Throughout the 17+ years that Bone Daddy recorded videos of sports, music and comedy at his sports bar Madison Square Garden, The Sports Place at 302 E. 6th St. in downtown Austin, Texas…..while acquiring our 2300 hours of video content that we are in process of posting here at ImaSportsphile…. where we are able to showcase some 600+ world championship title fights during the period we call The Golden Age of Boxing from 1964 to 1995….which was a time that featured multiple boxing legends in dang near every boxing weight division. The fact remains that during this era, the welterweight division showcased more boxing legends than almost every other weight division….which includes Thomas Hearns, Pernell Whitaker, Roberto Duran, Oscar de la Hoya, Pepino Cuevas, Hector Camacho, Juan Manuel Marquez, Julio Cesar Chavez, Wilfredo Benetiz, Donald Curry and of course, the best ever welterweight boxer, Sugar Ray Leonard…..for ImaSportsphile probably has more Sugar Ray fight footage than any other fighter other than Muhammad Ali….so, posting this tribute to the legendary Sugar Ray Leonard is a “no brainer”…..cuz MSG and our ImaSportsphile video library grew up together with Sugar Ray’s career….as he has brought thousands upon thousands of viewers to our site.
Boxing – 1977 To 1997 – Special Tribute To Sugar Ray Leonard – “The Complete Career Documentary”
Ray Charles Leonard, best known as “Sugar Ray” Leonard, is an American former professional boxer, motivational speaker, television boxing analyst and occasional actor. Often regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time….who competed from 1977 to 1997….while winning world titles in five weight divisions….with the lineal championship in three weight divisions….as well as the undisputed welterweight title. Leonard was part of “The Fabulous Four”…..which was a group of boxers who all fought each other throughout the 1980’s…..while consisting of Leonard, Roberto Durán, Thomas Hearns, and Marvin Hagler.
Boxing – 2020 – Ringside Special – Sugar Ray Leonard reflects on his fights with Hagler, Duran & Hearns
“The Fabulous Four” created a wave of popularity in the lower weight classes that kept boxing relevant in the post–Muhammad Ali era…..during which Leonard defeated future fellow International Boxing Hall of Fame inductees Hearns, Durán, Hagler and Wilfred Benítez. Leonard was also the first boxer to earn more than $100 million in purses….and was named “Boxer of the Decade” in the 1980’s. The Ring magazine named him Fighter of the Year in 1979 and 1981….while the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) named him Fighter of the Year in 1976, 1979 and 1981. In 2002, Leonard was voted by The Ring as the 9th greatest fighter of the last 80 years. BoxRec ranks him as the 23rd greatest boxer of all time, pound for pound.
Boxing – 1977 To 1997 – Special Highlights – Sugar Ray Leonard Knockouts
Leonard started boxing at the Palmer Park Recreation Center in 1969….as his older brother, Roger, started boxing first…..and Roger helped start the boxing program…while urging the center’s director, Ollie Dunlap, to form a team…..when Dave Jacobs, a former boxer, and Janks Morton volunteered as boxing coaches….when Roger won some trophies and showed them off in front of Ray….while goading him to start boxing.
Boxing – 1977 To 1997 – Special Film – Sugar Ray Leonard – “The Fastest Boxer In Boxing History” – Part 1
In 1972, Leonard boxed in the featherweight quarterfinals of the National AAU Tournament….when he lost by decision to Jerome Artis…..which was his 1st defeat….then later that year, he boxed in the Eastern Olympic Trials. The rules stated that a boxer had to be seventeen to box in international competition….so Leonard, only sixteen, lied about his age….when he made it to the lightweight semifinals, losing a disputed decision to Greg Whaley….who took such a beating that he wasn’t allowed to continue in the trials and never boxed again…..after which Sarge Johnson, assistant coach of the US Olympic Boxing Team, said to Dave Jacobs, “That kid you got is sweet as sugar”…..and the nickname stuck….however, given his style and first name, it was probably only a matter of time before people started calling him Sugar Ray…..after the man many consider to be the best boxer of all time, Sugar Ray Robinson.
Boxing – 1977 To 1997 – Special Film – Sugar Ray Leonard: “The Fastest Boxer In History” – Part 2
In 1973, Leonard won the National Golden Gloves Lightweight Championship….but lost to Randy Shields in the lightweight final of the National AAU Tournament….when in the following year, Leonard won the National Golden Gloves and National AAU Lightweight Championships. Leonard suffered his last two losses as an amateur in 1974…..while losing a disputed decision to Anatoli Kamnev in Moscow….after which, Kamnev gave the winner’s trophy to Leonard. In Poland, Kazimierz Szczerba was given a decision victory over Leonard….even though he was dominated in the first two rounds….and dropped three times in the third. Leonard won the National Golden Gloves and National AAU Light Welterweight Championships in 1974. The following year, he again won the National AAU Light Welterweight Championship, as well as the Light Welterweight Championship at the Pan American Games.
Boxing – 1977 – 6 Rnd Light Welterweight Bout – Sugar Ray Leonard Vs Luis Vega – Leonard’s 1st Pro Fight
In 1976, Leonard made the U.S. Olympic Team as the light welterweight representative…..which was a team that included Leon and Michael Spinks, Howard Davis Jr., Leo Randolph, Charles Mooney and John Tate….as many consider the 1976 U.S. team to be the greatest boxing team in the history of the Olympics. Leonard won his first four Olympic bouts by 5–0 decisions….when he faced Kazimierz Szczerba in the semifinals and won by a 5–0 decision, avenging his last amateur loss. In the final, Leonard boxed the great Cuban knockout artist Andrés Aldama….who had scored five straight knockouts to reach the final. Leonard landed several good left hooks in the 1st round…..when in the 2nd, he dropped Aldama with a left to the chin…..then late in the final round, he again hurt Aldama….which brought a standing eight count from the referee. With only a few seconds left in the fight, a Leonard combination forced another standing eight count….and Leonard was awarded a 5–0 decision….along with the Olympic Gold Medal. Afterward, Leonard announced, “I’m finished…I’ve fought my last fight. My journey has ended, my dream is fulfilled. Now I want to go to school.” He was given a scholarship to the University of Maryland, a gift from the citizens of Glenarden, Maryland…..as he planned to study business administration and communications….so, he finished his amateur career with a record of 165–5 and 75 KO’s.
