Did a Famous Boxer Take the Name of an Older Boxer to Get His Boxing Career Started?

This is the latest in a series of examinations of legends related to boxing and whether they are true or false.

BOXING URBAN LEGEND: Walker Smith took the name of an older fighter to sneak his way into competitive boxing at a too-young age.

After moving to Harlem with his mother in 1933 when he was 12 years old, Walker Smith eventually got involved in boxing.

When he was 14, Smith wanted to box competitively. The only problem was that he could not do so unless he was certified by the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU). The only problem with THAT is that you can not be a member of the AAU until you are 16 years old.

Luckily for Smith, amateur boxing bureaucracy in the mid-1930s was not exactly a tight ship, so he was able to procure an ID from an older friend and compete under his friend’s name.

That friend’s name?

Ray Robinson.

It stuck.

A few years later, the “Sugar” was added.

A legend, as they say, was born.

The legend is…


Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future urban legends columns! My e-mail address is bcronin@legendsrevealed.com

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