Robinson, Sugar Ray, 1920–89, American boxer, b. Detroit as Walker Smith, Jr. He began boxing after three years of high school in New York City. Having won all his amateur fights (about 90), including the Golden Gloves featherweight title, Robinson turned professional in 1940. He won the welterweight championship in 1946 by defeating Tommy Bell and the middleweight championship for the first time in 1951 by knocking out Jake La Motta. When Robinson retired from boxing as middleweight champion in 1952 he had lost only three times in 137 bouts. Returning to boxing in 1955, he was the first boxer ever to regain a title after retiring. Robinson became the first man in boxing history to win a divisional (weight class) world championship five times when he regained the middleweight title in 1958 by defeating Carmen Basilio; he lost the title in 1960 to Paul Pender. In his prime, the swift, hard-punching Robinson was rated the best boxer, pound for pound, of his time.
See his autobiography (1970); biography by W. Haygood (2009).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.