Olympics – 1976 – Montreal Games Boxing – Light Welterweight Gold Medal Fight – CUB Andres Aldama Vs Sugar Ray Leonard – With Howard Cosell
Juanita Wilkinson, Leonard’s high school girlfriend, told him she was pregnant in the summer of 1973…. when they decided to have the baby but marriage would be put off until after the Olympics in 1976. Leonard would continue to pursue his Olympic dream while she and the baby, Ray Charles Leonard Jr., lived with her parents. When Leonard boxed in the Olympics, he had a picture of Wilkinson taped to his sock. Shortly before the Olympics, Wilkinson had filed an application to receive $156 a month in child support payments from Prince George’s County, Maryland. She named Leonard as the father and the county’s state attorney’s office filed a civil suit against Leonard to establish paternity and get support payments for the child. Leonard learned of the suit several days after returning home from the Olympics. The headline in the Washington Star read, “Sugar Ray Leonard Named in Welfare Dept. Paternity Suit”.
Olympics – 1976 – Montreal Games – Light Welterweight Boxing Bout – USA Sugar Ray Leonard Vs GBR Clinton McKensie – With Howard Cosell
Wilkinson went to the Olympics to watch Leonard box, but she did not tell him about the suit and never asked him for any money. “I didn’t feel like being bothered by all those complications by asking him for any money for support”, she said. Leonard pledged he would support his son, even if he had to scrap plans to attend college. Leonard had hoped to get lucrative endorsements following his gold medal win …..but the negative publicity from the paternity suit chased off any big commercial possibilities. To make matters worse, his father was hospitalized with meningitis and his mother suffered a heart attack….so, with neither parent able to work….plus having his child and the mother of his child to support…. and without any endorsement opportunities….that’s when Leonard decided to decided to turn professional…. when Janks Morton introduced him to Mike Trainer, a friend of his who was an attorney…..and Trainer talked 24 of his friends and clients into underwriting Leonard’s career with an investment of $21,000 to be repaid within four years at 8% interest. Trainer then made Leonard the sole stockholder in Sugar Ray Leonard, Inc…..and Angelo Dundee, Muhammad Ali’s trainer, was brought in to be Leonard’s trainer and manager. Many of the people being considered wanted absolute control and a cut somewhere near the manager’s traditional 33%…..but Dundee had a different proposition….whereby he would prescribe the training procedures….but he would leave the day-to-day work to Dave Jacobs and Janks Morton….plus Dundee would also choose Leonard’s opponents….and for his services, Dundee would get 15% of Leonard’s purse.
Boxing – 1977 To 1997 – Special Highlights – Sugar Ray Leonard “Best Combinations And Flurries”
Leonard made his professional debut on February 5, 1977 before a crowd of 10,270 at the Civic Center in Baltimore…..for which he was paid $40,044 for the fight…..as his opponent was Luis “The Bull” Vega…. whom he defeated by a six-round unanimous decision. After the fight, Leonard paid back his $21,000 loan to the investors. In his 14th professional fight, Leonard fought his 1st world-ranked opponent, Floyd Mayweather….who was ranked 17th…..when the fight took place on September 9, 1978….which Leonard won by a 10 th-round knockout…..then one month later, Leonard defeated his old amateur nemesis Randy Shields by a ten-round unanimous decision.
Boxing – 1978 – 10 Rnd Welterweight Bout – Floyd Mayweather Sr Vs. Sugar Ray Leonard- With Howard Cosell
On August 12, 1979, Leonard knocked out Pete Ranzany in four rounds to win the NABF Welterweight Championship. The following month, he made his first title defense against Andy Price. Price, an up-and-coming contender who was sponsored by Marvin Gaye, had a reputation for prolonged bouts in earlier fights and was believed by sports reporters to defeat or give a long fight to Leonard…..and albeit Price landed multiple good blows, Leonard knocked him out in the first round….while advancing his record to 24–0 with 16 knockouts.
Boxing – 1979 – NABF Welterweight Title – Pete Ranzanny Vs Sugar Ray Leonard – With Keith Jackson
Leonard fought Wilfred Benítez for the WBC Welterweight Championship on November 30, 1979, at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada. There was a capacity crowd of about 4,600…..as Leonard received $1 million…..and Benitez, a two-division champion with a record of 38–0–1, received $1.2 million ….in what was a highly competitive and tactical battle. In the 1st round, Leonard rocked Benitez with a left hook that came off a jab and right cross….then late in the third, Leonard dropped Benitez on the seat of his pants with a stiff left jab. More embarrassed than hurt, Benitez got up quickly….as he started improving in the 4th….while slipping numerous punches and finding the range with his right hand. “I wasn’t aware I was in a championship early because I hit him so easy”, Leonard said. “But then he adjusted to my style. It was like looking in a mirror”. In the 6th, there was an accidental clash of heads…. which opened a cut on the forehead of Benitez…..as blood flowed down his forehead and the bridge of his nose….but stayed out of his eyes. Leonard landed the harder punches and had Benitez hurt several times late in the fight…..but Sugar Ray couldn’t put him away…..as Benitez was very slick….while prompting Leonard to say….“No one, I mean no one, can make me miss punches like that”. Going into the final round, Leonard led by scores of 137–130, 137–133, and 136–134…..as the two went toe-to-toe in the 15th….when late in the round, Leonard dropped Benitez with a left….when he got up, but after a few more punches, the referee stopped the fight. The time was 2:54 of round fifteen. The Boxing Writers Association of America and The Ring named Leonard “Fighter of the Year” for 1979.
