fight, LaMotta came back to take control in the later rounds.[19] After winning the third LaMotta fight less than three weeks later, Robinson then defeated his childhood idol: former champion Henry Armstrong. Robinson fought Armstrong only because the older man was in need of money. By now Armstrong was an old fighter, and Robinson later stated that he carried the former champion.

On February 27, 1943, Robinson was inducted into the United States Army, where he was again referred to as Walker Smith.[20] Robinson had a 15-month military career. Robinson served with Joe Louis, and the pair went on tours where they performed exhibition bouts in front of US Army troops. Robinson got into trouble several times while in the military. He argued with superiors who he felt were discriminatory against him, and refused to fight exhibitions when he was told African American soldiers were not allowed to watch them.[13][21] In late March 1944, Robinson was stationed at Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn, waiting to ship out to Europe, where he was scheduled to perform more exhibition matches. But on March 29, Robinson disappeared from his barracks. When he woke up on April 5 in Fort Jay Hospital on Governor's Island, he had missed his sailing for Europe and was under suspicion of deserting. He himself reported falling down the stairs in his barracks on the 29th, but said that he had complete amnesia, and he could not remember any events from that moment until the 5th. According to his file, a stranger had found him in the street on April 1 and helped him to a hospital. In his examination report, a doctor at Fort Jay concluded that Robinson's version of events was sincere.[22] He was examined by military authorities, who claimed he suffered from a mental deficiency.[23] Robinson was granted an honorable discharge on June 3, 1944. He later wrote that unfair press coverage of the incident had "branded" him as a "deserter".[24] Robinson maintained his close friendship with Louis from their time in military service, and the two went into business together after the war. They planned to start a liquor distribution business in New York City, but were denied a license due to their race.[25]

Besides the loss in the LaMotta rematch, the only other mark on Robinson's record during this period was a 10-round draw against José Basora in 1945.

Welterweight championEdit

 
Robinson in 1947

By 1946, Robinson had fought 75 fights to a 73–1–1 record, and beaten every top contender in the welterweight division. However, he refused to cooperate with the Mafia, which controlled much of boxing at the time, and was denied a chance to fight for the welterweight championship.[26] Robinson was finally given a chance to win a title against Tommy Bell on December 20, 1946. Robinson had already beaten Bell once by decision in 1945. The two fought for the title vacated by Servo, who had himself lost twice to Robinson in non-title bouts. In the fight, Robinson, who only a month before had been involved in a 10-round brawl with Artie Levine, was knocked down by Bell. The fight was called a "war", but Robinson was able to pull out a close 15-round decision, winning the vacant World Welterweight title.[27]

In 1948 Robinson fought five times, but only one bout was a title defense. Among the fighters he defeated in those non-title bouts was future world champion Kid Gavilán in a close, controversial 10-round fight. Gavilán hurt Robinson several times in the fight, but Robinson controlled the final rounds with a series of jabs and left hooks.[28] In 1949, he boxed 16 times, but again only defended his title once. In that title fight, a rematch with Gavilán, Robinson again won by decision. The first half of the bout was very close, but Robinson took control in the second half. Gavilán would have to wait two more years to begin his own historic reign as welterweight champion. The only boxer to match Robinson that year was Henry Brimm, who fought him to a 10-round draw in Buffalo.

Robinson fought 19 times in 1950. He successfully defended his welterweight title for the last time against Charley Fusari. Robinson won a lopsided 15-round decision, knocking Fusari down once. Robinson donated all but $1 of his purse for the Fusari fight to cancer research.[29] In 1950 Robinson fought George Costner, who had also taken to calling himself "Sugar" and stated in the weeks leading up to the fight that he was the rightful possessor of the name. "We better touch gloves, because this is the only round", Robinson said as the fighters were introduced at the center of the ring. "Your name ain't Sugar, mine is."[30] Robinson then knocked Costner out in 2 minutes and 49 seconds.

Jimmy Doyle incidentEdit

In June 1947, after four non-title bouts, Robinson was scheduled to defend his title for the first time in a bout against Jimmy Doyle. Robinson initially backed out of the fight because he had a dream that he was going to kill Doyle. A priest and a minister convinced him to fight. His dream was proven to be true.[31][32] On June 25, 1947 Robinson dominated Doyle and scored a decisive knockout in the eighth round that knocked Doyle unconscious and resulted in Doyle's death later that night.[33] Robinson said that the impact of Doyle's death was "very trying".[A]

After his death, criminal charges were threatened against Robinson in Cleveland, up to and including murder, though none actually materialized. After learning of Doyle's intentions of using the bout's money to buy his mother a house, Robinson gave Doyle's mother the money from his next four bouts so she could purchase herself a home, fulfilling her son's intention.[34][35]

Middleweight championEdit

It is stated in his autobiography that one of the main considerations for his move up to middleweight was the increasing difficulty he was having in making the 147 lb (67 kg) welterweight weight limit.[36] However, the move up would also prove beneficial financially, as the division then contained some of the biggest names in boxing. Vying for the Pennsylvania state middleweight title in 1950, Robinson defeated Robert Villemain. Later that year, in defense of that crown, he defeated Jose Basora, with whom he had previously drawn. Robinson's 50-second, first-round knockout of Basora set a record that would stand for 38 years. In October 1950, Robinson knocked out Bobo Olson a future middleweight title holder.

On February 14, 1951, Robinson and LaMotta met for the sixth time. The fight would become known as The St. Valentine's Day Massacre. Robinson won the undisputed World Middleweight title with a 13th round technical knockout.[37] Robinson outboxed LaMotta for the first 10 rounds, then unleashed a series of savage combinations on LaMotta for three rounds,[13] finally stopping the champion for the first time in their legendary six-bout series—and dealing LaMotta his first legitimate knockout loss in 95 professional bouts.[38] LaMotta had lost by knockout to Billy Fox earlier in his career. However, that fight was later ruled to have been fixed and LaMotta was sanctioned for letting Fox win. That bout, and some of the other bouts in the six-fight Robinson-LaMotta rivalry, was depicted in the Martin Scorsese film Raging Bull. "I fought Sugar Ray so often, I almost got diabetes", LaMotta later said.[14] Robinson won five of his six bouts with LaMotta.

