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date: 21 April 2021

Robinson, Sugar Raylocked

(10 July 1922–12 April 1989)
  • Luckett V. Davis

Extract

Robinson, Sugar Ray (10 July 1922–12 April 1989), professional boxer, was born Walker Smith, Jr., in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Walker Smith, a laborer, and Leila Hurst, a seamstress. In 1927 his mother left his father and later, in 1932, moved with her children to New York City. There, the boy helped support the family by collecting and selling driftwood, delivering groceries, and dancing in the streets for coins; he received little formal schooling. At the age of fifteen he began boxing for George Gainford at the Salem Crescent Club and soon was competing in amateur programs. When he made his debut, he had no American Athletic Union card, and Gainford gave him the card of another boy, Ray Robinson, whose name he kept throughout his career. He acquired the nickname “Sugar Ray” after unexpectedly scoring his first knockout over a Canadian opponent at Watertown, New York, when a local sportswriter used it in his report of the fight....

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