Boxing – 1979 – Legends Of The Ring – WBC Welterweight Title – Sugar Ray Leonard Vs. Wilfredo Benitez – With Michael Buffer
Leonard made his 1st title defense in Landover, Maryland, on March 31, 1980, against Dave “Boy” Green….who was the British challenger with a record of 33–2…..when in the 4th round, Leonard knocked Green out with a devastating left hook….as Leonard called it “the hardest single punch I ever threw.”
Boxing – 1980 – WBC Welterweight Title – Dave “Boy” Green Vs Sugar Ray Leonard – With Chris Schenkel
On June 20, 1980, Leonard returned to the Olympic Stadium in Montreal to defend his title against Roberto Durán before a crowd of 46,317…..as Durán, the former Undisputed World Lightweight Champion for 6 1/2 years, had a record of 71–1….and was the # 1 welterweight contender….who was considered the best “pound for pound” fighter in the world. Durán received $1.5 million and Leonard, working for a percentage of the closed-circuit gate as well as a guarantee, received over $9 million.
Boxing – 1980 – Highlights – WBC Welterweight Title Fight – Roberto Duran Vs Sugar Ray Leonard – “The Brawl In Montreal”
Angelo Dundee counseled Leonard to box….to move side to side…. and not to get caught on the ropes. However, Leonard decided to fight Durán’s way…..as he stated “flat-footed….I will not run.” Durán forced the issue and took the fight to Leonard….while cutting off the ring and denying Leonard space to fight his fight…..when Durán attacked at almost every turn…..as Leonard battled back again and again….but he had to work just to find room to breathe and swing….while at times simply to survive…..when in the 2nd, Durán rocked Leonard with a left hook….which sent him into the ropes…..but Sugar Ray started to do better by the 5th round….while finding some punching room….and throwing numerous multi-punch combinations…..as the two fought with great intensity throughout the fight. According to sportswriter Bill Nack….”It was, from almost the opening salvo, a fight that belonged to Durán. The Panamanian seized the evening and gave it what shape and momentum it had. He took control, attacking and driving Leonard against the ropes, bulling him back, hitting him with lefts and rights to the body as he maneuvered the champion against the ropes from corner to corner. Always moving forward, he mauled and wrestled Leonard, scoring inside with hooks and rights. For three rounds Durán drove at Sugar Ray with a fury, and there were moments when it seemed the fight could not last five. Unable to get away, unable to counter and unable to slide away to open up the ring, Leonard seemed almost helpless under the assault. Now and then he got loose and countered—left-right-left to Durán’s bobbing head—but he missed punches and could not work inside, could not jab, could not mount an offense to keep Durán at bay.”
Boxing – 1980 – WBC Welterweight Title Fight – Roberto Duran Vs Sugar Ray Leonard – The Brawl In Montreal” – Full Fight
Durán was awarded a unanimous decision….albeit was mistakenly read as a majority decision in the ring. The scorecard of judge Angelo Poletti was incorrectly added and announced as 147–147….whereas, he actually scored it 148–147….which in rounds, he had it three for Durán, two for Leonard and ten even……as Sports Illustrated called this scorecard “a monument to indecision.” ….while Judges Raymond Baldeyrou and Harry Gibbs scored the fight 146–144 and 145–144, respectively…..and Associated Press had it 144–141 for Durán….while The New York Times had Leonard ahead 144–142. “I did the best I could”, Leonard said. “I think I pretty much fought from the heart.” Asked if Leonard was the best he ever fought, Durán thought for a moment and then answered, “Si, si.” Durán said. “He does have a heart. That’s why he’s living.”
Boxing – 1980 – Special – Everything You Wanted To Know About Roberto Duran Vs Sugar Ray Leonard – 1st Fight
The rematch, billed as “Stone vs. Sugar.. Once Again”, took place November 25, 1980 at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans in front of 25,038 fans. Leonard received $7 million and Durán received $8 million. Dave Jacobs disagreed with the decision to have an immediate rematch with Durán and terminated his relationship with Leonard when the rematch was made. “My idea is that he should have a tuneup fight before he fights with Roberto again”, Jacobs said. “I think he won the fight with Durán, but I don’t think it is healthy for him to be fighting Durán right away”. The fact was that after the Montreal fight, Durán went on a partying binge and ballooned in weight….and Leonard was aware of this….for in an interview for Beyond the Glory he said: “My intention was to fight Durán ASAP because I knew Durán’s habits. I knew he would indulge himself, he’d gain 40–50 lbs and then sweat it off to make 147.” Unlike the 1st fight in Montreal, Leonard used his superior speed and movement to outbox and befuddle Durán. “The whole fight, I was moving, I was moving”, Leonard said. “And Voom! I snapped his head back with a jab. Voom! I snapped it back again. He tried to get me against the ropes, I’d pivot, spin off and Pow! Come under with a punch.”….when in round seven, that is when Leonard started to taunt Durán. Leonard’s most memorable punch came late in the round….while winding up his right hand, as if to throw a bolo punch, Leonard snapped out a left jab and caught Durán flush in the face. “It made his eyes water”, Leonard said. He continued to taunt Durán mercilessly. He stuck out his chin, inviting Durán to hit it. Durán hesitated. Leonard kept it up, continuing to move, stop, and mug…..when in the closing seconds of the eighth round, Durán turned his back to Leonard and quit, saying to referee Octavio Meyran, “No Más No Mas” (English: “No more”). Leonard was the winner by a technical knockout at 2:44 of round eight…. thus regaining the WBC Welterweight Championship….as Leonard led by scorecards of 68–66, 68–66 and 67–66 when Manos de Piedra quit in the ring….and from that day forward….when folks would ask how to stop Roberto Duran in the ring….the answer became simple….“you just put a little sugar on it!!!!”
