The fabulous Sugar Ray Robinson, the man in the light fuchsia Cadillac, has illuminated 19 brilliant years of boxing history. His record of titles won, lost and regained, and his ability at the age of 37 (or 38) to go through 15 rounds to victory against one of the ring's most damaging sluggers—these are feats without precedent in boxing, unlikely ever to be equaled.
Sugar Ray falls only just short of being a national institution. The better to judge his career and marvel at the length of its span, consider the events of world history it paralleled:
1939 Hitler signs love pact with Stalin. Ray wins Golden Gloves featherweight title.
1940 Leon Trotsky assassinated. Floyd Patterson enters kindergarten. Sugar Ray wins Golden Gloves lightweight title, turns pro.
1941 Japan attacks Pearl Harbor. Sugar wins 20 fights, beating Fritzie Zivic.
1942 First nuclear chain reaction at University of Chicago. Robinson beats 14, including Jake LaMotta.
1943 Pay-as-you-go income tax inaugurated. Robinson loses one to LaMotta, his first defeat. Three weeks later he beats LaMotta, then Henry Armstrong.
1944 Roosevelt elected to fourth term. Sugar Ray wins five small fights.
1945 Year of Roosevelt's death, Mussolini's assassination, Hitler's suicide, A-bombs over Japan and war's end. Ray wins eight, and draws against Jos� Basora.
1946 Lord Haw Haw hanged. Goering commits suicide. Sugar Ray wins welter-weight championship from Tommy Bell.