Sugar Ray Robinson

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Considered one of the greatest boxers of all time. Sugar Ray Robinson was born Walker Smith Jr. on May 3, 1921. Robinson’s birth certificate lists his place of birth as Ailey, Georgia, while the boxer stated in his autobiography that he was born in Detroit, Michigan.

Amateur Career

His official amateur career consists of 85 straight wins, 69 wins by knockout, 40 of those knockouts were in the first round.

In 1939 Ray entered and won the golden gloves competition as a featherweight, the year after he entered and won the golden gloves competition again but this time as a lightweight.

Professional Career

Ray turned pro in 1940 and won his first 40 fights. Over his 25-year career, Robinson won the world welterweight and middleweight crowns and was dubbed “pound for pound, the best.”

Robinson’s most famous rival was Jake LaMotta. There were six epic battles between the pair, from October 1942 and February 1951. LaMotta, naturally the bigger man, handed Robinson his first professional loss in their second bout and “The Sugar Man” took the rest, finally securing a stoppage win in their last meeting – the famous “St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.”

By 1958, he had become the first boxer to win a divisional world championship five times. He finished his career in 1965 with 175
victories. Robinson died in Culver City, California, in 1989.

Watch the documentary

The Bright Lights and Dark Shadows of a Champion