Boxing -1980 – Special Video – “Sugar Ray Leonard Sparring In The Gym”
Durán said he quit because of stomach cramps, caused by overeating after the weigh-in. “At the end of the fifth round, I got cramps in my stomach and it kept getting worse and worse”, Duran later said. “I felt weaker and weaker in my body and arms.” He then announced, “I am retiring from boxing right now.” During the night Durán was admitted to a hospital with stomach pains, and discharged the following day. Everyone was surprised by Durán’s actions….but none more so than his veteran trainers, Freddie Brown and Ray Arcel. “I was shocked”, Brown said. “There was no indication that he was in pain or getting weak.” Arcel was angry. “That’s it”, he said. “I’ve had it. This is terrible. I’ve handled thousands of fighters and never had anyone quit on me. I think he needs a psychiatrist more than he needs anything else.” Durán’s manager, Carlos Eleta, said, “Durán didn’t quit because of stomach cramps. He quit because he was embarrassed. I know this.” According to Randy Gordon, who witnessed Durán’s antics beforehand and was in his dressing room immediately afterwards, Durán quit because of his huge eating binge prior to the fight. “I made him quit”, Leonard said. “To make a man quit, to make Roberto Durán quit, was better than knocking him out.”
Boxing – 2019 – Behind The Gloves Special – “I Am Duran” – How Rivalry Turned Into Friendship For Roberto Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard
On March 28, 1981, Leonard defended his title against Larry Bonds, the WBC 6th-ranked contender at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, New York…..as Bonds was a southpaw…..which made him a good opponent for Leonard….since his next opponent was scheduled to be the WBA Light Middleweight Champion Ayub Kalule, a southpaw. Leonard was the aggressor throughout….with Bonds circling the ring…..then he staggered Bonds with a right in the 4th round and dropped him with a follow-up combination…..but Bonds got up and continued to move….with Leonard in pursuit…..when Sugar Ray dropped him again in the 10th…..and as Bonds rose, Leonard didn’t let him off the hook…..as the referee stopped the fight with Bonds taking punishment in a corner.
Boxing – 1981 – WBC Welterweight Title Fight – Larry Bonds Vs Sugar Ray Leonard – With Frank Gifford + Marvelous Marvin Hagler
Leonard moved up to the junior middleweight division and faced Kalule on June 25, 1981 at the Astrodome in Houston, Texas…..as Kalule, who was 36–0, had been the WBA Light Middleweight Champion for two years. Kalule and his handlers had expected Leonard to use lateral movement against him…..but Leonard chose to fight inside instead…..when after eight tough rounds, Leonard was ahead although Kalule appeared to be coming on strong in the 8th and 9th…..but Leonard finally hurt him with a right to the head…..when shortly afterward, Leonard dropped him with a flurry of punches. Kalule got up but the referee waved it off….as Sugar Ray Leonard celebrated his victory with a full 360-degree, no-hands flip. Despite an official stoppage time of 2.59, the fight was actually stopped at 3.06 into the round, meaning Kalule should have been saved by the bell.
Boxing – 1981 – WBA Super Welterweight Title Fight – Sugar Ray Leonard Vs. Ayub Kalule – With Marv Albert + Dr Ferdie Pacheco + Thomas Hearns
Promoted as “The Showdown”, Leonard fought Thomas Hearns on September 16, 1981 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas to unify the World Welterweight Championship in a scheduled fifteen-rounder….as they fought before a live crowd of 23,618. Hearns was paid $5.1 million, and Leonard made over $11 million…..and the fight grossed over $35 million…..with the live gate being $5.9 million….and the revenue from pay-per-view was $7.5 million. Hearns, 32–0 with 30 knockouts, won the WBA Welterweight Championship in 1980, scoring a 2nd-round knockout of José “Pipino” Cuevas in Detroit, Michigan. He made three successful title defenses, stopping Luis Primera, Randy Shields, and Pablo Baez.
Boxing – 1981 – Special – “The Showdown” – Sugar Ray Leonard vs Thomas “Hitman” Hearns – “Back & Forth Battle Explained” – Fight Breakdown – 1st Fight
The fight began as expected, Leonard boxing from a distance and Hearns stalking. Leonard had difficulty with Hearns’ long reach and sharp jab…..when by the end of round five, Leonard had a growing swelling under his left eye….and Hearns had built a considerable lead on the scorecards….and that is when Leonard, became more aggressive….while hurting Hearns in the 6th with a left hook to the chin…..then Leonard battered Hearns in rounds six and seven….but Hearns regrouped and started to stick and move….as he started to pile up points again….but the roles reversed….and Leonard became the stalker and Hearns became the boxer…..as the fight billed as a classic showdown between a powerful knockout artist and the best boxer/puncher the welterweight division had seen in decades…when it devolved into a tactical and boring fight. Hearns won rounds nine through twelve on all three scorecards….when between rounds twelve and thirteen, Angelo Dundee told Leonard, “You’re blowing it, son! You’re blowing it!”.
Boxing – 1981 – WBA + WBC Welterweight Unification Title Fight – Thomas “Hitman” Hearns Vs. Sugar Ray Leonard – Fight 1 – “The Showdown” With Tim Ryan + Gil Clancy
Leonard, with a badly swollen left eye, came out roaring for the thirteenth round. After hurting Hearns with a right, Leonard exploded with a combination of punches. Hearns’ legs were clearly gone and after more pressure from Leonard he was bundled through the ropes, no knockdown was given as it wasn’t a punch that sent him there. Hearns managed to rise, but was dropped by a flurry of hard punches near the end of the round. In round fourteen, after staggering Hearns with an overhand right, Leonard pinned Hearns against the ropes, where he unleashed another furious combination, prompting referee Davey Pearl to stop the contest and award Sugar Ray Leonard the Unified World Welterweight Championship. Hearns was leading by scores of 124–122, 125–122, and 125–121.
