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jim glen
03-29-2006, 07:26 PM
Who were Ray Robinson's Top 10 opponents, in order of skill and excellence?

The Sugarman had that many fights you could just as easily list his top 25, who and what order would you rate them in?

Thanks guys, Jim.

The Shoemaker
03-30-2006, 04:33 AM
Off the top of my head, I'd have to say that Gavalin was the best fighter he ever beat; especially considering that Gavalin is definatly a top 10 all time welter and maybe a top 5. And Robinson beat him easy in their title fight. Obviously LaMotta is a tougher fight for Robinson, but Jake did have a 16 llb weight advantage when he beat Robinson. Style wise Zivic's a pain for Robinson. Armstrong was about done when Ray beat him. With respect to Turpin, he did beat a closer to his prime Robinson compared to the guys that beat him in the mid to late 50's. although Robinson did underestimate him in their first fight, Turpin was either winning or the fight was close when Ray landed his bomb. I'd have to think before i rate any more. Actually, some of his tougher opponents came when he was past his peak (kind of like Ali).

hawk5ins
03-30-2006, 09:05 AM
Lamotta
Gavilan
Basilio
Fullmer
Armstong
Zivic
Angott
Olson
Turpin
Bell

Probably forgetting someone obvious.

hawk

dnahar
04-01-2006, 01:57 AM
Based on when he fought them and the circumstances (not their overall credentials, ie Armstrong was way past his prime), I would say the following:

1 Jake LaMotta-Focusing more on the early wars where Ray gave away many pounds to LaMotta and the pressure of LaMotta's style always gave the Sugar Man fits

2 Kid Gavilan-his best title defense and Gavilan was in his prime

3 Randy Turpin-not only did he beat Robinson, but the second fight was close to being stopped in his favor before Robinson went for broke to end it

4 Gene Fullmer-tough fighter for Robinson, and he even led the second fight on points before being clocked with the famous left hook

5 Carmen Basilio-crouching pressure gave Robinson trouble and both were similarly welterweights that moved up

6 Tiger Jones-gave Robinson his 3rd career loss and was a tough, experienced fighter that sadly became a trial horse towards the end of his career

7 Tommy Bell-knocked down Robinson and gave him his toughest fight at welterweight

8 Rocky Castellani-A tough fight for Robinson coming soon after his unretirement and a perennial contender

9 Bobo Olson-HOF that could hold his own against anyone but Robinson had his number and conclusively KO'd him several times

10 Joey Giardello-an awkward fighter that would have been tough on Robinson even in his prime; fought him when he was done

Deepak

The Shoemaker
04-01-2006, 09:03 PM
Here is how I see it :

1)Gavilan (he didn't have the luxury of a 16 llb weight advantage when he fought Robinson, had one fairly close fight and the second one he did get two 9-6 scores against the welterweight Robinson, who most consider the greatest p4p fighter ever)

2)LaMotta

3)Turpin "51" Robinson's way better than the post "55" Robinson

4)Fullmer- a lesser version of LaMotta, but still a beast. How many fighters can take THAT shot and come back with the same aggression against the same opponent? If someone took Tyson out with a shot like that, he'd be looking to foul out in the first round of the rematch

5)Basillio- like Fullmer, fought a lesser version of Robinson than Turpin, LaMotta, and Gavilan did, but still has the right style to fight Robinson.

6)Servo- another guy that gave a prime Robinson two tough fights.

7)Zivic- was starting to fade but did give Robinson at least one good fight

8)Graziano- another guy that was fading, but was still dangerous, and had Robinson down.

9)Bell- like the previous poster mentioned, gave him a tough fight.

Tie between Levine and Maxim
10) Artie Levine- I had to throw in a sleeper (makes you look impressive). Looking at this guy's record, he must have had some power and had Robinson in big trouble, according to what I've read

10) Joey Maxim- unlike most of the guys on the list Maxim's an easy style match up for Robinson. Mainly he can't punch. But he may crack some top twenty Light heavyweight lists. Maxim would definatly give Moore and Charles a better fight than Robinson would have (notice Robinson will challange Maxim for the title but not Moore)

HE Grant
04-02-2006, 03:42 PM
Is it me or does there seem to be many other fighters who fought better levels of opposition during their respective careers?

