1946-12-20 Sugar Ray Robinson w pts 15 Tommy Bell, Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA - NY
1946-12-20 Sugar Ray Robinson w pts 15 Tommy Bell, Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA - NY. Referee: Eddie Joseph. Scorecards: 10-5, 10-5, 8-6. Contesting the title vacated by Marty Servo, Robinson (146½) seemed only a shell of his normal self against Bell (146), but still had enough on him to win the unanimous decision. In Robinson’s previous fight he had been knocked down and hurt by Artie Levine, and a left hook from Bell had him on the floor as early as the second round. This was not the Robinson of old and he winced every time Bell went for the body, as well as being staggered often by the left hook to the jaw. Having gone the first ten rounds hugging each other at every opportunity, Robinson woke up in the 11th to floor Bell for ‘seven’ with a cracking right, and although the latter looked decidedly weak for the rest of the session he defied all attempts to put him away. Forced to go through another rough passage in the 12th, Bell got himself together and won the last two rounds against the sluggish Robinson, who might have won the unanimous decision but in doing so did not impress too many onlookers.
Almost immediately following the fight, the NBA recognised that Robinson was the best man around and gave him their unequivocal backing.
Rated number six by The Ring magazine, Jimmy Doyle would be Robinson’s next challenger. Doyle had lost just six of 51 contests and had beaten men such as Aldo Spoldi, Nick Moran, Ralph Zannelli (twice), Chuck Hunter, Tommy Bell, Lew Jenkins and Danny Kapilow.