Walter Smith Jr. was no stranger to tough times. After moving with his family to New York City age 11, Smith Jr. helped his mother save for an apartment by earning change dancing in Times Square. Not old enough to box at 15, Smith Jr. turned to friend, Ray Robinson, to borrow his Amateur Athletic Card, allowing him to pass as 18 and compete. Later called “sweet as sugar” by a lady in the audience at his amateur debut, Sugar Ray Robinson was born.
Robinson displayed the makings of a perfect fighter. His ability to fight at range, weave together combinations, and gracefully navigate the ring, laid the foundation of his long, dominant reign. Robinson’s famous short left hook became the epitome of perfecting a punch, highlighted with his KO over Gene Fullmer with pundits lauding the hook as ‘The Perfect Punch’.
Robinson’s outstanding performances in the Lightweight, Welterweight, Middleweight, and Light-Heavyweight divisions, led sportswriters to create the term, “Pound for Pound” in 1951. Used as a method of assessing how fighters would perform against each other outside the confines of a weight class, the P4P list was realized to determine the best fighter in the world. Sugar Ray Robinson still, till this day, holds the P4P #1 ranking of all time by all boxing historians.
Since his death in 1989, Sugar Ray Robinson’s legacy continues to thrive. Muhammad Ali acknowledged Robinson’s influence on his footwork and smooth flowing punches, clearly emulating his hero’s flamboyant style throughout his career. Sugar Ray Leonard, inspired by Robinson’s combinations, took on the first name ‘Sugar’, paying homage to the original Pound for Pound King.
Sugar Ray Robinson was blessed with a talent.
That talent has inspired something great.
THE ROBINSON COLLECTION
Engineered with SMRT-TEC technology to keep you dry throughout your workout
A hidden, elasticated hood lets you block out any distractions
Thumbholes ensure the jacket moves with you instead of weighing you down
Ventilation panels provide optimal airflow during the times you need it most
Featured image by Orlando Fernandez