Four immediately come to mind, Ali, Langford, Charles and Moore.

Another point and I admit I'm not an expert on the time period but the guy who posted a while back that maybe Ray chose to avoid some of the toughest black fighters over his career might have had a point.

The Shoemaker
04-02-2006, 05:49 PM
Yes, You are correct. Robinson was a businessman first, fighter second. In fact he priced himself out of a third Basilio fight (which I am sure he wished he'd have taken considering he went broke). No question he ducked some of the black welterweight/ JR. middleweight fighters (Cocoa Kid, Burley, holeman Williams) of the 40's. But it doesn't mean he wouldn't have beaten them. Him and Joe Louis were the only black fighters of that era who had marketing appeal.

Part of Robinson's mystique was his record (I think he had over 100 wins with one loss at one time), so he's not risking a loss by fighting for peanuts (he'll take the risk against LaMotta, because he'll get paid a ton to fight him). Of coarse all of the black fighters of that era wanted to fight him, because they were going no where financially and a win over Robinson would put them on the map- plus robinson's "peanuts" purses for those guys was a ton of money. Like I once argued with a Charley Burley supporter" Burley needs Robinson more than Robinson needs Burley". Plus, Robinson shouldn't be crticised for not fighting the "Black Murderers Row" Middleweights, because he is a welterweight (their point is "he fought LaMotta" - he also got paid a ton for fighting LaMotta).

And Robinson did defend against Gavilan, and far as I know the middleweights he defended against in the 1950's were the best fighters. You are right that Langford and charles fought better competition than Robinson, but they were in the position of being on the "outside looking in" rather than at the top (although Charles finally cracks through). Ali's a rarity, he'll fight anyone anywhere (although I have argued that he did slightly duck Foreman when he got old) and he's the one with everything to lose.

Although Charles didn't duck anyone as champion, and i doubt if Langford would have, still i can give you the example of Archie Moore. Moore fought everyone when he was a hungery contender, but once he won the title, he ducked Harold Johnson after he beat Johnson in a great fight. In fact it got so bad that even Ring Magazine stripped Moore of his title years after the NYSAC and NBA did, for not defending against Johnson. The same Ring Magazine that used to pride itself on the basis that "Titles are won and lost in the ring.

hawk5ins
04-03-2006, 09:42 AM
Did Robby face the best opp bar none? Probably not. But the bulk listing of his opponents and the number of times he faced many of them, has to count for something. Add to it, WHEN he began facing high quality opponents, and how long the was facing them for over a 25 year career.

Let's consider he made his pro debut on the undercard of Armstrong Zivic I in which Fritzie took the title form Hank. Less than 13 months later Robby was facing the very same Zivic in the Garden. And in PRIOR to that had faced and defeated future Welterweight Champ Marty Servo and then Current NBA Lightweight Champ Sammy Angott (who would claim World title honors later that year in 41.)

Fast forward to Ray's final bout agianst Joey Archer. Ray is 45 and must be fighting a stiff right? Joey Archer ,two fights after the Robinson fight was facing Emile Griffith in back to back title fights, BOTH of whihc he lost by an eyeblink. Had Ray WON the fight, he would have gotten the title shot at Griff. (Before anyone gives me the "Joey lost to Don Fullmer in his bout between Ray and Emile" stuff, I would ask that some research of THAT fight be done first.)

Slap in all of the Hall of famers Ray met in between and to say he has a resume that doesn't stand up to ANYONE else's and forgive me, but I have to chuckle at that.

As far as the "ducking" of fighters, I refer to the timeline that I previously put together re Murders row and who among them actually COULD have faced Robinson based on time and weight.

Ray is not ABOVE scrutiny, but broad based comments made by doing a quick peruse of a resume and not doing any detailed research, imo are comments that should be dismissed.

Just my opinion. I could be wrong.