After winning his second world title, he embarked on a European tour which took him all over the Continent. Robinson traveled with his flamingo-pink Cadillac, which caused quite a stir in Paris,[39] and an entourage of 13 people, some included "just for laughs".[40] He was a hero in France due to his recent defeat of LaMotta—the French hated LaMotta for defeating Marcel Cerdan in 1949 and taking his championship belt (Cerdan died in a plane crash en route to a rematch with LaMotta).[13] Robinson met President of France Vincent Auriol at a ceremony attended by France's social upper crust.[41] During his fight in Berlin against Gerhard Hecht, Robinson was disqualified when he knocked his opponent with a punch to the kidney: a punch legal in the US, but not Europe.[33] The fight was later declared a no-contest. In London, Robinson lost the world middleweight title to British boxer Randolph Turpin in a sensational bout.[42] Three months later in a rematch in front of 60,000 fans at the Polo Grounds,[33] he knocked Turpin out in ten rounds to recover the title. In that bout Robinson was leading on the cards but was cut by Turpin. With the fight in jeopardy, Robinson let loose on Turpin, knocking him down, then getting him to the ropes and unleashing a series of punches that caused the referee to stop the bout.[43] Following Robinson's victory, residents of Harlem danced in the streets.[44] In 1951, Robinson was named Ring Magazine's "Fighter of the Year" for the second time.[45]

In 1952 he fought a rematch with Olson, winning by a decision. He next defeated former champion Rocky Graziano by a third-round knockout, then challenged World Light heavyweight champion Joey Maxim.[46] In the Yankee Stadium bout with Maxim, Robinson built a lead on all three judges' scorecards, but the 103 °F (39 °C) temperature in the ring took its toll.[14] The referee, Ruby Goldstein, was the first victim of the heat, and had to be replaced by referee Ray Miller. The fast-moving Robinson was the heat's next victim – at the end of round 13, he collapsed and failed to answer the bell for the next round,[14] suffering the only knockout of his career.

On June 25, 1952, after the Maxim bout, Robinson gave up his title and retired with a record of 131–3–1–1. He began a career in show business, singing and tap dancing. After about three years, the decline of his businesses and the lack of success in his performing career made him decide to return to boxing. He resumed training in 1954.

ComebackEdit

In 1955 Robinson returned to the ring. Although he had been inactive for two and a half years, his work as a dancer kept him in peak physical condition: in his autobiography, Robinson states that in the weeks leading up to his debut for a dancing engagement in France, he ran five miles every morning, and then danced for five hours each night. Robinson even stated that the training he did in his attempts to establish a career as a dancer were harder than any he undertook during his boxing career.[47] He won five fights in 1955, before losing a decision to Ralph 'Tiger' Jones. He bounced back, however, and defeated Rocky Castellani by a split decision, then challenged Bobo Olson for the world middleweight title. He won the middleweight championship for the third time with a second-round knockout—his third victory over Olson. After his comeback performance in 1955, Robinson expected to be named fighter of the year. However, the title went to welterweight Carmen Basilio. Basilio's handlers had lobbied heavily for it on the basis that he had never won the award, and Robinson later described this as the biggest disappointment of his professional career. "I haven't forgotten it to this day, and I never will", Robinson wrote in his autobiography.[48] Robinson and Olson fought for the last time in 1956, and Robinson closed the four fight series with a fourth-round knockout.

In 1957 Robinson lost his title to Gene Fullmer. Fullmer used his aggressive, forward moving style to control Robinson, and knocked him down in the fight.[49] Robinson, however, noticed that Fullmer was vulnerable to the left hook. Fullmer headed into their May rematch as a 3–1 favorite.[50] In the first two rounds Robinson followed Fullmer around the ring, however in the third round he changed tactics and made Fullmer come to him.[50] At the start of the fourth round Robinson came out on the attack and stunned Fullmer, and when Fullmer returned with his own punches, Robinson traded with him, as opposed to clinching as he had done in their earlier fight. The fight was fairly even after four rounds.[50] But in the fifth, Robinson was able to win the title back for a fourth time by knocking out Fullmer with a lightning fast, powerful left hook.[50] Boxing critics have referred to the left-hook which knocked out Fullmer as "the perfect punch".[51] It marked the first time in 44 career fights that Fullmer had been knocked out, and when someone asked Robinson after the fight how far the left hook had travelled, Robinson replied: "I can't say. But he got the message."[50]

Later that year, he lost his title to Basilio in a rugged 15 round fight in front of 38,000 at Yankee Stadium,[52] but regained it for a record fifth time when he beat Basilio in the rematch. Robinson struggled to make weight, and had to go without food for nearly 20 hours leading up to the bout. He badly damaged Basilio's eye early the fight, and by the seventh round it was swollen shut.[53] The two judges gave the fight to Robinson by wide margins: 72–64 and 71–64. The referee scored the fight for Basilio 69–64, and was booed loudly by the crowd of 19,000 when his decision was announced.[53] The first fight won the "Fight of the Year" award from The Ring magazine for 1957 and the second fight won the "Fight of the Year" award for 1958.

DeclineEdit

 
Robinson, Madison Square Garden, 1966
 
Robinson at an ABC TV Jazz Show in 1969

Robinson knocked out Bob Young in the second round in Boston in his only fight in 1959. A year later, he defended his title against Paul Pender. Robinson entered the fight as a 5–1 favorite, but lost a split decision in front of 10,608 at Boston Garden.[54] The day before the fight Pender commented that he planned to start slowly, before coming on late. He did just that and outlasted the aging Robinson, who, despite opening a cut over Pender's eye in the eighth round, was largely ineffective in the later rounds.[54] An attempt to regain the crown for an unheard of sixth time proved beyond Robinson. Despite Robinson's efforts, Pender won by decision in that rematch. On December 3 of that year, Robinson and Fullmer fought a 15-round draw for the WBA middleweight title, which Fullmer retained. In 1961, Robinson and Fullmer fought for a fourth time, with Fullmer retaining the WBA middleweight title by a unanimous decision. The fight would be Robinson's last title bout.

Robinson spent the rest of the 1960s fighting 10-round contests. In October 1961 Robinson defeated future world champion Denny Moyer by a unanimous decision. A 12–5 favorite, the 41-year-old Robinson defeated the 22-year-old Moyer by staying on the outside, rather than engaging him.[55] In their rematch four months later, Moyer defeated Robinson on points, as he pressed the action and made Robinson back up throughout the fight. Moyer won 7–3 on all three judges scorecards.[56] Robinson lost twice more in 1962, before winning six consecutive fights against mostly lesser opposition. In February 1963 Robinson lost by a unanimous decision to former world champion and fellow Hall of Famer Joey Giardello. Giardello knocked Robinson down in the fourth round, and the 43-year-old took until the count of nine to rise to his feet.[57] Robinson was also nearly knocked down in the sixth round, but was saved by the bell. He rallied in the seventh and eight rounds, before struggling in the final two.[57] He then embarked on an 18-month boxing tour of Europe.

Robinson's second no-contest bout came in September 1965 in Norfolk, Virginia in a match with an opponent who turned out to be an impostor. Boxer Neil Morrison, at the time a fugitive and accused robber, signed up for the fight as Bill Henderson, a capable club fighter. The fight was a fiasco, with Morrison being knocked down twice in the first round and once in the second before the disgusted referee, who said "Henderson put up no fight", walked out of the ring. Robinson was initially given a TKO in 1:20 of the second round after the "obviously frightened" Morrison laid himself down on the canvas. Robinson fought for the final time in November 1965. He lost by a unanimous decision to Joey Archer.[58] Famed sports author Pete Hamill mentioned that one of the saddest experiences of his life was watching Robinson lose to Archer. He was even knocked down and Hamill pointed out that Archer had no knockout punch at all; Archer admitted afterward that it was only the second time he had knocked an opponent down in his career. The crowd of 9,023 at the Civic Arena in Pittsburgh gave Robinson several standing ovations, even while he was being thoroughly outperformed by Archer.[58]

On November 11, 1965, Robinson announced his retirement from boxing, saying: "I hate to go too long campaigning for another chance."[59] Robinson retired from boxing with a record of 173–19–6 (2 no contests) with 108 knockouts in 200 professional bouts, ranking him among the all-time leaders in knockouts.

