The Legendary Career of Sugar Ray Robinson: Six-Time World Champion

Sugar Ray Robinson, born on May 3, 1921, in Detroit, Michigan, emerged as a boxing icon, securing world championships six times—once as a welterweight (147 pounds) from 1946 to 1951 and five times as a middleweight (160 pounds) between 1951 and 1960. Revered by many as the greatest fighter in history, Robinson’s journey to greatness was marked by unparalleled achievements.

Robinson’s amateur career saw him triumph in 89 consecutive fights, securing Golden Gloves titles as a featherweight in 1939 and as a lightweight in 1940. His early professional success included an impressive streak of 40 consecutive victories before facing a formidable opponent, Jake LaMotta, in one of their six intense battles.

On December 20, 1946, Robinson claimed the welterweight championship, defeating Tommy Bell in a 15-round decision. Displaying his versatility, he resigned this title upon winning the middleweight championship by knocking out LaMotta in 13 rounds on February 14, 1951. Despite a brief setback, losing the 160-pound title to Randy Turpin in 1951, Robinson quickly reclaimed it later that year.

Robinson’s career was characterized by a series of captivating bouts. In 1952, he narrowly missed clinching the light-heavyweight (175-pound) crown against Joey Maxim and subsequently retired. However, he made a triumphant return in 1954, recapturing the middleweight title from Carl (Bobo) Olson in 1955. The ensuing years witnessed a seesaw of victories and defeats, including losing and regaining the title from Gene Fullmer in 1957 and yielding it to Carmen Basilio later that year.

In a dramatic 1958 encounter, Robinson secured the 160-pound championship for the last time by defeating Basilio in a fierce contest. His illustrious career reached its twilight when Paul Pender defeated him on January 22, 1960, to claim the title.

Robinson’s lasting legacy extends beyond statistics. Continuing to fight until late 1965, even at 45 years old, he participated in 201 professional bouts, achieving 109 knockouts with only 19 defeats, most occurring when he was past 40. Renowned for his exceptional ability and charismatic personality, Robinson became a global boxing hero. Following retirement, he transitioned to television and film appearances, and in 1969, he founded a youth foundation, cementing his impact on and off the ring.