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Generally it's a reference to Sugar Ray Robinson: 85-0 as an amateur, and 128-1-2 as a professional. (It's worth noting that Mohammed Ali himself, despite being not shy about promoting his own abilities, once stated that he considered Robinson to be the greatest boxer of all time).

Robinson himself got the nickname for having a style "sweet as sugar." Incidentally, neither Sugar, nor Ray, nor Robinson is his birth name, which was Walker Smith. He borrowed a friend's ID card for his first fight because he was underage (he started underage, and still had an 85-0 record), and was forever afterward known by his friend's name.

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Q: Why do some boxers start their names with sugar?
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