Boxing – 1981 – World Welterweight Unification Title Fight Highlights – Thomas “Hitman” Hearns Vs Sugar Ray Leonard – 1st Fight
After the fight, there was controversy due to the scoring of rounds six and seven. Even though Leonard dominated, hurting Hearns and battering him, all three judges gave both rounds to Leonard by a 10–9 margin. Many felt that the ten-point must scoring system was not properly used and those rounds should have been scored 10–8. Some also considered the stoppage premature. Veteran ringside commentator Don Dunphy said “They’re stopping the fight. I don’t believe it. Hearns was ahead on points.” However, Emanuel Steward, Hearns’ manager and trainer, said, “I felt that the referee was justified in stopping the fight … Tommy did not have enough energy to make it through the fight.” The fight was named “Fight of the Year” by The Ring…..while Leonard was named “Fighter of the Year” by The Ring and The Boxing Writers Association of America. He was also named “Athlete of the Year” by ABC’s Wide World of Sports…. and “Sportsman of the Year” by Sports Illustrated.
Boxing – 1981 – World Welterweight Unification Title Fight – Sugar Ray Leonard Vs Thomas Hearns – Replay & Interviews With Howard Cosell
On February 15, 1982, Leonard defended the unified title against Bruce Finch, the WBC 4th-ranked contender, in a bout at Reno, NV…..when Leonard knocked him out in the 3rd round. Leonard’s next fight was scheduled to be against Roger Stafford on May 14, 1982, in Buffalo, New York….when while training, Leonard started to see floaters…..so, he went to a doctor and discovered that he had a detached retina. The fight was cancelled….. and Leonard had surgery to repair the retina on May 9, 1982. 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…..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. Leonard maintained his eye was fully healed, but that he just didn’t want to box anymore.
Boxing – 1982 – HBO Championship Boxing – World Welterweight Title Fight – Bruce Finch Vs Sugar Ray Leonard
Missing the limelight and the competition, Leonard announced in December 1983 that he was returning to the ring…..while boasting that he would have a couple of ten-round bouts….and then take on Milton McCrory, Donald Curry, Durán, Hearns and finally 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. A bout with Philadelphia’s Kevin Howard, who was 20–4–1, was scheduled for February 25, 1984…. but was postponed when Leonard had minor surgery on his right eye to fix a loose retina….as this latest eye problem further fueled the flames of those who opposed Leonard’s comeback. Before the fight with Howard, Dave Jacobs rejoined Leonard’s team in a limited role….after Jacobs had quit in 1980….while disagreeing with Leonard’s decision to have an immediate rematch with Durán. So, Leonard and Howard fought on May 11, 1984, in Worcester, Massachusetts…..when Howard knocked Leonard flat on his back in the 4rth round…..which was the 1st knockdown of Leonard’s professional career…..but Leonard came back to stop Howard in the 9th round….but the stoppage was disputed, with some feeling that the referee stopped the fight prematurely…..as Leonard was ahead on all three scorecards at the time of the stoppage. At the post-fight press conference, Leonard surprised everyone by announcing his retirement again, saying he just didn’t have it anymore.
Boxing – 1984 – 10 Rnd Middleweight Bout – Kevin Howard Vs Sugar Ray Leonard
On March 10, 1986, Marvin Hagler knocked out John Mugabi in eleven rounds to retain the Undisputed World Middleweight Championship for the 12th time and advance his record to 62–2–2. “I was ringside”, Leonard said. “I’m watching John ‘The Beast’ Mugabi outbox Hagler. Of all people, John ‘The Beast’ Mugabi.” It was then that Leonard decided to come back and fight Hagler. He called Mike Trainer and said, “I can beat Hagler”. On May 1, 1986, Leonard announced on a Washington, D.C. talk show that he would return to the ring to fight Hagler. The announcement generated a lot of controversy because of Leonard’s inactivity and eye injuries….and yet it also excited many sports fans who had hoped to see them fight years earlier. Hagler took a few months to decide, then agreed to the match.
Boxing – 1978 – Sugar Ray Leonard Special – “This Was Supposed To Be An Exhibition Bout, And Then It Happens”
In the video seen above….this exhibition was set up to help promote an upcoming event….and the contract for the video shoot specifically stated that no punches by Leonard’s opponent could be thrown in the direction of his recent surgically repaired left eye….and then, the sparring partner threw a jab in that direction….“AND THEN IT HAPPENED”…..as Sugar Ray immediately snapped a left hook to the opponents live….and the rest was obvious.
Boxing – 1981 – Rummy’s Corner Special Highlights – World Middleweight Title Fight – Sugar Ray Leonard Vs Marvelous Marvin Hagler – Round By Round Breakdown – “Who Really Won”
The Leonard vs Hagle fight….was promoted as “The Super Fight” and “The King of the Ring”, was scheduled for April 6, 1987, at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Leonard was guaranteed $11 million, and Hagler was guaranteed $12 million. Hagler was a heavy favorite…..as the odds started at 4–1….. then settled at 3–1. A paying crowd 12,379 generated a live gate of $6.2 million…..and according to Bob Arum, the fight grossed $78 million (which equates to around $179 million in 2020). The original fight plan for Leonard was to go toe-to-toe with Hagler and try to cut him….but the plan changed about five days before the fight….when Leonard got hit by sparring partner Quincy Taylor….and was badly buckled. “He almost knocked me out”, Leonard said…..and after that, Leonard decided to box Hagler.