Professional boxing recordEdit

Professional record summary
200 fights 173 wins 19 losses
By knockout 109 1
By decision 64 18
By disqualification 0 0
Draws 6
No contests 2
No. Result Record Opponent Type Round, time Date Location Notes
200 Loss 173–19–6 (2)   Joey Archer UD 10 10 Nov 1965   Civic Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
199 Win 173–18–6 (2)   Rudolph Bent TKO 3 (10), 2:20 20 Oct 1965   Community Arena, Steubenville, Ohio, U.S.
198 Win 172–18–6 (2)   Peter Schmidt UD 10 1 Oct 1965   Cambria County War Memorial Arena, Johnstown, Pennsylvania, U.S.
197 Win 171–18–6 (2)   Harvey McCullough UD 10 23 Sep 1965   Philadelphia Athletic Club, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
196 NC 170–18–6 (2)   Neil Morrison NC 2 (10), 1:20 15 Sep 1965   Norfolk Arena, Norfolk, Virginia, U.S.
195 Loss 170–18–6 (1)   Stan Harrington UD 10 10 Aug 1965   Honolulu International Center, Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.
194 Win 170–17–6 (1)   Harvey McCullough UD 10 27 Jul 1965   Richmond Arena, Richmond, Virginia, U.S.
193 Loss 169–17–6 (1)   Ferd Hernandez SD 10 12 Jul 1965   Hacienda, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
192 Win 169–16–6 (1)   Harvey McCullough UD 10 24 Jun 1965   Washington Coliseum, Washington, D.C., U.S.
191 Loss 168–16–6 (1)   Stan Harrington UD 10 1 Jun 1965   Honolulu International Center, Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.
190 Loss 168–15–6 (1)   Memo Ayón UD 10 24 May 1965   Plaza de Toros El Toreo, Tijuana, Mexico
189 Win 168–14–6 (1)   Rocky Randell KO 3 (10), 0:58 28 Apr 1965   Norfolk Municipal Auditorium, Norfolk, Virginia, U.S.
188 Win 167–14–6 (1)   Earl Bastings KO 1 (10), 2:34 3 Apr 1965   Sports Center, Savannah, Georgia, U.S.
187 Win 166–14–6 (1)   Jimmy Beecham KO 2 (10), 1:48 6 Mar 1965   National Stadium, Kingston, Jamaica
186 Draw 165–14–6 (1)   Fabio Bettini PTS 10 27 Nov 1964   Palazzetto dello Sport, Rome, Italy
185 Win 165–14–5 (1)   Jean Beltritti PTS 10 14 Nov 1964   Palais des Sports de Marseille, Marseille, France
184 Win 164–14–5 (1)   Jean Baptiste Rolland PTS 10 7 Nov 1964   Stade Helitas, Caen, France
183 Win 163–14–5 (1)   Jackie Cailleau PTS 10 24 Oct 1964   Palais des Sports, Nice, France
182 Win 162–14–5 (1)   Johnny Angel TKO 6 (8) 12 Oct 1964   London Hilton, London, England
181 Win 161–14–5 (1)   Yoland Leveque PTS 10 28 Sep 1964   Palais des Sports, Paris, France
180 Loss 160–14–5 (1)   Mick Leahy PTS 10 3 Sep 1964   Paisley Ice Rink, Paisley, Scotland
179 Draw 160–13–5 (1)   Art Hernández MD 10 27 Jul 1964   Omaha City Auditorium, Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.
178 Win 160–13–4 (1)   Clarence Riley TKO 6 (10), 2:40 8 Jul 1964   Wahconah Park, Pittsfield, Massachusetts, U.S.
177 Win 159–13–4 (1)   Gaylord Barnes UD 10 19 May 1964   Portland Exposition Building, Portland, Maine, U.S.
176 Win 158–13–4 (1)   Armand Vanucci PTS 10 9 Dec 1963   Palais des Sports, Paris, France
175 Win 157–13–4 (1)   Andre Davier PTS 10 29 Nov 1963   Palais des Sports, Grenoble, France
174 Win 156–13–4 (1)   Emiel Sarens KO 8 (10) 16 Nov 1963   Palais des Sports, Brussels, Belgium
173 Draw 155–13–4 (1)   Fabio Bettini PTS 10 9 Nov 1963   Palais des Sports de Gerland, Lyon, France
172 Win 155–13–3 (1)   Armand Vanucci PTS 10 14 Oct 1963   Palais des Sports, Paris, France
171 Loss 154–13–3 (1)   Joey Giardello UD 10 24 Jun 1963   Philadelphia Convention Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
170 Win 154–12–3 (1)   Maurice Roblet KO 3 (10) 4 May 1963   Palais des Sports Léopold-Drolet, Quebec, Canada
169 Win 153–12–3 (1)   Billy Thornton KO 3 (10), 0:50 11 Mar 1963   Lewiston Armory, Lewiston, Maine, U.S.
168 Win 152–12–3 (1)   Bernie Reynolds KO 4 (10) 25 Feb 1963   Estadio Quisqueya, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
167 Win 151–12–3 (1)   Ralph Dupas SD 10 30 Jan 1963   Miami Beach Convention Center, Miami Beach, Florida, U.S.
166 Win 150–12–3 (1)   Georges Estatoff TKO 6 (10) 10 Nov 1962   Palais des Sports de Gerland, Lyon, France
165 Win 149–12–3 (1)   Diego Infantes KO 2 (10), 1:15 17 Oct 1962   Wiener Stadthalle, Vienna, Austria
164 Loss 148–12–3 (1)   Terry Downes PTS 10 25 Sep 1962   Empire Pool, London, England
163 Loss 148–11–3 (1)   Phil Moyer SD 10 9 Jul 1962   Los Angeles Sports Arena, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
162 Win 148–10–3 (1)   Bobby Lee KO 2 (10), 2:38 27 Apr 1962   National Stadium, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
161 Loss 147–10–3 (1)   Denny Moyer UD 10 17 Feb 1962   Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
160 Win 147–9–3 (1)   Wilf Greaves KO 8 (10), 0:43 8 Dec 1961   Civic Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
159 Win 146–9–3 (1)   Al Hauser TKO 6 (10), 1:59 20 Nov 1961   Rhode Island Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
158 Win 145–9–3 (1)   Denny Moyer UD 10 21 Oct 1961   Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
157 Win 144–9–3 (1)   Wilf Greaves SD 10 25 Sep 1961   Convention Arena, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
156 Loss 143–9–3 (1)   Gene Fullmer UD 15 4 Mar 1961   Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. For NBA middleweight title
155 Draw 143–8–3 (1)   Gene Fullmer SD 15 3 Dec 1960   Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. For NBA middleweight title
154 Loss 143–8–2 (1)   Paul Pender SD 15 10 Jun 1960   Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. For The Ring, and lineal middleweight titles
153 Win 143–7–2 (1)   Tony Baldoni KO 1 (10), 1:40 2 Apr 1960   Baltimore Coliseum, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
152 Loss 142–7–2 (1)   Paul Pender SD 15 22 Jan 1960   Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. Lost The Ring, and lineal middleweight titles
151 Win 142–6–2 (1)   Bob Young KO 2 (10), 1:18 14 Dec 1959   Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
