Sugar Ray Robinson 1989 Associated Press Wire Photo Issued To International News Agencies Reporting The Sad Passing Of The Greatest Fighter In History

Sugar Ray Robinson 1989 Associated Press Wire Photo Issued To International News Agencies Reporting The Sad Passing Of The Greatest Fighter In History

Sugar Ray Robinson original 8 1/2" x 6 3/4" Associated Press black & white wire photo issued to International News Agencies reporting in 1989 the sad passing of the greatest fighter in history. Typed caption reads:-

SUGAR RAY ROBINSON DIES--Sugar Ray Robinson considered by many boxing experts as the greatest pound-for-pound fighter ever, died Wednesday at Brotman Medical Center in Los Angeles, a coroner's spokesman said.

The New York Times
Sugar Ray Robinson, Boxing's 'Best,' Is Dead
By Dave Anderson-1989.

Sugar Ray Robinson, the five-time World middleweight champion who was considered by many boxing experts to have been the best fighter in history, died yesterday in Culver City, Calif. He was 67 years old.

Robinson, who died at Brotman Medical Center shortly after having been admitted, was suffering from Alzheimer's disease and diabetes.

With his boxing artistry and knockout power in either fist, Robinson, who had also been the World welterweight champion, inspired the description ''pound for pound, the best,'' a phrase designed to transcend the various weight divisions. Ranked No. 1

In a 1984 book, ''The 100 Greatest Boxers of All Time,'' published by Bonanza Books, Robinson was ranked No. 1 by Bert Randolph Sugar, then the editor of The Ring magazine. In the author's opinion, Henry Armstrong was 2d, Harry Greb 3d, Jack Dempsey 4th, Benny Leonard 5th, Joe Louis 6th and Muhammad Ali 10th.

''Robinson could deliver a knockout blow going backward,'' Sugar wrote. ''His footwork was superior to any that had been seen in boxing up to that time. His hand speed and leverage were unmatchable.''

''I agree with those who say Sugar Ray Robinson was the greatest,'' said Don Dunphy, the longtime ringside broadcaster. ''He's my choice for number one.''

Ali, who described himself as the Greatest, acknowledged that Robinson's ''matador'' style had been his inspiration in dethroning Sonny Liston as the heavyweight champion in 1964. Ali, then known as Cassius Clay, had asked Robinson to be his manager.

''You are the king, the master, my idol,'' Ali was fond of saying to Robinson.

Over a quarter of a century, from 1940 to 1965, Robinson recorded 175 victories against 19 losses. Five of those losses occurred in the last six months of his career, after he turned 44 years old. He registered 110 knockouts, but he was never knocked out and he was stopped only once. In 1952, in a light-heavyweight title bout with Joey Maxim, he was far ahead on the judging cards and needed only to finish the 15th round to be awarded the decision. But he collapsed after the 13th round in 100-degree heat at Yankee Stadium and Maxim was credited with a knockout victory in the 14th round.

''Boxing is the art of self-defense,'' Robinson often said. ''You have to pattern your style for each fight against the style of the man you're fighting.''

Robinson was undefeated in his first 40 bouts, with 29 knockouts. He lost a 10-round decision to Jake LaMotta in 1943, then extended his record to 128-1-2, with 84 knockouts, while ruling the welterweight division and later the middleweight division.

He earned the 160-pound middleweight title in 1951, stopping LaMotta in the 13th round. Five months later he lost the title for the first time, on a 15-round decision, to Randy Turpin in London. Two months later, at the Polo Grounds, he regained the title from Turpin in a desperate and dramatic 10th-round knockout although he was bleeding from a cut above the left eye.

After his loss to Maxim the next year, Robinson spent 22 months in show business as a tap dancer before regaining the middleweight title with a second-round knockout of Carl (Bobo) Olson in the seventh bout of his comeback, on Dec. 9, 1955.

Robinson was dethroned in 1957 by Gene Fullmer, but four months later he won the title for the fourth time, knocking out Fullmer in the fifth round with what boxing historians called a perfect left hook.