Hawk

Sharkey
04-03-2006, 10:05 AM
I always thought Moore declined to meet Johnson because he had defeated him multiple times already...and was not about to fall-in-line to legitimize someone else's view of how his career ought to play out. The Maxim nonsense he had to endure..his multiple rivalry matches with Charles, Johnson, etc I thought may have worn on him a bit.

Ducked is an odd word to use if my impression is correct which it very well may not be. Moore indeed may have been uneasy about meeting Harold, though I see no reason why he would fear Johnson specifically.

As for Robbo...to comment on his line at the end of his post; I don't think Hawk is wrong.

hawk5ins
04-03-2006, 10:31 AM
He beat Johnson in 1949. He split two bouts with him in 1951. Beat him agian in 1952 and then stopped him in 14 in 1954.

He went 3-1 with him over the course of 5 years. There were issues with Johnson in 55' and 56' whihc led to prolonged inactivity. Drug use or a "bad" orange led to his being suspended for a period of time.

In 55' Moore was fighting at Heavy and other than a defense agianst Pompey in 56, his focus was on heavy as well. See Challenges to Marciano and Patterson respectively.

57 he defended agianst Anthony and in 58 and 59 agianst Durelle. Arch was also in his mid 40's by now. Given that he had defeated Johnson in a title fight and WAS 3-1 with him, I think ducking is a bit strong.

Looking for easier fights as a career wound down while in one's mid 40's after going 3-1 with the man looking for another shot at your belt? I agree with the decsion to have his belt taken. But I also don't think Moore was afraid of Johnson. There were easier ways to make money than facing someone for the 5th time.

Hawk

phlboxarc
04-03-2006, 10:58 AM
Don't forget that Robinson also beat the welterweight version of the "Black Murderers Row." Jackie Wilson, George "Sugar" Costner and Tommy Bell.

Wilson was considered by many as the best welterweight in the world (even better than Ray) when they first met. Many old time Philly experts say that when Ray crushed Costner in 1950 that it was Ray's greatest fight. Costner would beat Ike Williams, Kid Gavilan and Gene Burton that same year. And Bell was a feared contender when Ray topped him twice in the mid-forties.

Elmer Ray
04-03-2006, 01:57 PM
Although Charles didn't duck anyone as champion, and i doubt if Langford would have, still i can give you the example of Archie Moore. Moore fought everyone when he was a hungery contender, but once he won the title, he ducked Harold Johnson after he beat Johnson in a great fight. In fact it got so bad that even Ring Magazine stripped Moore of his title years after the NYSAC and NBA did, for not defending against Johnson. The same Ring Magazine that used to pride itself on the basis that "Titles are won and lost in the ring.


moore beat him 4 times already, so we cant hold that against moore.


- the real question is considering johnsons dominance in the heavy division, how come he never sought to challenge marciano or even patterson?

HE Grant
04-03-2006, 02:21 PM
Look one would have to be silly to try and present a case of Ray Robinson not being an exceptional fighter. The only however here is that he did seem to avoid some of the tougher , black middleweights later in his career because he could do so.

At 37 Sam Langford was fighting and knocking out Harry Wills.

Nuff Said.

hawk5ins
04-03-2006, 02:55 PM
Langford was competeing at heavyweight and had been doing so for years.

The criticism of Robinson not facing many of the many of the Murderer's row fighters is baseless. Not counting the Welterweight Additions that Phlboxarc just mentioned, the group of fighters that has expanded to include fightes such as Charles and Bivins and other fighters who fought inin divisions north of Robby, really has a limited number of potential entrants based on when primes or near primes crossed and most of them don't qulaify based on different divisions they competed in.

So other than Burley, I have yet to see a fighter who really can make a claim that Ray ducked him. ANd even the Burley postion can be logically rebutted given the value he brought to the table.

Fair? Not really. But did Burley really do anything to enhance his marketability? Very little actually. Pride and principal are all well and good. But when you don't have a bargaining chip, stubborness doesn't bode very well for you.

And let's remember here, When Burley was in his prime as a Middleweight, it was Zale and his army service that really put the screws to Burley's title chances. Not Robby at 147 when HE finally won the belt in late 1946, which let's ALSO remember, was the last truly good year of Burley's career.

