Sugar Ray Robinson vs Randolph Turpin (1st fight) vintage projector 8mm black & white film reel produced by Ring Classics, Hauppauge, N.Y. 11787. Complete with original boxcase, 10th July 1951, Earls Court, London.
Sugar Ray Robinson completely under-estimated Randolph Turpin during a tour of Europe in 1951 and was out-thought and out-fought over 15 rounds as Turpin won the World middleweight title on a wildly memorable night.
In a career that spanned three decades, Sugar Ray Robinson embodied the essence of the sweet science. He was a World welterweight champion and held the middleweight title five times. Robinson combined an athlete's grace and excellent power and was nearly unbeatable in his prime.
He is considered by many to be the best fighter in history, pound-for-pound. He earned the nickname "Sugar" Ray when a newspaper reporter described him as "sweet as sugar."
Among the fellow Hall of Famers Robinson beat are Henry Armstrong, Kid Gavilan, Carmen Basilio, Jake LaMotta, Rocky Graziano, Gene Fullmer and Fritzie Zivic. Robinson was so efficient for so long that he won his first Fighter of the Year award in 1942 and his second in 1951.
Robinson, whose real name was Walker Smith, turned pro in 1940 and won his first 40 fights before losing to LaMotta. After that defeat, Robinson wouldn't lose for another eight years.
In 1942, he decisioned former champion Zivic and future champion Marty Servo. Then in 1946, in his 76th fight, he decisioned Tommy Bell for the vacant welterweight.
During his reign as a welterweight, Robinson defended his crown with wins over Jimmy Doyle, Chuck Taylor, Bernard Docusen, Gavilan, and Charlie Fusari. In 1951, he challenged LaMotta for the middleweight title in a fight that is remebered as the St. Valentine Day Massacre. Robinson overwhelmed LaMotta with a speed and power and finally stopped him in the 13th round. It was the sixth and final time the Hall of Famers met. Robinson won five of those contests.
In 1951, he was upset by British champion Randy Turpin. In the rematch two months later, Robinson knocked Turpin out in the 10th round. He followed with successful defences against Graziano and Carl "Bobo" Olson before challenging light heavyweight king Joey Maxim.
Robinson and Maxim met at Yankee Stadium in the summer of 1952. The temperature in the ring that night was estimated at 100 degrees. It was the heat, and not Maxim, that overcame Sugar Ray. After the 13th round, he led on all three scorecards but remained on his stool when the bell sounded to begin the 14th.
Robinson retired after the Maxim fight only to return in 1955.
He would win and lose the middleweight title three more times in a series of bouts with Olson, Fullmer and Basilio. He finally retired for good in 1965 at the age of 44. Of Robinson's 19 career defeats, 16 occurred after 1955. Five of them came in his final 15 fights. He fought 18 World champions during his career.
Randolph Adolphus ('Randy') Turpin (7th June 1928 – 17th May 1966) known as the Leamington Larruper, and was considered by some to be Europe's best middleweight boxer of the 1940's and 1950's.
Born in Leamington Spa, to a black father who had emigrated from Guyana and a white British mother, he started like his brother Dick to be trained in the art of boxing at Leamington Boys' Club.
Turpin turned professional in London in 1946, soon after his 18th birthday. Trained by his elder brother Dick, who himself was a successful middleweight, Randolph knocked out Gordon Griffiths in his first bout. Turpin put together a string of 16 wins in a row, all over the United Kingdom, until drawing with Mark Hart over six rounds in his last bout of 1947.
Three wins later, he found himself facing Albert Finch who inflicted on Turpin his first defeat, an 8-round-decision loss. After one more win he lost again, knocked out in 5 rounds by Jean Stock in London.
Turpin was determined not to lose again after the Stock defeat, and put together another string of wins which reached 12 (including a 4-round disqualification win against William Poli).
Rematched with Finch, this time with the British middleweight title on the line, Turpin avenged his first loss and won his first championship by knocking out Finch in five rounds on 17th October 1950 at Harringay Arena.
Three more wins followed, including a disqualification win in 8 rounds against important challenger Tommy Yarosz. He then met European middleweight champion Luc Van Dam in London, whom he knocked out in the first round to seize the European championship.
Four wins followed after that, including a rematch with Stock, against whom he avenged his second defeat, knocking him out in 5 rounds. Then World middleweight champion Sugar Ray Robinson travelled to London and, on 10th July 1951, risked his title against Turpin, who won the World title by beating Robinson on a 15-round decision.
Turpin became an instant national hero. His win over Robinson gave him such celebrity that even many people who were not boxing fans knew who he was. When he signed for a rematch with Robinson and chose Gwrych Castle near Abergele in North Wales to train, the castle was constantly hounded by fans and tourists.
His days as a World champion didn't last long, however, and when he made his first trip outside his homeland for a fight, he lost his crown to Robinson by a tenth-round TKO with eight seconds left in the round at the Polo Grounds in New York on 12th September 1951.
This turned out to be the beginning of Turpin's problems, because he would begin to miss the sweet life that being a World boxing champion gave him.
He tried to regain his former status and, three fights later, beat Don Cockell in 11 rounds by a knockout to conquer the British Commonwealth light-heavyweight title.
Turpin went back down in weight, and beat Georges Angelo to regain his British middleweight title, and put on another string of wins, leading to his challenge of Bobo Olson for the World middleweight title that Robinson had left vacant after retiring.
His second trip to New York turned into another 15-round defeat, this time at the hands of Olson.
In 1954, he went to Rome where he lost his European middleweight title by a knockout in the first round to Tiberio Mitri.
He kept trying mightily as he could to regain his former condition as a World champion and even retained his British middleweight title a few times in his next ten fights, but he lost two of them to obscure opponents.
After that, he managed another winning streak against some obscure boxers, but by 1958 it was clear his best days in boxing were long over. He lost that year to Yolande Pompey, another future World title challenger, by a second-round knockout in Birmingham, and retired in 1959.
In 1962, he began another comeback which lasted for only two fights, both of which he won, the last being held in Malta.
He retired with a record of 66 wins, 8 losses and 1 draw. Of his 66 wins, 48 came by knockout.
By now he was so short of money that he resorted to professional wrestling. His name meant that he drew moderate crowds for a short time but in the end this venture was not a success because he was a fighter not a showman.
Retirement And Suicide
According to articles, reports and a biography, Turpin couldn't deal with the obscurity resulting from the loss of his crown. In Llandudno in Wales, he bought a public house on the Great Orme, which today retains several genuine artefacts from his career. Between 1952 and 1961, he was the registered licensee.
After being declared bankrupt, Turpin committed suicide by shooting himself in 1966. It is reported that, on the same day, he tried to kill his daughter.
Turpin was inducted as a member of the International Boxing Hall Of Fame in Canastota, New York in 2001. There is a statue of him in Market Square, Warwick.