Later that year he lost the title to Carmen Basilio in a 15-round decision, but regained it in 1958 in a 15-round decision over Basilio. Two years later he lost the title to Paul Pender, who also won their rematch, and four and a half years after that, on Dec. 10, 1965, Robinson announced his retirement for good. He was elected to the Boxing Hall of Fame in 1967.

Robinson won the welterweight title late in 1946 in a 15-round decision over Tommy Bell. In his first title defense, his opponent, Jimmy Doyle, suffered fatal brain injuries in an eighth-round knockout at Cleveland. In his sorrow, Robinson defined his brutal profession when he was asked during the Cleveland coroner's inquest if he had intended to get Doyle ''in trouble.''

''Mister,'' said Robinson, ''it's my business to get him in trouble.''

At his peak, Robinson was as flashy out of the ring as he was in it. He owned a nightclub in Harlem called Sugar Ray's, and also a dry-cleaning shop, a lingerie shop and a barber shop. He drove a flamingo-pink Cadillac convertible. On his boxing tours of Europe, his entourage included his valet, his barber, who doubled as his golf pro, several members of his family and George Gainford, his trainer throughout his career.

''Money is for spending,'' Robinson once said. ''Money is for having a good time.''

To Robinson, money was also for haggling. Except for his early years in boxing, he negotiated his own contracts, developing a reputation as a hard businessman who would threaten to ignore an offer if he was not completely satisfied with the financial terms. In a tax dispute with the Internal Revenue Service, his victory eventually contributed to the tax rule that allowed income averaging over a period of years.

Eventually, Robinson's spending sprees proved so costly that he was forced to continue boxing long beyond his best years. 'No Regrets'

''I went through four million dollars, but I have no regrets,'' he once said. ''If I had the chance to do it over again, I'd do it the same way. I didn't gamble away my money. I used it to let people live. I took my family and my friends on trips with me. I loaned it to strangers to pay their bills, and sometimes I didn't get it back.''

After his boxing career ended, Robinson moved to Los Angeles, where he lived comfortably but simply with his wife, Millie. He is survived by her; a son from an earlier marriage, Ray Jr.; two stepchildren, Ramona Lewis and Butch Robinson; four grandchildren, and a sister, Evelyn Nelson of New York.

In 1969 he founded the Sugar Ray Robinson Youth Foundation for inner-city children in the Los Angeles area. But the foundation did not sponsor a boxing program.

Robinson, of course, was boxing's original Sugar Ray, a nickname that has been usurped by several other athletes named Ray, notably Sugar Ray Leonard, also a middleweight and welterweight champion in recent years. But the original Sugar Ray never complained about Leonard being called Sugar Ray.

''Ray Leonard asked me in 1977 when he was starting out if I minded him using my name,'' Robinson once said. ''I told him, 'No, go ahead.' ''

Robinson's given name was Walker Smith Jr. He was born in Detroit on May 3, 1921. He moved with his family to New York, where he grew up in Harlem. As a teen-age amateur boxer representing the Salem-Crescent gym, he borrowed the Amateur Athletic Union card of another Harlem youngster named Ray Robinson. Once his Sugar Ray nickname stuck, he never used his real name.

''Sugar Ray Robinson had a nice ring to it,'' he once said. ''Sugar Walker Smith wouldn't have been the same.''

During World War II, he served in the Army, primarily boxing on exhibition tours of military bases along with Joe Louis, then the heavyweight champion, who had been his Detroit neighbor and his inspiration.

Before one show, Robinson refused to appear until black soldiers were allowed to attend. In another incident, Robinson scuffled with an Army military policeman who had threatened to club Louis for using a phone booth in a whites-only area.

When the two boxers were scheduled to embark from the Brooklyn Army Terminal in 1944 for a European tour, Robinson disappeared, creating a controversy that has never been completely clarified.

In his autobiography, ''Sugar Ray,'' published by Viking Press in 1969, Robinson contended that he suffered amnesia after a fall down a barracks stairs and woke up in Halloran Army Hospital on Staten Island. Robinson received an honorable discharge two months later.

But in the ring, Sugar Ray Robinson's stature has never been cloudy. According to many boxing historians, he was, pound for pound, the best.

Condition very good (stamped on reverse/Sugar Ray Robinson in the typed caption has been underlined in pen)

Price: £15

News: Death of Sugar Ray Robinson

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.