View Full Version : The greatness of Sugar Ray Robinson


Steak
04-04-2011, 04:09 AM
So often we simply state that Robinson is the greatest fighter of all time as if its fact, without looking at why that is. Well, just for the hell of it, Im going to compile a list of his accomplishments(If I miss any, feel free to append it, he had a very long and exhausting career full of excellent opponents I might have missed).

Sammy Angottx3-Robinson beat this HOF fighter at Lightweight, and Angott would become Lightweight champ 5 months after losing to Robinson. Less than 2 years later he would go on to beat the first man to beat the ATG Willie Pep. Very overlooked win. Robinson would beat Angott twice more at Welterweight.

Fritzie Zivicx2-Robinson would beat the HOF fighter Zivic twice in a row, Zivic was the Welterweight champ only three months before fighting Robinson(gaining the title from Henry Armstrong, losing it to Freddy Cochrane).

Marty Servox2-Robinson would beat him twice, the first time when he was 42-0-2. Servo would beat Cochrane to become the Welterweight champ a few years later.

Tony Motisi-top ten at welterweight

Jake LaMotta-Robinson would beat this HOF Middleweight 5 times, many times weighing in as a natural Weltweight or less compared to the much heavier LaMotta. Their first fight happened 9 years before Robinson beat LaMotta to claim the Middleweight crown.

Ian Jannazzox4-top ten at WW

Jackie Wilson-top five at WW

Ralph Zanelli-top ten at WW

Henry Armstrong-HOF, arguably #2 best ever p4p, multi weight class champ.

Tommy Bell-#1 contender at WW, Robinson finally wins the vacant WW title by beating Bell

Jimmy Doyle-top ten at WW

Jackie Wilson-top ten at WW

Bernard Docusen-top five at WW

Kid Gavilanx2-HOF, future WW champ, top ten at WW

George Costner-#2 at WW

Robert Villemainx2-#3 at MW, had wins over LaMotta and Kid Gavilan

Charley Fusari-top ten at WW

Bobo Olsenx4-HOF Middleweight, would go on to become Middleweight champ about 3 years after the first Robinson losses, Robinson would beat him again by decision during his MW title run, Robinson would KO him again after his first retirement to regain the Middleweight title in 1955

Jake LaMotta-listed again because Robinson won the MW title by stopping him

Randy Turpin-Avenging his loss to Turpin by KO, Robinson wins back the MW title from this HOF MW, Turpin rated #1 at MW

Rocky Graziano-Robinson KOed this HOF Middleweight in 3, Graziano was rated in the top ten but not prime

Rocky Castellani-Robinson would come out of retirement in 1955 and beat the #2 rated MW by decision(retiring after ahead on points but dying from heat exhaustion against HOF LHW Joey Maxim)

Gene Fullmer-Robinson would go 1-2-1 against this HOF MW, KOing him in their second bout. Gene Fullmer was champ and would go on to become MW champ again

Carmen Basilio-Robinson would avenge his earlier loss to the HOF former WW champ and regain the title

exhausting list, and I probably havent even named all his good wins either. 18 wins over HOF fighters from lightweight to middleweight

GJC
04-04-2011, 11:47 AM
Nice post, I pretty much discount the Armstrong win though as Hank was "gone" by the time they fought.

RubenSonny
04-04-2011, 11:57 AM
I agree with GJC about Hank and I don't hold the Graziano win in a very high regard but excellent summary of wins, I'm sure I will refer to this in the future when discussing Robinson and my mind goes blank.

GJC
04-04-2011, 12:46 PM
I agree with GJC about Hank and I don't hold the Graziano win in a very high regard but excellent summary of wins, I'm sure I will refer to this in the future when discussing Robinson and my mind goes blank.
Mind I could see the Graziano fight going exactly the same way when he was prime, punchers effort and shaking SRR before getting caught himself

RubenSonny
04-04-2011, 12:56 PM
Mind I could see the Graziano fight going exactly the same way when he was prime, punchers effort and shaking SRR before getting caught himself

Yeah I agree lol, but the fact that Graziano didn't really fight anyone between the last Zale fight and Robinson fight, he hadn't really proved he was up to the task if you ask me. I also feel that Graziano was always a bit overrated on the whole, and I think thats rooted in the fights with Zale, Robinson saying he was the hardest puncher he faced and knocking him down (wasn't a major knockdown) he was good with a tremendous punch but I think hes generally given too much credit, JMO.

IronDanHamza
04-04-2011, 01:23 PM
I utterly agree with the Armstrong and Graziano comments.

Both at the tail end of thier long careers and really not great wins for Robinson.

But overall great breakdown, BI.

