1950-08-09 Sugar Ray Robinson w pts 15 Charley Fusari, Roosevelt Stadium, Jersey City, New Jersey, USA - WORLD

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1950-08-09 Sugar Ray Robinson w pts 15 Charley Fusari, Roosevelt Stadium, Jersey City, New Jersey, USA - WORLD. Referee: Paul Cavalier. Scorecard: 14-1. Despite being weight-weakened, the champion had very little trouble on his way to taking the referee’s verdict at the end of 15 one-sided rounds, and at times simply allowed Fusari (145¼) the opportunity to recover when hurt. When he did manage to land on Robinson (147) Fusari was forced to take plenty in return, being cut over the left eye as early as the second round. After the fourth, which was Fusari’s best round, it was all downhill for him. And in the sixth and ninth especially, when staggered by lightning blows to the head, it looked as though he would be knocked out. However, Robinson chose to coast through the next few sessions before opening up again in the 14th and 15th when he beat off Fusari’s attacks and inflicted punishment with either hand before settling down to box his way to the final bell.

Having successfully defended the Pennsylvanian version of the middleweight title against Jose Basora and Carl Bobo Olson, within weeks of Robinson beating Jake LaMotta to become the world middleweight champion in February 1951 the NBA selected Johnny Bratton, who had recently knocked out Lester Felton and Bobby Dykes, to fight Fusari for their version of the championship after observing that the five leading contenders in The Ring magazine ratings after Robinson were Kid Gavilan, Bratton, Billy Graham, Fusari and Eddie Thomas.

In making the running the NBA alienated several other bodies, namely the NYSAC, BBBoC and EBU, and even Robinson himself, who stated that he had no thoughts of handing in his welter title. That was surprising as immediately after the Fusari defence he was quoted as saying he would soon be giving up the crown due to weight problems. Although the New York Commission were angered by the NBA, who threw out Graham on the grounds that he had been beaten by Thomas in 1949, with the International Boxing Club in New York having Kid Gavilan under contract they eventually agreed that the winner of Bratton v Fusari would fight the Cuban in New York within 90 days.