In May 1951, when the famous Sugar Ray Robinson decided to fight Randy Turpin, the rest of the boxing world went into frenzy. Sugar Ray was one of the main names in the industry at the time and his legendary status is still apparent even today. He’s an all-time great of the sport, and was probably the best in the world in the 50s. he could outbox the showmen and power the big fighters – so what hope did Randy Turpin actually have against one of the world’s truly top, elite boxing names?
With 85 amateur wins and 40 1st-rounds KOs, Turpin knew he was in for the fight of his life. Sugar Ray had won his first 40 professional fights straight, and lost a controversial decision to Jake Lamotta in the early 40s. However, he destroyed Lamotta in a rematch just three weeks later and over time he won his next 90 fights in the ring. He won the middleweight title in 1951, after again beating Lamotta.
Widely popular across the entire world, there was little support for Turpin outside of the UK. While Turpin was a good boxer, Sugar Ray was a world great –but the fight never went the way that everybody thought it would. Instead, Turpin took the fight to Sugar Ray and had him on the ropes several times. On the run-up to the fight, Turpin had been in good form himself and showed no fear to the world-class star from abroad.
The fight continued to shock the crowd as Sugar Ray never got into his stride and was never able to land any convincing blows. Instead, Turpin beat him down slowly and by the end he had convincingly won the fight entirely. He won the fight on a decision, and Sugar Ray was magnanimous enough to admit so after the right. His was to be the start of a semi-rivalry between both man, albeit a friendly one.
Turpin got to get paraded around his home town and has become an instant hero in the world of UK sports – and no wonder! He beat one of the true great names in the boxing world, who had won 90 fights in a row!