This interview by ABC’s Alex Wallau with Sugar Ray Leonard took place right after Mike Tyson had defeated Trevor Berbick for the WBC Heavyweight Title on November 22, 1986….as Wallau talks to Sugar Ray about why he is returning to the ring….and what his concerns were about his eye if he returned.
Alex Wallau is a former President of the ABC television network….who began his career with ABC in 1976 ….when he joined the network’s Sports division under Roone Arledge, then head of ABC Sports…..as Wallau went on to become a two-time Emmy Award-winning producer and director of ABC’s sports coverage. He worked primarily on ABC’s boxing coverage with announcer Howard Cosell…..and in 1986, after Cosell’s retirement, Wallau became ABC’s boxing analyst….which was his position in this video seen herewith. He was honored by the Boxing Writers Association of America as the top television boxing journalist in his first year. Wallau moved into management in 1993 and was named President of ABC in 2000….with oversight of 11 divisions including Entertainment, News, Sports, Finance & Sales. He has served on the Board of Directors of ESPN, the Ad Council and the Paley Center for Media.
On November 9, 1982, Leonard invited Marvin Hagler and other boxing dignitaries to a charity event in Baltimore, Maryland to hear him announce whether he would continue his career….and while standing in a boxing ring with Howard Cosell, the master of ceremonies, Leonard announced his retirement…. saying a bout with Hagler would unfortunately never happen….an announcement that we have in our ImaSportsphile boxing library. Leonard maintained his eye was fully healed, but that he just didn’t want to box anymore….however, missing the limelight and the competition….Leonard announced in December 1983 that he was returning to the ring…..which was right after this November 22nd interview with Wallau. Leonard boasted that he would have a couple of ten-round bouts and then take on Milton McCrory, Donald Curry, Roberto Durán, Thomas Hearns and finally Marvin Hagler. This decision was met with a torrent of criticism from fans and the media….who felt Leonard was taking unnecessary risks with his surgically repaired eye.