Sugar Ray Robinson
Issue Date: April 7, 2006
City: New York, NY
Quantity Issued: 100,000,000
Boxer Sugar Ray Robinson (1921-89) was almost unstoppable in his prime. Born Walker Smith, Jr., Robinson was raised in New York and learned to box in a Harlem gym.
Once, when a fighter did not show up for a match at the gym, Ray stepped in to replace him. His trainer, George Gainford, supplied Ray with the necessary Amateur Athletic Union card from “extras” he kept handy. The name on the card was “Ray Robinson.” The teenager won the bout and kept the name.
In 1940, after taking the New York Golden Gloves championship, 19-year-old Sugar Ray turned pro. He won his first 40 fights before losing to Jake LaMotta. Robinson did not lose for another eight years. In 1946, he became the welterweight champion. In 1951, he took the middleweight title away from LaMotta.
Robinson left the ring in 1952, but returned in 1955. He won and lost the middleweight title three more times before retiring for good in 1965. His record included a 91-fight winning streak.
During his professional career, Sugar Ray Robinson had 175 wins, including 109 knockouts. The boxing historian Bert Sugar said, “Robinson could deliver a knockout blow going backward.”