150 Win 141–6–2 (1)   Carmen Basilio SD 15 25 Mar 1958   Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S. Won The Ring, and lineal middleweight titles
149 Loss 140–6–2 (1)   Carmen Basilio SD 15 23 Sep 1957   Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York, U.S. Lost The Ring, and lineal middleweight titles
148 Win 140–5–2 (1)   Gene Fullmer KO 5 (15), 1:27 1 May 1957   Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S. Won NBA, The Ring, and lineal middleweight titles
147 Loss 139–5–2 (1)   Gene Fullmer UD 15 2 Jan 1957   Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S. Lost The Ring, and lineal middleweight titles;
For NBA middleweight title
146 Win 139–4–2 (1)   Bob Provizzi UD 10 10 Nov 1956   New Haven Arena, New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.
145 Win 138–4–2 (1)   Bobo Olson KO 4 (15), 2:51 18 May 1956   Wrigley Field, Los Angeles, California, U.S. Retained The Ring, and lineal middleweight titles
144 Win 137–4–2 (1)   Bobo Olson KO 2 (15), 2:51 9 Dec 1955   Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S. Won The Ring, and lineal middleweight titles
143 Win 136–4–2 (1)   Rocky Castellani SD 10 22 Jul 1955   Cow Palace, Daly City, California, U.S.
142 Win 135–4–2 (1)   Garth Panter UD 10 4 May 1955   Olympia Stadium, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
141 Win 134–4–2 (1)   Ted Olla TKO 3 (10), 2:15 14 Apr 1955   Milwaukee Arena, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
140 Win 133–4–2 (1)   Johnny Lombardo SD 10 29 Mar 1955   Cincinnati Gardens, Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.
139 Loss 132–4–2 (1)   Ralph Jones UD 10 19 Jan 1955   Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
138 Win 132–3–2 (1)   Joe Rindone KO 6 (10), 1:37 5 Jan 1955   Olympia Stadium, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
137 Loss 131–3–2 (1)   Joey Maxim RTD 13 (15) 25 Jun 1952   Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York, U.S. For The Ring, and lineal light-heavyweight titles
136 Win 131–2–2 (1)   Rocky Graziano KO 3 (15), 1:53 14 Apr 1952   Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S. Retained The Ring, and lineal middleweight titles
135 Win 130–2–2 (1)   Bobo Olson UD 15 13 Mar 1952   San Francisco Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, California, U.S. Retained The Ring, and lineal middleweight titles
134 Win 129–2–2 (1)   Randolph Turpin TKO 10 (15), 2:52 12 Sep 1951   Polo Grounds, New York City, New York, U.S. Won The Ring, and lineal middleweight titles
133 Loss 128–2–2 (1)   Randolph Turpin PTS 15 10 Jul 1951   Earls Court Arena, London, England Lost The Ring, and lineal middleweight titles
132 Win 128–1–2 (1)   Cyrille Delannoit RTD 3 (10) 1 Jul 1951   Palazzo Dello Sport, Turin, Italy
131 NC 127–1–2 (1)   Gerhard Hecht NC 2 (10) 24 Jun 1951   Waldbühne, Berlin, Germany
130 Win 127–1–2   Jean Walzack TKO 6 (10) 16 Jun 1951   Palais des Sports, Liège, Belgium
129 Win 126–1–2   Jan de Bruin TKO 8 (10) 10 Jun 1951   Sportpaleis, Antwerp, Belgium
128 Win 125–1–2   Jean Wanes UD 10 26 May 1951   Hallenstadion, Zürich, Switzerland
127 Win 124–1–2   Kid Marcel TKO 5 (10) 21 May 1951   Palais des Sports, Paris, France
126 Win 123–1–2   Don Ellis KO 1 (10), 1:36 9 Apr 1951   Municipal Auditorium, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, U.S.
125 Win 122–1–2   Holly Mims UD 10 5 Apr 1951   Miami Stadium, Miami, Florida, U.S.
124 Win 121–1–2   Jake LaMotta TKO 13 (15), 2:04 14 Feb 1951   Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S. Won The Ring, and lineal middleweight titles
123 Win 120–1–2   Hans Stretz TKO 5 (10) 25 Dec 1950   Haus der Technik, Frankfurt, Germany
122 Win 119–1–2   Robert Villemain TKO 9 (10) 22 Dec 1950   Palais des Sports, Paris, France
121 Win 118–1–2   Jean Walzack UD 10 16 Dec 1950   Palais des Expositions, Geneva, Switzerland
120 Win 117–1–2   Luc van Dam KO 4 (10) 9 Dec 1950   Palais des Sports, Brussels, Belgium
119 Win 116–1–2   Jean Stock TKO 2 (10) 27 Nov 1950   Palais des Sports, Paris, France
118 Win 115–1–2   Bobby Dykes MD 10 8 Nov 1950   Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
117 Win 114–1–2   Bobo Olson KO 12 (15), 1:19 26 Oct 1950   Philadelphia Convention Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. Retained Pennsylvania State middleweight title
116 Win 113–1–2   Joe Rindone TKO 6 (10), 0:55 16 Oct 1950   Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
115 Win 112–1–2   Billy Brown UD 10 4 Sep 1950   Coney Island Velodrome, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
114 Win 111–1–2   José Basora KO 1 (15), 0:55 25 Aug 1950   Scranton Stadium, Scranton, Pennsylvania, U.S Retained Pennsylvania State middleweight title
113 Win 110–1–2   Charley Fusari PTS 15 9 Aug 1950   Roosevelt Stadium, Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S Retained The Ring, and lineal welterweight titles
112 Win 109–1–2   Robert Villemain UD 15 5 Jun 1950   Philadelphia Municipal Stadium, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S Won vacant Pennsylvania State middleweight title
111 Win 108–1–2   Ray Barnes UD 10 28 Apr 1950   Olympia Stadium, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
110 Win 107–1–2   Cliff Beckett TKO 3 (10), 1:45 21 Apr 1950   Memorial Hall, Columbus, Ohio, U.S.
109 Win 106–1–2   George Costner KO 1 (10), 2:49 22 Mar 1950   Philadelphia Convention Hall, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
108 Win 105–1–2   Jean Walzack UD 10 27 Feb 1950   St. Louis Arena, St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
107 Win 104–1–2   Aaron Wade KO 3 (10) 22 Feb 1950   Municipal Auditorium, Savannah, Georgia, U.S.
106 Win 103–1–2   Johnny Dudley KO 2 (12), 0:40 18 Feb 1950   Municipal Stadium, Orlando, Florida, U.S.
105 Win 102–1–2   Al Mobley TKO 6 (10) 13 Feb 1950   Coliseum Arena, Miami, Florida, U.S.
