Sugar Ray Robinson wins back belt - HISTORY
Year
1951

Sugar Ray Robinson wins back belt

On September 12, 1951, former middleweight champion Sugar Ray Robinson defeats Randy Turpin to win back the belt in front of 61,370 spectators at the Polo Grounds in New York City. Robinson, a New York City native, had lost the belt to Turpin two months prior in Turpin’s native London.

By 1951, Sugar Ray Robinson was considered the best pound-for-pound fighter in boxing history. That summer, Robinson traveled to Great Britain for a vacation and publicity tour before his scheduled July 10 bout with Turpin, in which Sugar Ray was heavily favored. To the surprise of his fans around the world, however, the surprisingly strong Turpin battered Robinson and won the match in a 15-round decision. Afterward, Robinson requested and was granted a rematch.

Two months later on September 12, the Polo Grounds set a middleweight fight attendance record for the rematch. The crowd was filled with well-known personalities from U.S. Army General Douglas MacArthur to stars of film and stage. Robinson, intent on avenging his loss, trained intensely for the rematch, refusing to once again take his opponent too lightly. From the first ring of the bell, the 31-year-old Robinson dictated the pace of the fight to his 23-year-old opponent, and won each of the first seven rounds decisively. In the eighth round, however, Robinson appeared to tire, and Turpin fought with a new intensity, hitting and hurting Robinson for the first time in the fight. In the ninth round, Turpin delivered numerous right hands to Robinson’s head, opening a cut over his left eye. Still, Robinson was able to wrest back control of the fight in the 10th, when he knocked Turpin down with a right to the jaw. When Turpin was ready to continue, Robinson, re-energized, unleashed an onslaught to his head and body. Two minutes and 52 seconds into the 10th round, referee Rudy Goldstein stopped the fight, and Robinson was showered with adulation from the adoring hometown crowd.

Robinson retired from boxing in 1965 with 110 knockouts to his credit. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1967.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Khrushchev elected Soviet leader

Six months after the death of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, Nikita Khrushchev succeeds him with his election as first secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.Born into a Ukrainian peasant family in 1894, Khrushchev worked as a mine mechanic before joining the Soviet ...read more

Violence in Boston over racial busing

In Boston, Massachusetts, opposition to court-ordered school “busing” turns violent on the opening day of classes. School buses carrying African American children were pelted with eggs, bricks, and bottles, and police in combat gear fought to control angry white protesters ...read more

Steven Biko dies

Steven Biko, leader of South Africa’s “Black Consciousness Movement,” dies of severe head trauma on the stone floor of a prison cell in Pretoria. Six days earlier, he had suffered a major blow to his skull during a police interrogation in Port Elizabeth. Instead of receiving ...read more

JFK marries Jacqueline Bouvier

Senator John Fitzgerald Kennedy of Massachusetts marries Jacqueline Lee Bouvier, a photographer for the Washington Times-Herald, at St. Mary’s Church in Newport, Rhode Island. More than 750 guests attended the ceremony presided over by Boston Archbishop Richard Cushing and ...read more

Lascaux cave paintings discovered

Near Montignac, France, a collection of prehistoric cave paintings are discovered by four teenagers who stumbled upon the ancient artwork after following their dog down a narrow entrance into a cavern. The 15,000- to 17,000-year-old paintings, consisting mostly of animal ...read more

The Laconia is sunk

On this day in 1942, a German U-boat sinks a British troop ship, the Laconia, killing more than 1,400 men. The commander of the German sub, Capt. Werner Hartenstein, realizing that Italians POWs were among the passengers, strove to aid in their ...read more

Situation deteriorates in South Vietnam

North Vietnamese Premier Pham Van Dong tells the French Consul: “You must remember we will be in Saigon tomorrow.” In November, he would tell the Canadian Commissioner: “We will drive the Americans into the sea.” The U.S. Embassy in Saigon eventually passed these remarks along ...read more

Barry White is born

Born in Galveston, Texas, on this day in 1944, Barry White–or “the Maestro”–went on to stunningly successful career as a pop singer that spanned five decades, and made him a star of the disco era.Having written several new songs and recorded his vocals for demo purposes only, ...read more

Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning elope

On this day in 1846, Elizabeth Barrett eloped with Robert Browing.Barrett was already a respected poet who had published literary criticism and Greek translations in addition to poetry. Her first volume of poetry, The Seraphim and Other Poems, appeared in 1838, followed by ...read more

Hurricane Gilbert slams Jamaica

Hurricane Gilbert slams into Jamaica, killing hundreds of people, on this day in 1988. The storm went on to cause death and destruction in Mexico and spur a batch of tornadoes in Texas.On September 10, Gilbert attained hurricane status west of the Dominican Republic. ...read more

Tyco execs indicted

Three former executives from Tyco International, including the CEO and CFO, are indicted in New York on charges that they stole hundreds of millions of dollars from the company. Two of the men, CEO Dennis Kozlowski and CFO Mark Swartz, were later convicted and given lengthy ...read more

German occupation rights are relinquished

Representatives from the United States, Great Britain, France, and the Soviet Union sign an agreement giving up all occupation rights in Germany. The largely symbolic action cleared the way for East and West Germany to reunite. In 1945, the Allied Powers–America, England, France, ...read more