Famous Ring Wars: Sugar Ray Robinson vs Joey Maxim – Pt 2
By John F. McKenna (McJack): Although Robinson continued to pile up points and win rounds the intense heat and humidity appeared to be taking its toll. At one point his corner urged him to slow down and asked him if he thought he was Jack Dempsey.
After the 9th round Sugar Ray plopped down wearily on his stool. Later he would recount that he had no memory of anything that happened after that.
Famed referee Ruby Goldstein feeling the effects of the heat collapsed after the 10th round and had to be replaced by substitute referee Ray Miller. Goldstein later said that it was so hot in the ring that he felt as though he was being roasted to death.
At the end of the 11th round Robinson wandered aimlessly around the ring and wound up in a neutral corner. It was obvious to ringside observers that Sugar Ray was close to exhaustion. Sugar Ray had an insurmountable lead and other than a knockout Maxim was headed for defeat.
In the 12th round Robinson found some inner reserve of strength and went on the attack again, but the result was that he exhausted any remaining energy he had. When he came out for the 13th round Sugar Ray walked around the ring as if his feet were weighted down. His punches were now infrequent and when he wasn’t punching his hands were down at his sides. Maxim, hopelessly behind on the scorecards could not believe his good fortune and began pressing the attack. Near the end of the round Robinson swung wildly at Maxim, missed and fell on his face. He arose slowly and finished the round.
When the round was over his handlers drug Sugar Ray to his corner and administered smelling salts and applied ice to the back of his neck. The ring doctor asked him if he was able to continue. He shook his head, physically unable to rise from his stool.
When the bell rang for the start of the 14th round, with Robinson still sitting on his stool Maxim was declared the winner. Robinson had an overwhelming lead on all the scorecards.
Later on in his dressing room Sugar Ray suffered from delirium and his body was covered with blisters. He had lost 12 pounds during the fight. Robinson’s good buddy Joe Louis visited him in his dressing room and was shocked at his appearance. He later said that he was like a dead man and that the fight should have been stopped after the 11th round.
Robinson refused hospitalization and went to his mother’s house to recuperate.
Two months later Robinson announced his retirement acknowledging that he was no longer the fighter he had been in prior years. Of course his retirement didn’t stick.
He would fight again and again become the middleweight champion of the world. But the great Sugar Ray Robinson of the pre 1952 era was no more.
The fight also took much from Joey Maxim. He would lose his light heavyweight crown to Archie Moore six months later and never fight again on the same level. Maxim to some degree resented all the accolades that came Robinson’s way despite his winning their fight. He would recount in later years that it was hot on his side of the ring as well.
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