104 Win 101–1–2   George LaRover TKO 4 (10), 1:38 30 Jan 1950   New Haven Arena, New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.
103 Win 100–1–2   Vern Lester KO 5 (10), 0:12 13 Nov 1949   Coliseum Arena, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
102 Win 99–1–2   Don Lee UD 10 9 Nov 1949   Denver Auditorium Arena, Denver, Colorado, U.S.
101 Win 98–1–2   Charley Dodson KO 3 (10), 0:20 12 Sep 1949   Houston City Auditorium, Houston, Texas, U.S.
100 Win 97–1–2   Benny Evans TKO 5 (10), 2:56 9 Sep 1949   Omaha City Auditorium, Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.
99 Win 96–1–2   Steve Belloise RTD 7 (10) 24 Aug 1949   Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York, U.S.
98 Win 95–1–2   Kid Gavilán UD 15 11 Jul 1949   Philadelphia Municipal Stadium, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. Retained The Ring, and lineal welterweight titles
97 Win 94–1–2   Cecil Hudson KO 5 (10) 20 Jun 1949   Rhode Island Auditorium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
96 Win 93–1–2   Freddie Flores TKO 3 (10), 2:41 7 Jun 1949   Page Arena, New Bedford, Massachusetts, U.S.
95 Win 92–1–2   Earl Turner TKO 8 (10), 1:51 20 Apr 1949   Oakland Auditorium, Oakland, California, U.S.
94 Win 91–1–2   Don Lee UD 10 11 Apr 1949   Omaha City Auditorium, Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.
93 Win 90–1–2   Bobby Lee UD 10 25 Mar 1949   Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
92 Draw 89–1–2   Henry Brimm SD 10 15 Feb 1949   Buffalo Memorial Auditorium, Buffalo, New York, U.S.
91 Win 89–1–1   Young Gene Buffalo KO 1 (10), 2:55 10 Feb 1949   Kingston Armory, Kingston, Pennsylvania, U.S.
90 Win 88–1–1   Bobby Lee UD 10 15 Nov 1948   Philadelphia Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
89 Win 87–1–1   Kid Gavilán UD 10 23 Sep 1948   Yankee Stadium, Bronx New York, U.S.
88 Win 86–1–1   Bernard Docusen UD 15 28 Jun 1948   Comiskey Park, Chicago, Illinois, U.S. Retained The Ring, and lineal welterweight titles
87 Win 85–1–1   Henry Brimm UD 10 16 Mar 1948   Buffalo Memorial Auditorium, Buffalo, New York, U.S.
86 Win 84–1–1   Ossie Harris UD 10 4 Mar 1948   Toledo Sports Arena, Toledo, Ohio, U.S.
85 Win 83–1–1   Chuck Taylor TKO 6 (15), 2:07 19 Dec 1947   Olympia Stadium, Detroit, Michigan, U.S. Retained The Ring, and lineal welterweight titles
84 Win 82–1–1   Billy Nixon TKO 6 (10), 2:10 10 Dec 1947   Elizabeth Armory, Elizabeth, New Jersey, U.S.
83 Win 81–1–1   California Jackie Wilson TKO 7 (10), 1:35 28 Oct 1947   Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
82 Win 80–1–1   Flashy Sebastian KO 1 (10), 1:02 29 Aug 1947   Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
81 Win 79–1–1   Sammy Secreet KO 1 (10), 1:50 21 Aug 1947   Rubber Bowl, Akron, Ohio, U.S.
80 Win 78–1–1   Jimmy Doyle TKO 8 (15) 24 Jun 1947   Cleveland Arena, Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. Retained The Ring, and lineal welterweight titles
79 Win 77–1–1   Georgie Abrams SD 10 16 May 1947   Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
78 Win 76–1–1   Eddie Finazzo TKO 4 (10), 2:30 8 Apr 1947   Memorial Hall, Kansas City, Kansas, U.S.
77 Win 75–1–1   Freddie Wilson TKO 3 (10), 1:10 3 Apr 1947   Akron Armory, Akron, Ohio, U.S.
76 Win 74–1–1   Bernie Miller TKO 3 (10), 1:32 27 Mar 1947   Dorsey Park, Miami, Florida, U.S.
75 Win 73–1–1   Tommy Bell UD 15 20 Dec 1946   Cleveland Arena, Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. Won vacant NBA, The Ring, and lineal welterweight titles
74 Win 72–1–1   Artie Levine KO 10 (10), 2:41 6 Nov 1946   Cleveland Arena, Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
73 Win 71–1–1   Cecil Hudson KO 6 (10), 2:58 1 Nov 1946   Olympia Stadium, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
72 Win 70–1–1   Ossie Harris UD 10 7 Oct 1946   Forbes Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
71 Win 69–1–1   Sidney Miller KO 3 (10), 1:52 25 Sep 1946   Twin City Bowl, Elizabeth, New Jersey, U.S.
70 Win 68–1–1   Vinnie Vines KO 6 (10), 2:46 15 Aug 1946   Hawkins Stadium, Albany, New York, U.S.
69 Win 67–1–1   Joe Curcio KO 2 (10), 0:10 12 Jul 1946   Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
68 Win 66–1–1   Norman Rubio PTS 10 25 Jun 1946   Roosevelt Stadium, Union City, New Jersey, U.S.
67 Win 65–1–1   Freddie Wilson KO 2 (10), 2:00 12 Jun 1946   Worcester Auditorium, Worcester, Massachusetts, U.S.
66 Win 64–1–1   Freddie Flores KO 5 (10), 2:52 21 Mar 1946   Golden Gate Arena, New York City, New York, U.S.
65 Win 63–1–1   Izzy Jannazzo UD 10 14 Mar 1946   Fifth Regiment Armory, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
64 Win 62–1–1   Sammy Angott UD 10 4 Mar 1946   Duquesne Gardens, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
63 Win 61–1–1   Cliff Beckett KO 4 (10), 0:40 27 Feb 1946   St. Louis Arena, St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
62 Win 60–1–1   O'Neil Bell KO 2 (10), 1:10 15 Feb 1946   Olympia Stadium, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
61 Win 59–1–1   Tony Riccio TKO 4 (10), 2:16 5 Feb 1946   Elizabeth Armory, Elizabeth, New Jersey, U.S.
60 Win 58–1–1   Dave Clark TKO 2 (10), 2:22 14 Jan 1946   Duquesne Gardens, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
59 Win 57–1–1   Vic Dellicurti UD 10 4 Dec 1945   Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
58 Win 56–1–1   Jimmy Mandell TKO 5 (10), 1:31 18 Sep 1945   Buffalo Memorial Auditorium, Buffalo, New York, U.S.
57 Win 55–1–1   Jimmy McDaniels KO 2 (10), 1:23 15 Jun 1945   Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
56 Draw 54–1–1   José Basora SD 10 14 May 1945   Philadelphia Convention Hall, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
55 Win 54–1   Jake LaMotta UD 10 23 Feb 1945   Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
54 Win 53–1   George Costner KO 1 (10), 2:55 14 Feb 1945   Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
