The 2nd fight between Roberto Duran vs Sugar Ray Leonard was one of the most anticipated fights in all of boxing history during the golden age of boxing….while this video not only has the entire fight….but also, it has all the highlights and events leading up to the fight….starting off with an ABC in-studio piece with Howard Cosell, Roberto Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard….which gives some very interesting insight regarding how both Sugar Ray and Duran felt about their 1st fight.
After defeating Leonard in Montreal….Duran gained iconic status in his homeland and went on a continuous wild binge…..while gorging himself on food and partying….which caused him to quickly gain weight….while Leonard on the other hand…..vacationed in Hawaii and after his return….initiated the rematch clause and asked for the fight to be the following November. Duran was never good at keeping his weight down, and Leonard knew this. The circumstances of this fight are often contested. Some say that when Duran was forced into the November fight he weighed as much as 180 pounds….and that he should have received more time for his preparation for the rematch. Others state that Duran knew there would be a rematch….and that he thought five months would be enough time to get in great shape. What transpired at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans on November 25, 1980….would forever be considered as one of the most controversial events to happen inside a boxing ring. Leonard in the second round decided to change tactics and began using his natural advantages of footwork, movement, and speed. This presented a much more elusive target for Duran. In the 7th round, after Leonard had gained a slight lead on the scorecards, Leonard began showboating while taunting and mocking Duran. The proud Panamanian champion was visibly frustrated and was unable to get Leonard against the ropes….a tactic he had used to much success in the first fight. Half way into the 8th round Duran suddenly stopped fighting. There are a few theories on why Duran gave up….as some say he had stomach cramps….others believe he was frustrated and quit out of humiliation….and some think he simply knew he was going to lose and decided to take the easy way out. Regardless, this fight so heavily tainted the career of, without question in my Sportsphile opinion….one of the top 10 boxers of all time in all weight divisions.
My very favorite part of this video is when Leaonard’s namesake….Ray Charles…..sings America the Beautiful at the introduction of the fighters…..a rendition so moving that legendary fight commentator Howard Cosell was to say…”If that rendition didn’t touch you….didn’t move you….didn’t cause a chill along your spine….I don’t suppose nothing will….what a remarkable man….what a remarkable performance.”….cuz when you look at Sugar Ray after Ray Charles finished….you just knew he couldn’t be beat.