Boxing – 1987 – World Middleweight Title Fight – Sugar Ray Leonard Vs Marvelous Marvin Hagler
Many were surprised that Hagler, a natural southpaw, opened the fight boxing out of an orthodox stance ….when after the quick and slick Leonard won the first two rounds on all three scorecards….that is when Hagler started the 3rd round as a southpaw…..as Hagler did better….but Leonard’s superior speed and boxing skill still allowed him to control the fight. Hagler looked stiff and mechanical and missed the speedy Leonard time and again prompting CBS ringside commentator Gil Clancy to remark “…and is he ever missing…Leonard isn’t doing anything to make him miss, he’s just missing!” By the 5th, Leonard, who was moving a lot, began to tire and Hagler started to get closer…..then Marvelous Marvin buckled Leonard’s knees with a right uppercut near the end of the roun….which finished with Leonard on the ropes. Hagler continued to score somewhat effectively in round six…..as Leonard, having slowed down, was obliged to fight more and move less…..however, he was able to out-punch Hagler along the ropes…. and got the better of several bristling exchanges. Hagler never really seized total control of the fight as he had against Thomas Hearns two years earlier…..when he brutalized Hearns and scored a third-round knockout…..as Hagler’s punches lacked snap…..albeit he was scoring solidly to the body….but he looked nothing like the powerful fighter who had dominated the middleweight division for the previous five years. Leonard’s observation that the Hagler who beat John Mugabi was older and slower proved to be spot on. In rounds seven and eight, Hagler’s southpaw jab was landing solidly and Leonard’s counter flurries were less frequent. Round nine was the most exciting round of the fight…..as Hagler hurt Leonard with a left cross and pinned him in a corner…..when Leonard looked to be in trouble…..but he furiously fought his way out of the corner. The action see-sawed back and forth for the rest of the round….with each man having his moments. However, Hagler’s moments were more spectacular and one of Hagler’s cornermen, Roger Perron, in an interview that took place on an episode of HBO’s Legendary Nights episode segments in 2003, later stated that “the ninth round was probably Marvin (Hagler)’s, best round”. Round ten was tame by comparison….as the pace slowed after the furious action of the previous round….but with Hagler having more spectacular moments….and despite Leonard’s obvious fatigue, he boxed well in the eleventh. Every time Hagler scored, Leonard came back with something flashier and more eye-catching, if not as effective punches…..but at that point in the fight, Hagler appeared to be slightly more of thering-general and clearly more aggressive. ….when between rounds eleven and twelve, Leonard’s trainer, Angelo Dundee, implored Sugar Ray to get up off his stool yelling “We got three minutes…new champ…new champ!”….as Leonard yelled “Yeah!” and played to the screaming crowd…..whereas Hagler’s corner was much more reserved prompting Clancy to comment: “They’re talking to him like it’s an IBM meeting or something…no emotion.” In the final round, Hagler continued to chase Leonard….and he hit Leonard with a big left hand and backed him into a corner…..but Leonard responded with a furious flurry, landing few punches but whipping the upset-hoping crowd into a frenzy. Hagler backed off, and Leonard danced away with Hagler in pursuit….as the fight ended with Hagler and Leonard exchanging along the ropes. At the final bell, even uniformed ringside security rushed into the ring applauding and lauding Leonard’s effort…..in a fight where Leonard threw 629 punches and landed 306, while Hagler threw 792 and landed 291.
Boxing – 1987 – HBO Boxing Special Highlights – World Middleweight Title Fight – Sugar Ray Leonard Vs Marvelous Marvin Hagler – With Barry Tompkins + Larry Merchant
Leonard was awarded a controversial split-decision….when Judge Dave Moretti scored it 115–113 for Leonard….while judge Lou Filippo had it 115–113 for Hagler….and Judge José Guerra scored the fight 118–110 for Leonard. Many felt that Hagler deserved the decision because he was the aggressor and landed the harder punches. Scottish boxing journalist Hugh McIlvanney wrote that Leonard’s plan was to “steal rounds with a few flashy and carefully timed flurries…he was happy to exaggerate hand speed at the expense of power, and neither he nor two of the scorers seemed bothered by the fact that many of the punches landed on the champion’s gloves and arms.” Many others felt that Leonard deservedly got the decision….while arguing that Leonard landed more punches and showed better defense and ring generalship. Jim Murray, long-time sports columnist for the Los Angeles Times, wrote, “It wasn’t even close…He didn’t just outpoint Hagler, he exposed him. He made him look like a guy chasing a bus. In snowshoes…Leonard repeatedly beat Hagler to the punch. When he did, he hit harder. He hit more often…He made Hagler into what he perceived him to be throughout his career—a brawler, a swarmer, a man who could club you to death only if you stood there and let him. If you moved, he was lost.” The fight was named “Fight of the Year” and “Upset of the Year” by The Ring. Despite requests from the Hagler camp, Leonard was uninterested in a rematch and retired on May 27, 1987. “I’ll try, I’ll give it a shot”, Leonard said of his latest retirement. “But you guys know me.”
Boxing – 1987 – HBO Boxing Special With Larry Merchant – World Middleweight Title Fight – Sugar Ray Leonard vs Marvelous Marvin Hagler – “Review, Replay & Interviews”
A month after Hagler’s formal retirement in June 1988, Leonard would announce another comeback in a match that required Leonard to move up in weight….while facing Donny Lalonde at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas….as they fought for Lalonde’s WBC Light Heavyweight Championship….and the newly created WBC Super Middleweight Championship….which meant that Lalonde had to make 168 lbs…..as many were critical of the fact that Lalonde’s light heavyweight title was on the line when the weight limit of the fight with Leonard was at 168 pounds….and critical of Leonard for stipulating that his opponent, a natural 175 pounder, should weigh less than his usual fighting weight….which could possibly weaken him…..however, Lalonde later told HBO’s Larry Merchant that he didn’t have any trouble making weight. Lalonde, 31–2 with 26 knockouts, was guaranteed at least $6 million and Leonard was guaranteed over $10 million.