53 Win 52–1   Tommy Bell UD 10 16 Jan 1945   Cleveland Arena, Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
52 Win 51–1   Billy Furrone TKO 2 (10), 2:28 10 Jan 1945   Uline Arena, Washington, D.C., U.S.
51 Win 50–1   George Martin TKO 7 (10), 3:00 22 Dec 1944   Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
50 Win 49–1   Sheik Rangel TKO 2 (10), 2:50 12 Dec 1944   Philadelphia Convention Hall, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
49 Win 48–1   Vic Dellicurti UD 10 24 Nov 1944   Olympia Stadium, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
48 Win 47–1   Lou Woods TKO 9 (10), 2:10 27 Oct 1944   Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
47 Win 46–1   Izzy Jannazzo KO 2 (10), 1:10 13 Oct 1944   Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
46 Win 45–1   Henry Armstrong UD 10 27 Aug 1943   Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
45 Win 44–1   Ralph Zannelli UD 10 1 Jul 1943   Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
44 Win 43–1   Freddie Cabral KO 1 (10), 2:20 30 Apr 1943   Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
43 Win 42–1   Jake LaMotta UD 10 26 Feb 1943   Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
42 Win 41–1   California Jackie Wilson MD 10 19 Feb 1943   Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
41 Loss 40–1   Jake LaMotta UD 10 5 Feb 1943   Olympia Stadium, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
40 Win 40–0   Al Nettlow TKO 3 (10) 14 Dec 1942   Philadelphia Convention Hall, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
39 Win 39–0   Izzy Jannazzo KO 8 (10), 2:43 1 Dec 1942   Cleveland Arena, Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
38 Win 38–0   Vic Dellicurti UD 10 6 Nov 1942   Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
37 Win 37–0   Izzy Jannazzo UD 10 19 Oct 1942   Philadelphia Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
36 Win 36–0   Jake LaMotta UD 10 2 Oct 1942   Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
35 Win 35–0   Tony Motisi KO 1 (10), 2:41 27 Aug 1942   Comiskey Park, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
34 Win 34–0   Reuben Shank KO 2 (10), 2:26 21 Aug 1942   Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
33 Win 33–0   Sammy Angott UD 10 31 Jul 1942   Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
32 Win 32–0   Marty Servo SD 10 28 May 1942   Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
31 Win 31–0   Dick Banner KO 2 (10), 0:32 30 Apr 1942   Minneapolis Armory, Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
30 Win 30–0   Harvey Dubs TKO 6 (10), 2:45 17 Apr 1942   Olympia Stadium, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
29 Win 29–0   Norman Rubio TKO 7 (12), 3:00 20 Mar 1942   Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
28 Win 28–0   Maxie Berger TKO 2 (12), 1:43 20 Feb 1942   Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
27 Win 27–0   Fritzie Zivic TKO 10 (12), 0:31 16 Jan 1942   Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
26 Win 26–0   Fritzie Zivic UD 10 31 Oct 1941   Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
25 Win 25–0   Marty Servo UD 10 25 Sep 1941   Philadelphia Convention Hall, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
24 Win 24–0   Maxie Shapiro TKO 3 (10), 2:04 19 Sep 1941   Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
23 Win 23–0   Maurice Arnault TKO 1 (8), 1:29 29 Aug 1941   Atlantic City Convention Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
22 Win 22–0   Carl Guggino TKO 3 (8), 2:47 27 Aug 1941   Queensboro Arena, Queens, New York U.S.
21 Win 21–0   Sammy Angott UD 10 21 Jul 1941   Shibe Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
20 Win 20–0   Pete Lello TKO 4 (8), 1:48 2 Jul 1941   Polo Grounds, New York City, New York, U.S.
19 Win 19–0   Mike Evans KO 2 (8), 0:52 16 Jun 1941   Shibe Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
18 Win 18–0   Nick Castiglione KO 1 (10), 1:21 19 May 1941   Philadelphia Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
17 Win 17–0   Victor Troise TKO 1 (8), 2:39 10 May 1941   Ridgewood Grove, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
16 Win 16–0   Joe Ghnouly TKO 3 (8), 2:07 30 Apr 1941   Uline Arena, Washington, D.C., U.S.
15 Win 15–0   Charley Burns KO 1 (10), 2:35 24 Apr 1941   Waltz Dream Arena, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
14 Win 14–0   Jimmy Tygh TKO 1 (10), 1:51 14 Apr 1941   Philadelphia Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
13 Win 13–0   Jimmy Tygh KO 8 (10), 1:13 3 Mar 1941   Philadelphia Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
12 Win 12–0   Gene Spencer RTD 4 (6) 27 Feb 1941   Olympia Stadium, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
11 Win 11–0   Bobby McIntire UD 6 21 Feb 1941   Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
10 Win 10–0   Benny Cartagena KO 1 (6), 1:33 8 Feb 1941   Ridgewood Grove, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
9 Win 9–0   George Zengaras PTS 6 31 Jan 1941   Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
8 Win 8–0   Frankie Wallace TKO 1 (6), 2:10 13 Jan 1941   Philadelphia Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
7 Win 7–0   Tony Iacovacci KO 1 (6), 0:40 4 Jan 1941   Ridgewood Grove, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
6 Win 6–0   Oliver White TKO 3 (4) 13 Dec 1940   Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.
5 Win 5–0   Norment Quarles TKO 4 (8), 0:56 9 Dec 1940   Philadelphia Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
4 Win 4–0   Bobby Woods KO 1 (6), 1:31 11 Nov 1940   Philadelphia Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
3 Win 3–0   Mitsos Grispos UD 6 22 Oct 1940   New York Coliseum, Bronx, New York, U.S.
2 Win 2–0   Silent Stafford TKO 2 (4) 8 Oct 1940   Municipal Auditorium, Savannah, Georgia, U.S.
1 Win 1–0   Joe Echevarria TKO 2 (4), 0:51 4 Oct 1940   Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.

