Editors Note: We're blogging through We Didn't Start the Fire by Billy Joel.
Sugar Ray Robinson was born Walker Smith Jr. in the spring of 1921. At the age of 15, he tried to get into a boxing match, but was not old enough to compete. He then went to his friend Ray Robinson, borrowed his birth certificate, and got in at the fake age of 18.
Someone at the match referred to ‘Ray Robinson’ as being ‘sweet as sugar’, and thus Sugar Ray Robinson was born.
Sugar Ray was easy to spot - one of the very few African American boxers of his time. However, everyone knew that he was ‘pound for pound, the best’. Muhammad Ali referred to Sugar Ray as ‘the king, the master, my idol.’
Besides being a famous boxer, Sugar Ray also was a tap-dancer, an actor, and a singer.
The band Sugar Ray (that initially came up as I started researching) stated in an interview that they got their name from Sugar Ray Robinson, while other interview said they got their name from Sugar Ray Leonard, another boxer, who got his name from Sugar Ray Robinson.
But even Sugar Ray Leonard says that ‘Sugar Ray Robinson was the greatest.’