Through Ken Hissner: They talk about Saul “Canelo” Alvarez as number 1. He ran for the last seven rounds of the first Gennadiy Golovkin fight and got a gift draw. A fair draw, and there wouldn’t have been a rematch then what?
Philly’s late trainer once said to me, “The greatest boxer of all time was Pernell Whitaker!” I replied, “Never heard of “Sugar” Ray Robinson?”
Let’s take a look at Robinson. He lost for the first time after going 40-0 with 28 interruptions to future World Champion and IBHOF inductee Jake LaMotta in February 1943, whom he would defeat in their next four fights.
LaMotta would comment, “I’ve battled ‘sugar’ so many times that I thought I had diabetes.”
Robinson won their rematch in his next fight. When he lost his second fight in the UK to European champion Randy Turpin, 40-2-1, he was 129-1-2. In their next fight, he stops Turpin to win the middleweight title.
Previously, Robinson was 73-1-1 when he won the welterweight title from Tommy Bell, 39-10-3 in December 1946. In his fight, before meeting Bell, he defeated the tough Artie Levine, 46-9-5 .
Some of the Robinsons’ victories were those of future IBHOF inductee Sammy Angott, 60-15-1, Maxie Shapiro, 50-6-2, Marty Servo, 42-0-2, and again at 43-1-2, and back to return to another IBHOF inductee Fritzie Zivic, 111-26-6.
One of his victories was that of one of the greatest boxers of all time, Henry “Homicide Hank” Armstrong, 132-17-8. Others like KO1 over “Sugar” George Costner, 70-11-4. In winning the PA Middleweight title, Robert Villemain, 42-3-1, next fight defeated Charley Fusari, 63-7-1, then a rematch with Jose Basora, 77-14-1, scoring a first round knockout out. The same Basora he had signed with when he was 54-9-4 years earlier.
Others like Georgie Abrams, 48-6-3, alongside Jimmy Doyle, 42-6-3, IBHOF inductee and welter champ Kid Gavilan, 46-5-2, again at 53-6-2, Steve Belloise, 90-10- 3, future World Champion and IBHOF inductee Bobo Olson, 41-3, later at 71-7 and 71-8. For the last two, he defeated Rocky Castellani 64-8-6. Also Bobby Dijken, 71-8-6.
In a European tour, Jean Stock, 37-11-3, Luc van Dem, 89-12-3, Jean Walzack, 43-17-2, Robert Villemain, 44-4-1, and Hans Stretz stop for the second time , 30-2-5, return to US to stop LaMotta, 78-14-3.
In middleweight title fights, Robinson scored a KO3 on IBHOF inductee Rocky Graziano, 67-8-6, losing to IBHOF inductees Gene Fullmer, 37-3, in a rematch scored a knockout, another IBHOF inductee lost to Carmen Basilio , 51-12 -7, beating him in the next fight with his record of 141-5-2.
At this point in his career, Robinson was past his prime, finishing 174-19-6, but only lost by stopping fighting for the light heavyweight title against champion Joe Maxim when he was 132-2-2, with a lead of twelve rounds 10-3, 9-3-1 and 7-3-3, when the heat cost him the fight to retreat to his stool due to exhaustion.
Even the referee was replaced in the tenth round. In his next fight, he lost to another IBHOF inductee Archie “Old Mongoose” Moore 133-19-8, six months later for another light heavyweight title bid.
In Robinson’s last fight, he lost to Joey Archer, 44-1 by a decision that came off the canvas, although Archer only had eight stoppages and lost his last three fights. He was 44 years old.
All of this followed an amateur record that usually stands at 85-0 with 69 knockouts, 40 of which were in the first round. However, Robinson lost a few in his first name Walker Smith, Jr. There was only one “Sugar” Ray Robinson.