Later lifeEdit

In his autobiography, Robinson states that by 1965 he was broke, having spent all of the $4 million in earnings he made inside and out of the ring during his career.[60] A month after his last fight, Robinson was honored with a Sugar Ray Robinson Night on December 10, 1965, in New York's Madison Square Garden. During the ceremony, he was honored with a massive trophy. However, there was not a piece of furniture in his small Manhattan apartment with legs strong enough to support it. Robinson was elected to the Ring Magazine boxing Hall of Fame in 1967, two years after he retired and the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990. In the late 1960s he acted in some television shows, like Mission: Impossible. An episode of Land of the Giants called "Giants and All That Jazz" had Sugar as a washed up boxer opening a nightclub.[61] He also appeared in a few films including the Frank Sinatra cop movie The Detective (1968), the cult classic Candy (1968), and the thriller The Todd Killings (1971) as a police officer. In 1969, he founded the Sugar Ray Robinson Youth Foundation for the inner-city Los Angeles area. The foundation does not sponsor a boxing program.[62] He was diagnosed with diabetes mellitus that was treated with insulin.[63]

DeathEdit

In Robinson’s last years he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.[63] He died in Los Angeles on April 12, 1989 at the age of 67. Robinson is buried at Inglewood Park Cemetery, Inglewood, California.[64]

Personal lifeEdit

 
Sugar Ray Robinson with Edna Mae Holly in 1956

Robinson married Marjorie Joseph in 1938; the marriage was annulled the same year. Their son, Ronnie Smith, was born in 1939. Robinson met his second wife Edna Mae Holly, a noted dancer who performed at the Cotton Club and toured Europe with Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway. According to Robinson, he met her at a local pool he frequented after his boxing workouts. In an attempt to get her attention he pushed her into the pool one day, and said it was an accident.[65] After this attempt was met with disdain, he appeared at the nightclub she danced at and introduced himself. Soon the couple were dating and they married in 1944.[66] They had one son, Ray Robinson Jr. (born 1949) before their acrimonious divorce in 1962.[67] She appeared on the first cover of Jet magazine in 1951.[68]

In April 1959, Robinson's eldest sister, Marie, died of cancer at the age of 41.[69]

In 1965, Robinson married Millie Wiggins Bruce and the couple settled in Los Angeles.[33] When Robinson was sick with his various ailments, his son accused the elder Robinson's wife of keeping him under the influence of medication to manipulate him. According to Ray Robinson Jr., when Robinson Sr's mother died, he could not attend his mother's funeral because Millie was drugging and controlling him.[70] However, Robinson had been hospitalized the day before his mother's death due to agitation which caused his blood pressure to rise. Robinson Jr. and Edna Mae also said they were kept away from Robinson by Millie during the last years of his life.[70]

Robinson was a Freemason, a membership shared with a number of other athletes, including fellow boxer Jack Dempsey.[71][72] Robinson guest-starred in Season 2, Episode 6 of Irwin Allen's Land of the Giants.[citation needed]

Boxing styleEdit

Rhythm is everything in boxing. Every move you make starts with your heart, and that's in rhythm or you're in trouble.

— Ray Robinson[73]

Robinson was the modern definition of a boxer puncher. He was able to fight almost any style: he could come out one round brawling, the next counterpunching, and the next fighting on the outside flicking his jab. Robinson would use his formless style to exploit his opponents' weaknesses. He also possessed great speed and precision. He fought in a very conventional way with a firm jab, but threw hooks and uppercuts in flurries in an unconventional way.[74] He possessed tremendous versatility—according to boxing analyst Bert Sugar, "Robinson could deliver a knockout blow going backward."[75] Robinson was efficient with both hands, and he displayed a variety of effective punches—according to a Time article in 1951, "Robinson's repertoire, thrown with equal speed and power by either hand, includes every standard punch from a bolo to a hook—and a few he makes up on the spur of the moment."[13] Robinson commented that once a fighter has trained to a certain level, their techniques and responses become almost reflexive. "You don't think. It's all instinct. If you stop to think, you're gone."[76]

LegacyEdit

 
Robinson being held aloft by Gene Fullmer and Carmen Basilio in 1965

Robinson has been ranked as the greatest boxer of all time by sportswriters, fellow boxers, and trainers.[12][77][78] The phrase "pound for pound" was created by sportswriters for him during his career as a way to compare boxers irrespective of weight.[14][30] Hall of Fame fighters Muhammad Ali, Joe Louis, Roberto Durán and Sugar Ray Leonard have ranked Robinson as the greatest pound-for-pound boxer in history.[75][79][80] In 1997, The Ring ranked him as the best pound-for-pound fighter in history,[14] and in 1999 he was named "welterweight of the century", "middleweight of the century", and overall "fighter of the century" by the Associated Press.[81] In 2007 ESPN.com featured the piece "50 Greatest Boxers of All Time", in which it named Robinson the top boxer in history.[77] In 2003, The Ring ranked him number 11 in the list of all-time greatest punchers.[82] Robinson was also ranked as the number 1 welterweight and the number 1 pound-for-pound boxer of all time by the International Boxing Research Organization.[83] He was inducted into the Madison Square Garden Walk of Fame at its inception in 1992.[84]

Robinson was one of the first African Americans to establish himself as a star outside sports. He was an integral part of the New York social scene in the 1940s and 1950s.[14] His glamorous restaurant, Sugar Ray's, hosted stars including Frank Sinatra, Jackie Gleason, Nat King Cole, Joe Louis, and Lena Horne.[85][86] Robinson was known as a flamboyant personality outside the ring. He combined striking good looks[87] with charisma and a flair for the dramatic. He drove a flamingo-pink Cadillac and was an accomplished singer and dancer, who once pursued a career in the entertainment industry.[88] According to ESPN.com's Ron Flatter: "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."[14] When Robinson first traveled to Paris, a steward referred to his companions as his "entourage". Although Robinson said he did not like the word's literal definition of "attendants", since he felt they were his friends, he liked the word itself and began to use it in regular conversation when referring to them.[89] In 1962, in an effort to persuade Robinson to return to Paris—where he was still a national hero—the French promised to bring over his masseur, his hairdresser, a man who would whistle while he trained, and his trademark Cadillac.[90] This larger-than-life persona made him the idol of millions of African American youths in the 1950s. Robinson inspired several other fighters who took the nickname "Sugar" in homage to him: Sugar Ray Leonard, Sugar Shane Mosley, and MMA fighter "Suga" Rashad Evans.[91][92][93]

See alsoEdit

FootnotesEdit

  1. ^ Before that fight, Robinson had a dream that he was going to accidentally kill Doyle in the ring. As a result, he decided to pull out of the fight. However, a priest and a minister convinced him to go ahead with the bout."Sugar Ray Robinson – Dreams Come True". YouTube. Retrieved 3 March 2013.

