Robinson vs Fullmer II
May 1st 1957, at Chicago Stadium, Sugar Ray Robinson and Gene Fullmer squared off in front of a crowd of 14,757 spectators. The almost 36-year-old Robinson was trying to avenge his loss from just four months earlier to the 25-year-old Fullmer.
The first fight, at Madison Square Garden, was a grueling 15 round unanimous decision in which the Utah native won convincingly. Fullmer was able to dictate the terms of their January clash with his pressure and steady onslaught to the body that caused Robinson to hold and clinch desperately in what appeared to be an effort to merely survive to the end of the 15th round.
As the rematch started it was as if the first three rounds was simply rounds 16, 17 and 18 of the first fight with Fullmer banging away at Robinson‘s body and charging in under Ray‘s sporadic offense. However, in the fourth round it became evident that the Sugar Man simply wasn’t going to allow this fight to become a repeat of four months ago.
With a little under a minute left in the fourth round Robinson began to land some razor sharp flurries to both the body and head of Fullmer. Then with Fullmer ahead on all three scorecards 19-18, five point must system, going into the fifth round something special happened.
After beginning to soften Fullmer up in round four with the flurries,Robinson began the fifth round allowing Gene to step inside while swinging and missing. After luring Fullmer into a false sense of confidence Robinson landed a hard right hand to the body as Fullmer was coming forward. After a couple of more misses by Fullmer, Ray landed another sharp right to the body that caused Gene to significantly drop his guard. With his guard lowered, Fullmer attempted to close the distance and Ray was able to land a perfect left hook to his chin. Fullmer fell to the canvas immediately but attempted toget up only to fall back down on his face and be counted out by referee Frank Sikora at 1:27 of round five.
Fullmer would later say: “I didn’t know anything about being hit. I didn’t know anything about being down. The first thing I knew I was standing up.Ray was in the other corner. I thought he was in great condition doing exercises between rounds.My manager crawled into the ring. I said ‘What happened?’ He said ‘They counted to ten.’ Up to then I didn’t know.”
Robinson was able to overcome 3 and a half to one odds as the underdog and also become the Middleweight Champion of the World for a record fourth time. Many observers felt this may have been one of the best performances of the legendary pugilist’s career as he was able to show once again why is widely considered the greatest pound for pound fighter of all time.
By: Chris “C-Bone” Henderson