Sugar Ray Robinson is seen by the majority as the greatest boxer who ever lived, amongst his many fans who place him at the top of the boxing tree were 2 legends of the sport, Joe Louis – one of the all time greats at heavyweight and a man who modelled his style of boxing on Sugar Ray Robinson, Muhammad Ali – the most famous fighter in history.
Robinson did a lot of things extremely well and there was very little he could not do well, in fact I cannot come up with a single weakness Robinson possessed, he was great in every facet of boxing and that’s why he was the best ever.
One of the things Robinson was especially good at, possibly the best, was throwing the hook. In the history of boxing there are very very few fighters who can claim to have had a hook as good as Sugar Ray Robinson. Roy Jones Jr would certainly be right up there with Robinson, Joe Frazier would undoubtedly be mentioned as having one of the finest left hooks in the sport, but as a whole, Robinson was so versatile with how he used the hook, you’ve got to have him down as the greatest exponent of using the hook.
The short video below shows just a few methods Robinson used employing the hook. Robinson could effortlessly switch between hooks to the body and hooks to the head, this is called switching levels. There was no loss of power when Robinson whipped a hook to the body followed by a hook to the head, what is even more amazing is that he could double and even triple this up.
Sugar Ray could also transition between the right and left hooks, this is a combination I don’t see enough of, Robinson could throw a right hook to the body and then immediately whip out a left hook to the head, jab, right hook body, left hook head. This is switching levels again but instead of doing it with the same hand, he is switching levels with both hands – outstanding.
The Double left hook is a common hooking combination, Sugar Ray’s was especially lethal because of his speed and whipping like motion. The double hook was a combo that Sugar Ray had plenty of knockouts with. Robinson didn’t just stop there, he could triple his hooks up and even more throw than that. The elastic recoil on Sugar Ray Robinson has not been seen since.
Ask a number of boxing historians what was the greatest left hook ever thrown and I am pretty sure the majority of them would select the perfect left hook thrown by Sugar Ray Robinson against Gene Fulmer. The reason this punch was so perfect wasn’t just because of Robinson’s set up and trap which Fulmer fell in to, it was because of the ever so slight feint employed by Robinson and how he was able to release knockout power with barely a drop of his hooking hand, the hook barely had any distance to travel but it was so perfectly timed, it knocked out a man who possessed more than a solid chin.
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