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Sugar Ray Robinson. International Boxing Hall of Fame.
  2. ^ Cuoco, Dan (12 May 2020). "Sugar Ray Robinson Again Named Greatest Boxer of All Time". IBRO. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  3. ^ "Sugar Ray Robinson's record". at BoxRec.com. Retrieved 21 May 2013.
  4. ^ Jackson, Ron. "Most consecutive unbeaten streak". Archived from the original on 6 April 2015. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  5. ^ Andrew Eisele. "Ring Magazine's 80 Best Fighters of the Last 80 Years". About.com Sports.
  6. ^ "BoxRec ratings: world, pound-for-pound, active and inactive". BoxRec. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  7. ^ "Sugar Ray Robinson". Biography. Retrieved 30 January 2020.
  8. ^ United States Postal Service Stamp Announcements
  9. ^ a b Robinson and Anderson, p. 7.
  10. ^ Robinson and Anderson, pp. 8–9.
  11. ^ Robinson and Anderson, p. 5.
  12. ^ a b c in Kingston New York Sugar Ray Robinson Returns to the Ring to a 'Stamping Ovation' of 100 Million Archived June 6, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, usps.com, April 7, 2006. Retrieved June 5, 2007.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h Businessman Boxer, Time, June 25, 1951, available online via time.com. Retrieved June 6, 2007.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h Flatter, Ron. The sugar in the sweet science, ESPN. Retrieved June 6, 2007.
  15. ^ Schwartz, Larry. "ESPN.com: "A brooding genius"". ESPN. Retrieved 12 September 2013.
  16. ^ a b c Nichols, Joseph C.Harlem Fighter Still Unbeaten, The New York Times, November 1, 1941. Retrieved June 6, 2007.
  17. ^ a b Dawson, James P. Robinson Knocks Out Zivic in Tenth Round to Score 27th Victory in Row, The New York Times, January 17, 1942. Retrieved June 6, 2007.
  18. ^ Nichols, Joseph C. Robinson Takes Unanimous Decision Over La Motta in Garden 10-Round Bout,The New York Times, October 3, 1942. Retrieved June 6, 2007.
  19. ^ a b c Associated Press. Robinson's Streak Ended by LaMotta, The New York Times, February 6, 1943. Retrieved June 6, 2007.
  20. ^ Robinson and Anderson, p. 110.
  21. ^ Robinson and Anderson, pp. 120–129.
  22. ^ Robinson and Anderson, pp. 126–130.
  23. ^ Ray Robinson, fbi.gov. Retrieved June 6, 2007.
  24. ^ Robinson and Anderson, p. 130.
  25. ^ Boyd and Robinson II. pp. 94
  26. ^ Sugar: Too sweet for Raging Bull, BBC, July 13, 2001. Retrieved June 6, 2007.
  27. ^ "The Lineal Welterwweight Champs". The Cyber Boxing Zone Encyclopedia.
  28. ^ Boyd and Robinson II. p. 93
  29. ^ Boyd and Robinson II. pp. 105–06
  30. ^ a b Anderson, Dave. Sports of the Times; The Original Sugar Ray 'Never Lost', The New York Times, April 13, 1989. Retrieved April 10, 2008.
  31. ^ "Sugar Ray Robinson – Dreams Come True". YouTube. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
  32. ^ Nat Fleischer, in The Ring, September 1947, "Sugar Ray Robinson backed out of the fight because he had a dream that he killed him: well his dream came true", page 4
  33. ^ a b c d Sugar Ray Robinson, Contemporary Black Biography, The Gale Group, 2006 ISBN 0-7876-7927-5, available online via Answers.com. Retrieved June 6, 2007.
  34. ^ Robinson's biographer Wil Haygood stated during a September 25, 2010 book festival appearance that Doyle was pushing himself to fight to "buy his mother a house" and after Doyle's death in 1947, Robinson gave the earnings of his next four fights to Doyle's mother, so she could buy that house."
  35. ^ Wil Haygood, Book TV, September 2010
  36. ^ Robinson and Anderson, p. 165.
  37. ^ "The Lineal Middleweight Champions". The Cyber Boxing Zone Encyclopedia.
  38. ^ Jake LaMotta, boxrec.com. Retrieved June 6, 2007. Archived April 25, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  39. ^ Robinson and Anderson, pp. 187–88.
  40. ^ Dethroned in London, The New York Times, July 15, 1951. Retrieved June 6, 2007.
  41. ^ Sugar Ray Gives Mme. Auriol Kiss; Boxer as Cancer Fund 'Envoy,' Busses French Chief's Wife Twice on Each Cheek, The New York Times, May 17, 1951. Retrieved June 6, 2007.
  42. ^ Sugar's Lumps, Time, July 23, 1951, available online at time.com. Retrieved June 6, 2007.
  43. ^ Daley, Arthur. Sports of The Times; For the Championship, The New York Times, September 12, 1951. Retrieved June 6, 2007.
  44. ^ Harlem Hails Robinson; More Than 10,000 Cheer Verdict, Sing and Dance in Street, The New York Times, September 13, 1951. Retrieved June 6, 2007.
  45. ^ Sugar Ray Robinson Named Fighter Of Year, St. Petersburg Times, December 27, 1951. Retrieved October 14, 2010.
  46. ^ "The Lineal Light Heavyweight Champions". The Cyber Boxing Zone Encyclopedia.
  47. ^ Robinson and Anderson. p. 227
  48. ^ Robinson and Anderson. p. 266
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SourcesEdit

  • Boyd, Herb, and Robinson, Ray II. Pound for Pound: A Biography of Sugar Ray Robinson, New York: HarperCollins, 2005 ISBN 0-06-018876-6
  • Chenault, Julie. Edna Mae Robinson Still Looking Good in Her Mink. Jet, Johnson Publishing Company November 5, 1981 issue ISSN 0021-5996 (available online)
  • Donelson, Thomas, and Lotierzo, Frank. Viewing Boxing from Ringside, Lincoln: iUniverse, 2002 ISBN 0-595-23748-7
  • Fitzgerald, Mike H., and Hudson, Dabid L. Boxing's Most Wanted: The Top Ten Book of Champs, Chumps and Punch-drunk Palookas, Virginia: Brassey's, 2004 ISBN 1-57488-714-9
  • Hauser, Thomas. The Black Lights: Inside the World of Professional Boxing, Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 2000 ISBN 1-55728-597-7
  • Nagler, Barney. "Boxing's Bad Boy: Sugar Ray Robinson". SPORT Magazine. October 1947.
  • Robinson, Sugar Ray, and Anderson, Dave. Sugar Ray, London: Da Capo Press, 1994 ISBN 0-306-80574-X
  • Sammons, Jeffrey Thomas. Beyond the Ring: The Role of Boxing in American Society, Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1998 ISBN 0-252-06145-4
  • Wiley, Ralph. Serenity: A Boxing Memoir, Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2000 ISBN 0-8032-9816-1

External linksEdit

Sporting positions
World titles
Preceded by
Marty Servo
Vacated
World Welterweight champion
December 20, 1946 – December 25, 1950
Vacated
Vacant
Title next held by
Kid Gavilán
Preceded by
Jake LaMotta
World Middleweight champion
January 14, 1951 – July 10, 1951
Succeeded by
Randy Turpin
Preceded by
Randy Turpin
World Middleweight champion
September 12, 1951 – December 1952
Retired
Vacant
Title next held by
Carl Olson
Preceded by
Carl Olson
World Middleweight champion
May 18, 1956 – January 2, 1957
Succeeded by
Gene Fullmer
Preceded by
Gene Fullmer
World Middleweight champion
May 1, 1957 – September 23, 1957
Succeeded by
Carmen Basilio
Preceded by
Carmen Basilio
NBA Middleweight champion
March 25, 1958 – 1959
Stripped
Vacant
Title next held by
Gene Fullmer
World Middleweight champion
March 25, 1958 – January 2, 1960
Succeeded by
Paul Pender
Records
Preceded by
Stanley Ketchel
2
Most world title reigns
in middleweight division
5

March 25, 1958 – present
Incumbent