Sugar Ray Leonard entered this fight with Tony Chiaverini at 23 – 0 in his professional welterweight boxing career…..as he was moving up the ladder towards a title fight….as Sugar Ray finally silenced the critics who questioned the former Olympic champion’s punching power….for the 23 year old highly publicized boxer from Palmer Park, MD scored a convincing victory with a technical knockout over Chiaverini, who failed to answer the fifth-round bell….as the left-handed brawler with power in either hand could not formulate a defense against the lightning-quick left jabs of Leonard…..as Sugar seemed to find the mark almost at will against the slower-moving Kansas City, Missouri, fighter.
Leonard, began the fourth-round in a flurry of punches….and had appeared to be in trouble after the opening minute when Chiaverini maneuvered him into a neutral corner and began punching at Leonard’s body. Chiaverini’s strong arms prevented the younger boxer from freeing himself, although Leonard finally escaped from the corner and was unhurt….as the corner exchange angered Leonard….who swiveled his hips and mocked Chiaverini after the referee separated the fighters….then Leonard systematically moved in to send jab after jab to Chiaverini’s face….first opening an inch-long gash below the right eye….and then nearly closing the eye by round’s end. Critics had questioned Leonard’s punching ability, noting he had been forced to go 10 rounds in each of his last two bouts prior to the Chiaverini match-up….when Leonard won a tough unanimous decision over Marcos Geraldo….and prior to that….was forced to go the distance in winning a decision from Adolfo Viruet. “He‘s about as fast as I thought, but he hits a little harder,” said Chiaverini following the bout. “He also caught me with a good one in the throat.”…..as Chiaverini said his corner stopped the fight, rather than see the 26-year-old boxer get hurt.
This video starts out with a pre-fight interview with Sugar Ray by ABC’s Howard Cosell in which Leonard gave Howard a precise description of how he would win the fight from Chiaverini……and Cosell ended the fight with the following quote…..”He [Leonard] said he would have him [Chiaverini] figured out by the third or fourth round. It turned out to be both rounds….as Ray said that he might not just knock him out….but he may just swell him up and render him helpless. Chiaverini was a soundly thrashed fighter, as this young fighter is on perhaps the precipice of professional greatness.”