Hawk

The Shoemaker
04-03-2006, 02:56 PM
Hawk,
I am not arguing that Moore was a better fighter than Johnson, and I think he would have probably beaten him in a 5th fight (although by the late 50's -early 60's, I am not so sure). but it can't be argued that Moore was stripped for refusing to fight him. My take is that Moore as an old man, isn't going throught that kind of a war, for THAT KIND of MONEY. He'd rather fight heavies, then cut weight and fight a stiff or two to keep his Light Heavy belt,
which gives him some marketability. as far as I know, i am sure Harold Johnson tried to fight Marciano or Patterson, why wouldn't he, look at the money he'd make. Actually, i am surprised D'Amato didn't have Patterson defend against him. i just don't think that they can legitimize him as a title contender, at least in regards to making a big money fight.

Sharkey
04-03-2006, 03:07 PM
Shoe,

I am lost regarding your last few posts. Bear with me.

In your third from last, you point to Maxim being the target for Ray and not Moore. Maxim would be vindicated to indeed make a better fight for Moore than Robinson in as much as he fought Moore three times for the title...by sign-your-life-away-arrangement of course. Robinson not fighting Moore counts against Ray as much as Hagler never facing Spinks in my book.

Next, did you not present Moore as an example of someone ducking an opponent..as an example that could be pointed out as he differs from Charles and Robinson? And as to why we look at Moore in the first place I am not sure. Anyway, Moore indeed defended his belt about once a year through his reign....

It is commonly known that he was stripped for in fact not fighting him (Johnson), or pretty much anyone else at LH in defense of the belt. Given his forays into heavyweight.

I guess I am confused mostly by how in one post you point to Moore as one who avoided challenges..and ducking Johnson is used as an example of such. Moore then was your example of a fighter ducking another.

Then in your next post you state that you really weren't implying he was ducking a guy, but in fact merely did not fight him. Thisis where I am in the woods looking for a path to follow.

Is this really an example of how Moore..or anyone really, didn't face the requisite opposition required of a great? Lennox Lewis never faced Ruiz. Was he ducking him? And this pertains to Robinson in the extent that....

I apologize if I miss an obvious overriding point here.

phlboxarc
04-03-2006, 03:40 PM
Believe me Robinson would have boxed Williams, Burley and Booker if he thought the financial inducements were comparable to Graziano, LaMotta, etc. But the fact is They had no big fan base to entice Ray. He wanted guys who would pack MSG. Business was first on Robinson's mind.

When Booker came East he boxed cautiously against Zivic and Williams, when an impressive showing would have impressed the N.Y. scribes and fans which could have led to bigger matches.
Williams, great craftsman that he was, never was a crowd pleaser and most of his bouts were reported in the press as being "boring."
Even Burley had a hard time whetting the fans appitite, and there was never a big demand by NYC fans to see him. The scribes and critics never denied Burley's fantastic ability but just weren't impressed that he would be a great draw.

Robinson didn't need them financially so he probably reasoned why should I risk boxing them giving away some weight
for a lot less. The shame of it is that for us historians the matches between Robinson vs Williams, Burley and Booker are more attractive to us today than they were tho the fans back in the '40's.

Chuck

hawk5ins
04-03-2006, 03:47 PM
is the comparison being made with Robby was Langford at 37 and then the comment was Robby avoided these guys later in his middleweight career.

The thing is, nearly ALL of them were either retired or fighting heavyweight by the time Ray won the middleweight belt in 1951.

So I'm not seeing this large list of fighters he avoided and CERTAINLY not any of these guys when he was fighter LATE into his middleweight career.

Hawk

Elmer Ray
04-03-2006, 04:04 PM
Hawk,
I am not arguing that Moore was a better fighter than Johnson, and I think he would have probably beaten him in a 5th fight (although by the late 50's -early 60's, I am not so sure). but it can't be argued that Moore was stripped for refusing to fight him. My take is that Moore as an old man, isn't going throught that kind of a war, for THAT KIND of MONEY. He'd rather fight heavies, then cut weight and fight a stiff or two to keep his Light Heavy belt,
which gives him some marketability. as far as I know, i am sure Harold Johnson tried to fight Marciano or Patterson, why wouldn't he, look at the money he'd make. Actually, i am surprised D'Amato didn't have Patterson defend against him. i just don't think that they can legitimize him as a title contender, at least in regards to making a big money fight.



johnson never tried to fight marciano. dont know why, he was at the peak of his career. i think the reason was he was more concerned about getting a title shot vs moore before he concentraed on marciano. remember he fought moore for the 175lb title during marcianos title reign. johnson just never was interested at a fight with marciano.


