Today marked a big day in the legacy of the great Sugar Ray Robinson. Back on this day in 1951, the former middleweight champion defeated Randy Turpin to win back the belt in front of 61,370 spectators at the Polo Grounds in New York City. But…it wasn’t an easy win getting there.
By 1951, Sugar Ray was considered the best pound-for-pound fighter in boxing history. That summer, Robinson scheduled a bout with Turpin, in which Sugar Ray was heavily favored. But to the surprise of his fans around the world, the surprisingly strong Turpin battered Robinson and won the match in a 15-round decision.
[Learn more about Sugar Ray by viewing his Footprint]
Two months later on September 12, Sugar got the rematch he longed for…setting a middleweight fight attendance record. From the first ring of the bell, the 31-year-old Robinson dictated the pace of the fight to his 23-year-old opponent, and won each of the first seven rounds decisively. In the eighth round, however, Robinson appeared to tire, and Turpin fought with a new intensity, hitting and hurting Robinson for the first time in the fight. In the ninth round, Turpin delivered numerous right hands to Robinson’s head, opening a cut over his left eye.
Still, Robinson was able to wrest back control of the fight in the 10th. Re-energized, he unleashed an onslaught to Turpin’s head and body. And at 2 minutes and 52 seconds into the 10th round, referee Rudy Goldstein stopped the fight…crowning Robinson as the winner.
The legend of Sugar Ray is one of determination, will, and passion…and shows us once again that anything is possible if we put our minds to it. Rightfully so, he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1967. And it is there that his legacy will continue to thrive…for a very long time to come.
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