Lee Groves

10: Notable Philadelphia title fights

8. July 11, 1949, Municipal Stadium — Sugar Ray Robinson W 15 Kid Gavilan II, world welterweight championship

Setting the Stage: The incomparable Robinson was making the fourth defense of his welterweight reign against the man who, in losing a non-title 10-rounder 10 months earlier, had challenged him like few others had. With rumors of weight problems swirling the weigh-in held as much drama as the fight. As a bony but smiling Robinson made 147 Gavilan, who weighed a comfortable 144 1/2, feigned smiling surprise.

What Happened: Unfortunately, no films of either Robinson-Gavilan fight exist. But according to the September 1949 issue of THE RING, Robinson-Gavilan II was a “most interesting and satisfying” fight in which Gavilan’s performance “was such as to make Ray admit that he feared to take chances.” Robinson suffered a cut over the right eye — a growing problem — in the fourth round that bled for the remainder of the contest and THE RING said that the first six rounds were anyone’s fight. Robinson’s superlative skills kicked in after that, and Sugar Ray sailed to a 9-6, 9-6 and 12-3 rounds decision.

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