Boxing – 1977 To 1997 – Sugar Ray Leonard Special – “Training And Motivation”
This would be Leonard’s first professional fight without Angelo Dundee…..for Leonard’s fight with Hagler, Dundee worked without a contract and received $175,000….which was less than 2% of Leonard’s purse….as Dundee was unhappy with that amount…..so, he requested a contract for the Lalonde fight and Leonard refused. “I don’t have contracts. My word is my bond”, Leonard said. Janks Morton and Dave Jacobs trained Leonard for the Lalonde fight. Lalonde’s size and awkwardness troubled Leonard. In the 4th round, a right hand to the top of Leonard’s head dropped him for just the 2nd time in his career….then early in the 9th, Lalonde hurt Leonard with a right to the chin….but Leonard fired back and hurt Lalonde with a right….which drove him to the ropes….when Sugar Ray unleashed a furious assault…..as Lalonde tried to tie up Leonard….but got dropped with a powerful left hook. He rose but was soon down again, and the fight was stopped. Judges Chuck Giampa and Franz Marti had Leonard ahead by scores of 77–74 and 77–75, respectively. Judge Stuart Kirshenbaum had Lalonde ahead 76–75.
Boxing – 1988 – WBC Light Heavyweight Title & WBC Super Middleweight Title – Sugar Ray Leonard Vs Donny LaLonde
After the fight, Leonard vacated the light heavyweight title, but kept the super middleweight title. Also, Leonard and Janks Morton split because of personal differences. Morton was replaced as co-trainer by Pepe Correa….who had worked with Leonard for most of the previous fifteen years….then on June 12, 1989, Leonard defended the WBC Super Middleweight Championship in a rematch with Thomas Hearns at Caesar’s Palace….which was promoted as “The War.” Hearns was guaranteed $11 million and Leonard was guaranteed $14 million.
Boxing – 1989 – WBC World Super Middleweight Title Fight – Sugar Ray Leonard Vs. Thomas “Hitman” Hearns – 2nd Fight
Hearns dropped Leonard with a right cross in the 3rd round….but Leonard came back and battered Hearns around the ring in the 5th…..when early in the 7th round, Hearns hurt Leonard….but punched himself out going for the knockout…..then with Hearns fatigued, Leonard came back and had a strong finish to the round. Rounds nine and ten were good rounds for Leonard….but he ran into trouble in the 11th round….then three booming rights from Hearns sent Leonard down for the 2nd time in the fight….as Sugar Ray knew he had to have a big finish….when Leonard fought furiously and had a big final round. The judges scored the fight a draw and Leonard retained the title…..as Judge Jerry Roth scored the fight 113–112 for Hearns….Judge Tom Kazmarek scored it 113–112 for Leonard…..and Judge Dalby Shirley scored it 112–112. Shirley was the only judge to give Leonard a 10–8 margin in the twelfth. If he had scored it 10–9, as his two colleagues did, Hearns would have won by a split decision. As time passed by, Leonard admitted that Hearns deserved the decision.
Boxing – 1989 – Special Highlights – “The Greatest Back & Forth Battle In Boxing History Explained” – Hearns vs Leonard 2 Fight Breakdown
On December 7, 1989, Leonard defended the title against Roberto Durán…..who was the reigning WBC Middleweight Champion…..when Durán was guaranteed $7.6 million and Leonard’s arrangement guaranteed him over $13 million. For the Durán fight, Leonard cut his entourage from twenty-one to six. Dave Jacobs was one of the people let go, leaving Correa as the sole trainer…..as Correa was instructed not to spare the whip. “For the first time in a long time, I allowed someone to push me”, Leonard said. The fight took place at the new Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas…..where Leonard used constant lateral movement….and won by a lopsided twelve-round unanimous decision over a listless Durán. The scores were 120–110, 119–109 and 116–111….in a fight that many considered to be very boring….as both fighters were booed often by the fans….with many leaving the arena before the decision was announced. Pat Putnam of Sports Illustrated wrote, “Leonard gave them artistic perfection when they wanted heated battle, and they booed lustily. Most fight fans would not spend a dime to watch Van Gogh paint Sunflowers, but they would fill Yankee Stadium to see him cut off his ear.” Although Leonard dominated the fight, he suffered several cuts….as his lower lip was cut from a headbutt in the 4th round….while his left eye was cut in the 11th round…..and his right eye was cut in the 12th round…..as the cuts required a total of 60 stitches.
Boxing – 1989 – WBC Super Middleweight Title Fight – Roberto Duran Vs Sugar Ray Leonard – 3rd Fight
In January 1990, Leonard relinquished the WBC Super Middleweight Championship….while saying that he was unsure whether he would fight again….then when Leonard decided to continue his career, he offered Hagler a rematch….but Hagler decided to stay retired…..then he offered Hearns a 3rd fight….but Hearns said he could no longer make the weight and moved up to the light heavyweight division…..so, on February 9, 1991, Sugar Ray went down to 154 lbs and fought WBC Light Middleweight Champion Terry Norris at Madison Square Garden….when Leonard entered the bout as a 3-1 favorite…..however Norris dominated the fight….while giving Leonard a heavy beating…..as he knocked Leonard down with a left hook in the 2nd round….and in the 7th, he dropped Leonard again with a short right….as Leonard had no answer for the skillful, younger, faster man….albeit he went the distance but lost by a lopsided decision. The scores were 120–104, 119–103, and 116–110. After the verdict was announced, Leonard announced his retirement. “It took this fight to show me it is no longer my time”, Leonard said. “Tonight was my last fight. I know how Hagler felt now.”