- i believe johnson was interested at patterson but D amato sidestepped it.


johnson was a heavyweight killer, however he never made a move to fight for the heavyweight crown

The Shoemaker
04-04-2006, 03:47 AM
Sharkey,
I used Moore as an example of a fighter, who on the way up would fight anyone, but once he got there risk vrs reward take over. Plus a previous poster brought up Charles, Langford, Moore, and Ali. So I went into the four of them. Maybe we are into semantics with the Moore "ducking" Johnson. Do I think he feared him, no. do I think he wanted to fight him again, for the purse they were offering, no. Yes, Moore did beat him 3 out of 4, but that last fight for the title was a hell of a fight, so I have no doubt a 5th fight would have also been as well (plus Moore's slipping faster than Johnson, who is still a hell of a fighter during the early 60's). Although the sanctioning bodies are corrupt with their rankings (Hagler forced to fight Oblemejas twice) at least they force the champion to defend once a year vrs the #1 contender (or 18 months-I can't remember) Johnson was the number #1 contender for about 5 years (and the best fighter out there at light heavy for Moore to fight), so I think that they had every right to strip Moore. I don't think it was a case of Moore thinking, "I've already beat this guy 3 out of 4, what do I have to prove", rather "this guy can beat me, and I am not taking the risk for that kind of money". whether ducking is the correct word or not is debatable.

HE Grant
04-06-2006, 07:42 AM
Phlboxarc: Don't waste your time describing the economic risk/reward decisions made by fighters like a Robinson or a Roy Jones...too many here think a guy should simply fight anyone or they are not champs...they forget fighters do this for the money, take the punches and manage their careers/health.

kikibalt
06-08-2006, 11:17 AM
http://i6.tinypic.com/1232j5d.jpg

Sugar Ray Robinson vs Kid Gavilan

http://i6.tinypic.com/1232lio.jpg

SRR vs Charlie Fusari

http://i6.tinypic.com/1232mhd.jpg

SRR vs Randy Turpin

http://i6.tinypic.com/1232ons.jpg

SRR vs Gene Fullmer

dongee
06-08-2006, 03:40 PM
Don't forget that Robinson also beat the welterweight version of the "Black Murderers Row." Jackie Wilson, George "Sugar" Costner and Tommy Bell.

Wilson was considered by many as the best welterweight in the world (even better than Ray) when they first met. Many old time Philly experts say that when Ray crushed Costner in 1950 that it was Ray's greatest fight. Costner would beat Ike Williams, Kid Gavilan and Gene Burton that same year. And Bell was a feared contender when Ray topped him twice in the mid-forties.

Chuck:

The fight between our Jackie Wilson (California's) and Tommy Bell will always stay in my mind, not only for the tremendous fireworks it set off, but because we, at the Olympic in L.A. that night were witnessing a classic matchup for the world's welterweight title----that would be a world sans the presence of Ray Robinson, of course.

Jackie barely arose, groggily, from a nine-count to floor a charging Tommy Bell, sensationally, and turn the tide if only for a few seconds. Because Bell had a bit more in the gas tank he was the ultimate winner.

Trouble is Ray would probably have whipped them both in one night. I have always thought Robinson the greatest fighter I ever saw, but ONLY as a welterweight. No one could approach his all-around ring talent at 147 and we had a dozen or more terrific guys in the division at the time.

More to the point: It's not easy choosing the man who gave Ray his toughest go-----even when he was getting whacked around you somehow knew that he would win the damned fight eventually!

hap navarro

kikibalt
06-10-2006, 11:27 AM
http://i5.tinypic.com/13z8n0z.jpg

Randy Turpin vs SRR