THE BEST POUND-FOR-POUND BOXER OF ALL TIME
By Maloney L. Samaco
Thu, 05 Mar 2009
Sugar Ray Robinson.
Manny Pacquiao is the current pound-for-pound king as proclaimed by the authoritative Ring Magazine. Pound-for-pound is the term used popularly in boxing, as well as other combat sports like mixed martial arts, to show a fighter's worth compared to other fighters of different weight classes.
Also closely associated with the term pound-for-pound is Floyd Mayweather, Jr. who retired while he was on top of the prestigious list. He is recently called to come out of retirement by Juan Manuel Marquez who presently is ranked number two pound-for-pound by The Ring Magazine.
Pound-for-pound is said to originate in order to describe Sugar Ray Robinson, considered one of the most successful boxers of all time. He was called the best pound-for-pound fighter without fighting much larger fighters, under the conviction that as a middleweight he can win against any combatant at heavier or lighter weights than him.
He was born Walker Smith Jr., but he is well-known as "Sugar" Ray Robinson. Born on May 3, 1921 in Ailey, Georgia, but raised in New York, it was in a Harlem gym that he got a taste of the sport he became famous for. Sugar Ray visited the gym regularly using a borrowed Amateur Athletic Union boxing card of a friend whose name was Ray Robinson.
His inborn talent in the ring began to get noticed. Coach George Gainford watched him box for the first time and observed that the young boxer's clever technique and unpredictable motions were "sweet as sugar," thus his nickname was born. Robinson was 85-0 as an amateur with 69 of the wins by way of knockout, 40 of them in the first round.
Robinson turned professional in 1940 at the age of 19 and by 1951 had a professional record of 128-1-2 with 84 knockouts. His supremacy included a 91 fight winning-streak. Robinson was the world welterweight champion from 1946 to 1951, and won the world middleweight title in the latter year.
He retired in 1952, but came back two and a half years later and regained the middleweight crown in 1955. He became the first boxer in history to win a divisional world championship five times by defeating Carmen Basilio in 1958 to regain once more the middleweight championship. A domineering power in the boxing ring for two decades, Sugar Ray was aged 38 when he won his last middleweight title.
Robinson was named "Fighter of the Year" twice in 1942, then in 1951. He engaged in 200 pro bouts and his professional career lasted nearly 26 years. He was never physically knocked out, although he had receive one technical knockout. Altogether, he won with 109 KOs, and finished with a record of 175-19-6 with two no-decisions.
In 1997, The Ring magazine named Sugar Ray "pound for pound, the best boxer of all time." In 1999, the Associated Press called him both the greatest welterweight and middleweight boxer of the century.
Robinson was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990. He was voted as the greatest fighter of the 20th century by the Associated Press and the greatest boxer in history by ESPN.com in 2007. The Ring magazine rated him the best pound for pound boxer of all-time in 1997 and "Fighter of the Decade" for the 1950s.
Muhammad Ali called him "the king, the master, my idol." Ali, who again and again called himself "The Greatest" throughout his career, ranked Robinson as the greatest boxer of all time. Other Hall of Famers including Joe Louis and Sugar Ray Leonard also considered Robinson the greatest fighter in boxing history.
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