Peerless - The Sugar Ray Robinson Story

In polls of who is the best 'pound for pound' boxer in the history of the sport, one name dominates. In a professional career lasting more than 25 years, Sugar Ray Robinson fought more than 200 times, winning more than half by knockout on the way to capturing world titles no less than five times.

Born Walker Smith Jnr in 1920, Sugar Ray grew up in Depression-hit America where the boxing ring or gangsterism were the only way out of poverty. Sugar Ray chose the ring, coming under the tutelage of the trainer George Gainford at his Salem Crescent gym in New York and producing an outstanding amateur career of 89 fights with 89 victories. His march to a world title when he turned professional was inexorable. He lost just once in his first 100 fights, to the rough, tough Jake La Motta, whose bouts with Robinson were to end up as cinematic folklore through the biopic Raging Bull. Indeed, more than 20 of his fights have become part of fistic folklore. He won his first title at Welterweight by defeating Tommy Bell in December 1946. In 1951 he added the Middleweight tile by defeating La Motta in their brutal fifth encounter before surprisingly losing it to Randolph Turpin and regaining it again two months later. Less than a year later he was unlucky not to add the Light Heavyweight title when he lost a bruising encounter with Joey Maxim. Following this fight Robinson retired only to return to the ring more than two years later and, astonishingly, regain the World Middleweight title twice more. His bouts with Carl Bobo Olsen, Gene Fullmer and Carmen Basillio have become the stuff of legend.

In 'Peerless', this new biography of Sugar Ray, father and son writing team from Manchester, Brian Hughes MBE and Damian Hughes, examine his career, focusing not only on the great bouts but also on the character of the man, whose life out of the ring was a roller coaster ride of ups and downs.