GJC
04-04-2011, 06:03 PM
Yeah I agree lol, but the fact that Graziano didn't really fight anyone between the last Zale fight and Robinson fight, he hadn't really proved he was up to the task if you ask me. I also feel that Graziano was always a bit overrated on the whole, and I think thats rooted in the fights with Zale, Robinson saying he was the hardest puncher he faced and knocking him down (wasn't a major knockdown) he was good with a tremendous punch but I think hes generally given too much credit, JMO.
Graziano was always going to sell tickets so I guess that coupled with an unbeaten run was enough to guarantee the fight. Also until Fullmer and Basilio came along there wasn't too much to challenge SRR. Might be on my own here but Nigel Benn always reminded me A bit of Graziano

BIg Smoke
04-04-2011, 06:09 PM
Excellent breakdown BI.

:fing02:

green k sent.

Marchegiano
04-04-2011, 08:03 PM
Green K for you. One of my favorite posts. I don't have anything to add just voicing appreciation.

Forza
04-04-2011, 09:33 PM
Probably one of the best resumes in boxing history. You know you're great when you beat multiple greats.

New England
04-04-2011, 09:47 PM
Ray robinson is often referred to by the true experts as the only fighter who had no discernible flaws


he had:
size : 5'11 WW at his best. 74 inches of reach.
power in both hands.
speed with his hands and feet. he could pick you off with a perfectly dropped counter or flurry off nine or ten legit power punches
a superhuman set of wiskers
he could outbox an opponent for 10 rounds
or blow him out in a frame or two



he's regularly awarded the distinction of being the most complete fighter in history in terms of the gifts he brought with him to the sport, and the skillset he built around them.
he had no real flaws

crold1
04-04-2011, 09:56 PM
At Welterweight: (http://www.boxingscene.com/-top-25-welterweights-all-time-top-ten--23544)

Sugar Ray Robinson (1940-65)
Record: 173-19-6, 108 KO
World Champion 1946-50, 5 Defenses
Welterweight Titlists/Champions Faced - 5: (Marty Servo, Fritzie Zivic, Henry Armstrong, Kid Gavilan)

Born Walker Smith Jr. in Georgia and reared in Harlem, New York, Robinson built on a stellar amateur career with a quick succession through the professional ranks beginning in October 1940. Fighting much of his first year nearer the Lightweight limit, Robinson bested Lightweight great Sammy Angott before three fights in a row against future and former World Welter champs Marty Servo and Fritzie Zivic from September 1941 to January 1942. The run began with a decision in ten over Servo followed by a decision and then 10th round stoppage of Zivic, running his record to 27-0 before he’d even hit his 21st birthday. Robinson continued winning, adding additional victories over Servo and Angott along with his first win in defining rivalry with Middleweight Jake LaMotta in October 1942, giving up over 12 lbs. on the scale and winning a decision. Five fights and six months later, they would face off again with Robinson being dropped and suffering his first loss via unanimous ten round vote, outweighed by some 16 lbs. He bounced back just three weeks later to avenge the slight and added a victory over an aging Armstrong later in the year.

With the Welterweight title frozen while champion Freddie Cochrane served in World War II, Robinson simply kept winning and waiting. He defeated LaMotta twice more in 1945, besting contenders Tommy Bell, Izzy Jannazzo and Jose Basora along with another win over Angott. In 1946, Servo won the crown from a returning Cochrane but quickly vacated. Robinson was matched with Bell for the vacant title in December 1946, his record showing 73 wins against a single loss and draw. Bell dropped Robinson in round two only to have the act revenged late in the bout on the way to a unanimous verdict for Robinson. During his title reign, Robinson flirted often with non-title affairs inside the Middleweight limit but made quality defenses against tough contender Charley Fusari and the great Kid Gavilan, the latter in a rematch of an exciting non-title win. Fusari would in fact be the final defense and bout at Welterweight in August 1950. Already having won the Middleweight title (as recognized in Pennsylvania), Robinson was off to chase LaMotta, and ultimately five Middleweight titles, over his final fifteen years as a pro. When his hand was raised at the end of the decision over Fusari, Robinson’s record was an astonishing 110-1-2.

Why He’s Here: It’s hard to say if, without the war, Robinson couldn’t have been the champion sooner. If he had, who knows numbers he could have cultivated. It doesn’t really matter; Robinson was great without the title. Four of five wins, in six fights, with LaMotta came while he was regularly at Middleweight and only in one did he weigh a few pounds over 147. Servo and Angott, the first times, came in his first year and the first Zivic win was just a couple weeks shy. While Armstrong was aging, he was still a real contender and real world class fighter and those are just a few names and Gavilan was a great final rivalry for the class.

None of this gets at the obvious.

