1958-03-25 Sugar Ray Robinson w pts 15 Carmen Basilio, The Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, USA - WORLD

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1958-03-25 Sugar Ray Robinson w pts 15 Carmen Basilio, The Stadium, Chicago, Illinois, USA - WORLD. Referee: Frank Sikora. Scorecards: 71-64, 72-65, 66-69. The first five rounds were very much in favour of the champion, who again attacked the body before Robinson (159¾) began to get up a head of steam in the sixth. Picking his punches carefully he opened up a bad cut over his rival’s left eye, but while scoring well he was badly hurt at times when Basilio (153) got through. Although rocked in the tenth, Robinson came out strongly to force the fight all the way to the finishing post. Regardless of that, when unable to knock the gallant Basilio over he had to settle for the points that enabled him to regain the title for the fifth time.

Having remained inactive for over a year, and been given a deadline by the NBA to sign for a defence against Basilio by 25 April 1959, Robinson ignored the edict and was stripped at the beginning of May. At that juncture, the NBA declared the championship vacant, matching Basilio with Gene Fullmer for their version of the title, while the NYSAC stated that as far as they were concerned Robinson had until 15 May to sign. George Gainford, Robinson’s manager, had recently announced that the champion would meet Basilio on 21 September, but admitted nothing had been signed. At the end of May, Basilio still had not signed to meet either Robinson or Fullmer, leaving the authorities guessing. While Robinson was saying Basilio did not want to fight him again, the latter retorted that he had spent 14 months negotiating with the champion to no avail. When Basilio was said to be looking for a match with Fullmer to decide the NBA title, the NYSAC said they stood by Robinson as they had proof that he had signed for a defence against Basilio. With Massachusetts, having recently left the NBA, supporting the NYSAC, there had been talk that Robinson would meet Paul Pender, who barely made the top ten, and this came to fruition in early August when it was announced the two men would meet on 15 December in Boston. However, with Robinson needing a warm-up fight, not having boxed for more than 18 months, the date was eventually pushed into January 1960.