The Last Ring Days of Sugar Ray Robinson
By Robert Brizel, Head Real Combat Media Boxing Correspondent
The late great former world welterweight and middleweight champion Walker Smith Jr., better known as Sugar Ray Robinson, stood for an excellence in the ring which may never be surpassed. Between 1940 and 1965, Robinson won 179 bouts, lost 19 and drew six, with 109 knockouts. During his 25 year career, Robinson was the best pound for pound fighter in the ring in the era preceding Carlos Monzon.
However, by the time Ray fought Joey Archer and lost a ten rounder in November 1965, his skills had eroded at age 44. Ray got knocked down for a count of nine in the fourth round, but came back to have a good sixth round. It was not enough. A month after his final bout, Ray attended his tribute inside the ring at Madison Square Garden, joined by former middleweight champions Carmen Basilio, Carl Bobo Olson, Gene Fullmer and Randy Turpin, accepting a big farewell trophy. As seen in the above fight footage, Ray was not the aggressor against Archer, and could not win as a counterpuncher.
By 1965, Robinson had spent all four million dollars of his earnings and was so broke his apartment had no furniture on which to place his farewell trophy. He tried his hand at acting on television, and founded the Sugar Ray Robinson Youth Foundation in inner city Los Angeles. Plagued by diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease in his final years, Ray Robinson passed away on April 12, 1989 at age 67 in Los Angeles, California. Lavish spending habits prevented him from retiring when he was still young, and health problems eventually brought the vibrant Robinson down and out of the public eye in his final years.