“Sugar” Ray Robinson is almost casually argued as the greatest fighter who ever lived. There is a reason for that. Some of it comes in the numbers (110-1-2 bears repeating) and some in the high quality of opposition. There is also the hushed awe of those who saw him in his Welterweight prime, an era not adequately filmed but well documented. The greatest of all time was at his very best, at the height of his speed and power, at Welterweight.

This list is Robinson and everyone else.

crold1
04-04-2011, 09:57 PM
At Middleweight: (http://www.boxingscene.com/-top-25-middleweights-all-time-top-ten--24472)

2) Sugar Ray Robinson (1940-65)
Record: 173-19-6, 108 KO
World Champion 1951; 51-52, 2 Defenses; 55-57, 1 Defense; 57; 58-60
Welterweight Titlists/Champions Faced - 9: (Jake LaMotta, Randy Turpin, Bobo Olson, Rocky Graziano, Gene Fullmer, Carmen Basilio, Paul Pender, Terry Downes, Joey Giardello)

Arguably the greatest fighter who ever lived, the Detroit born and New York reared Robinson stands out as the greatest Welterweight of all time and could well be argued as number one here. Testing the Middleweight waters long before he actually chased the Middleweight crown, Robinson had already won four of his first five contests with LaMotta and knocked out Bobo Olson (for recognition as Middle champ in Pennsylvania) for the first time before challenging LaMotta for his crown on Valentine’s Day, 1951. In one of boxing’s seminal moments, he stopped LaMotta in round thirteen to begin his first of five title reigns in the divisions. A tour of Europe in the spring and summer following would end the first reign quickly, Robinson outpointed by Britain’s Randy Turpin in July. The return would come only two months later and while Turpin was still a handful there was no upset was in the offing. Cut badly and threatened with the fight being stopped, Robinson battered Turpin in the tenth to score the dramatic knockout. March and April of 1952 provided Robinson two successful title defenses, Olson lasting the full fifteen and Graziano dropping him before being knocked senseless in the third. An ill-fated move up the scale to challenge Light Heavyweight champion Joey Maxim over the summer ended in heatstroke, a corner surrender, a vacated Middleweight title, and two and a half years of retirement. Like most fighters, Robinson couldn’t stay away and on January 5, 1955, he returned with a knockout win. Just two weeks later, he lost a decision to rugged spoiler Ralph Jones, leaving the world to question whether a great Robinson had truly returned. Robinson answered with four straight wins, including an off the floor decision over contender Rocky Castellani in July, before finding old nemesis Olson wearing the crown he’d left behind in November. Robinson needed only two rounds to get it back and five months later knocked Olson out again in the lone successful defense of his last three title reigns. He’d lose the title twice in 1957, first to Gene Fullmer and then to Carmen Basilio. In between he landed arguably the greatest left hook ever to knock Fullmer out in five and regain the crown. In March 1958, he won the title for the last time in the Basilio rematch; both of their fights were selected as Fights of the Year. Flirting with the idea of challenging Floyd Patterson at Heavyweight, Robinson mostly rested, fighting only once for close to two years and never defending his title. The NBA stripped him of their title share and, in January 1960, Paul Pender stripped him any claim in the ring. Six months later, Pender retained (though the scoring of both fights roused debate) and, in December, despite looking the part of victor over fifteen, Robinson was forced to settle for a draw with NBA titlist and old rival Gene Fullmer. Fullmer battered an almost 40-year old Robinson in the immediate rematch the following year and Robinson would receive no further title opportunities, finally retiring for good in 1965.

Why He’s Here: Robinson fought some great Middleweights and, through the 1950s, beat them. His longevity, when factoring in his sheer volume of fights, is remarkable. However, a certain degree of inconsistency must also be taken to account. Robinson was virtually unbeatable at Welterweight and against Welterweights; it wasn’t the case at Middleweight, though aging played a factor as did the layoff between the second and third reigns in determining his place. Had he decided to keep fighting between 1952 and 55, his defense numbers probably grow and there wasn’t much on the horizon yet to threaten his reign. While he had to lose it four times, the fact that Robinson could win the title five times is awesome stuff and spoke to the incredible will to win he had. As noted, a case could be made to place him in the top spot. The man in front of him just manages to overcome the objection. Robinson was of course a, perhaps the, inaugural member of the IBHOF in 1990.

BattlingNelson
04-05-2011, 12:18 PM
Thomas Hauser made a great piece on Robinson here:


http://www.secondsout.com/columns/th...ited--part-one


which is covered here:

http://www.boxingscene.com/forums/showthread.php?t=441081

Miburo
04-05-2011, 07:41 PM
His greatest attributes were incredible toughness and the singular ability to catch opponents with blind punches consistently that hasn't been seen since. This was the source of his KO ability, not natural power, as he himself admitted.