Sugar Ray Robinson
Robinson, in his 1969 autobiography, professed to drinking beef blood for vitamin fortification. Perhaps it worked, because he endured a 25-year career, having fought a total of 202 bouts, of which 109 ended in knockout. He won sixty-six by decision, posted six draws and only nineteen losses—with only one loss by knockout. Critics concur that he was the most capable boxer in the history of the sport.
Robinson, who stood 5-feet-11-inches tall, never finished junior high school, having slowly abandoned his studies as his amateur boxing career materialized. Just before he dropped out of school altogether, an adolescent fling with a schoolmate led to a teenage marriage and the birth of his first son, Ronnie. The marriage was later annulled according to the wishes of the girl's parents.
On May 29, 1943, soon after his induction into the Army, Robinson married Edna Mae Holly, a dancer, in Chicago. Holly, a college graduate, proved to be a great asset for Robinson. In addition to her attractive appearance and sincere devotion to him as a partner, she encouraged him to become well spoken, an asset that greatly enhanced his public image. Their son, Ray Jr., was born on November 19, 1949. Although the two stayed together for many years, Robinson by his own admission was not the most faithful of husbands. In 1963 Holly obtained a Mexican divorce. Robinson married Mildred Wiggins Bruce on May 25, 1965.
Over the course of his professional career Robinson earned an estimated $4 million dollars and was known for his generosity as much as for his fighting ability. Following his ill-fated bout with Doyle in 1947, he gave several thousand dollars to Doyle's mother and later set up a small annuity for her. Similarly, on August 9, 1950, he donated all but one dollar of one prize purse to cancer research, in memory of Valentine, who had died of cancer and was a friend and Golden Gloves opponent to Robinson.
After a final farewell to boxing in 1965, Robinson retired to Los Angeles where he founded the Sugar Ray Robinson Youth Foundation in 1969. He died from heart problems on April 12, 1989, having suffered from Alzheimer's disease for several years prior. He lays buried in Inglewood Cemetery in Los Angeles.
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