On September 12, 1951, former middleweight champion Sugar Ray Robinson defeats Randy Turpin to regain the belt before 61,370 spectators at the Polo Grounds in New York City. Robinson, a New York City native, had lost the belt to Turpin 8 weeks prior in Turpin’s native London.
By 1951, Sugar Ray Robinson was considered the very best pound-for-pound fighter in boxing history. That summer, Robinson traveled to Great Britain for a secondary and publicity tour before his scheduled July 10 bout with Turpin, where Sugar Ray was heavily favored. To the surprise of his fans all over 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 down the road September 12, the Polo Grounds set a middleweight fight attendance record for the rematch. The crowd was filled up with well-known personalities from U.S. Army General Douglas MacArthur to stars of film and stage. Robinson, intent on avenging his loss, trained for the rematch intensely, refusing to once take his opponent too lightly again. From the initial ring of the bell, the 31-year-old Robinson dictated the pace of the fight to his 23-year-old opponent, and won each one of the first seven rounds decisively. In the eighth round, however, Robinson seemed to tire, and Turpin fought with a fresh intensity, hitting and hurting Robinson for the very 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 could wrest back control of the fight in the 10th, when he knocked Turpin down with the right to the jaw. When Turpin was prepared to continue, Robinson, re-energized, unleashed an onslaught to his body and head. Two minutes and 52 seconds in to 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 in to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1967.