Boxing – 1991 – WBC Super Welterweight Title Fight – Sugar Ray Leonard Vs Terry Norris
In October 1996, the 40-year-old Leonard announced that he was coming out of retirement to fight 34-year-old Héctor Camacho for the lightly regarded International Boxing Council (IBC) Middleweight Championship. Camacho, a light-hitting southpaw, was a three-time world champion with a record of 62–3–1…..however, Camacho was also considered to be past his prime. Leonard decided to fight Camacho after commentating on Camacho’s fight with the 45-year-old Roberto Durán the previous year….while describing the disputed unanimous decision as “an early Christmas gift”. Since Leonard blamed his poor performance against Norris on lack of motivation, a rib injury, moving down in weight, and divorce…. which was being litigated while he was in training. “It was stupid for me to fight Norris at 154 lbs”, Leonard said. “This is different. I’m in the best shape possible.” For the Camacho fight, Leonard had a new trainer, Adrian Davis. “He’s a great trainer, a throwback”, Leonard said. “He has really helped me get ready.”
Boxing – 1977 To 1997 – Sugar Ray Leonard Special – “Genius Footwork Explained With Technique Breakdown”
In January 1997, it was announced that Leonard had been voted into the International Boxing Hall Of Fame in Canastota, New York. The rules state that a boxer must be retired for five years before being eligible for induction. When the vote took place, Leonard had been retired for more than five years, therefore, he was eligible, even though he had a fight scheduled. The induction ceremony was on June 15, 1997.
Boxing – 2018 – Fair Game With Kristine Leahy’s Interview Of Sugar Ray Leonard – With Muhammad Ali’s Advice to Sugar Ray Leonard: “Sign Your Own Checks. Always Be Ready”
The fight with Camacho took place on March 1, 1997, in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Camacho applied pressure from the opening bell and started to score well in the third. He continued to score well in the fourth and opened a cut above Leonard’s right eye. In the 5th, Camacho dropped Leonard with a right followed by two left uppercuts. Leonard got up, but was unable to ward off Camacho. The referee stopped the fight with Camacho teeing off on a defenseless Leonard on the ropes. It was the only time in Leonard’s career that he was knocked out. Afterward, Leonard retired again, saying, “For sure, my career is definitely over for me in the ring.”….however, less than a week after the fight, Leonard said he planned to fight again. He blamed his loss on a torn right calf muscle…..while saying his doctor suggested that he cancel the fight, but Leonard wanted to go through with it….so, before the fight, he was given a shot of novocaine. Leonard said he planned to have a series of tuneup fights before fighting a champion. He was scheduled to fight Tony Menefee on February 15, 1998, in Australia, but he pulled out of the fight, saying that he didn’t have the motivation. The Camacho fight was Leonard’s last. He finished his career with a record of 36–3–1 with 25 knockouts.
Boxing – 1997 – IBC Middleweight Title Fight – Sugar Ray Leonard Vs Hector “Macho” Camacho
Leonard has worked as a boxing analyst for ABC, CBS, NBC, ESPN, HBO and EPIX….as his relationship with HBO lasted for more than a decade…..and ImaSportsphile has probably more Sugar Ray Leonard broadcaster footage than any other place….cuz Bone Daddy recorded 95% of the HBO boxing broadcasts during the decade of the 1980’s. His broadcasting career with HBO ended in 1990….after HBO was not offered an opportunity to bid on the telecast rights to Leonard’s fight with Terry Norris….so, HBO believed it would be inappropriate for Leonard to continue with them if they couldn’t bid on his fights. Leonard’s attorney, Mike Trainer, said, “There never has been a linkage between his broadcasting and his fighting.”
Boxing – 1977 To 1997 – Mr. X Special – Sugar Ray Leonard Highlights
Sugar Ray Leonard has provided commercial endorsements for companies including Coca-Cola, EA Sports, Ford, Nabisco, Revlon and 7 Up. His most famous commercial was a 7 Up ad he did with his son, Ray Jr., Roberto Durán and Durán’s son Roberto Jr. in the early 1980’s…..which ImaSportsphile has in out TV Ads section of the museum. Also, Leonard is among the most sought-after motivational/inspirational speakers in the world today. His speech, entitled “Power” (Prepare, Overcome and Win Every Round), is consistently booked with major Fortune 500 companies throughout the United States and abroad.
TV Ads & Boxing – 1981 – 7 – Up With Sugar Ray Leonard + Son Ray Jr.
TV Ads & Boxing – 1992 – Revlon With Cindy Crawford, Sugar Ray Leonard + And Claudie Schiffer
TV Ads & Boxing – 1999 – Diet Coke With Sugar Ray Leonard – “Just Call Me, Sugar Free”
Leonard has also worked as an actor. He has appeared in numerous television shows, including Half & Half, L.A. Heat, Married… with Children, Renegade and Tales From The Crypt. He has also appeared in several movies, including I Spy and most recently The Fighter (2010), starring Christian Bale and Mark Wahlberg…..as this movie brought back memories of his fight with Dicky Eklund. He also worked as an adviser in the 2011 robot boxing film Real Steel…..plus, Leonard served as host and mentor to the aspiring fighters on The Contender….as Sylvester Stallone, who co-hosted during the first season, was one of the executive producers, along with Mark Burnett. When Leonard left the show, he was replaced as host by Tony Danza for the final season.
Boxing & Movies – 2012 – Special – Sylvester Stallone and Sugar Ray Leonard Promote “The Contender”
In 2001, Leonard launched Sugar Ray Leonard Boxing Inc., a boxing promotional company….and announced the company’s strategic partnership with ESPN….who together, Leonard and ESPN would produce and promote “Sugar Ray Leonard and ESPN II Presents Friday Night Fights”….. which would air the 1st Friday of every month for twelve months. Leonard’s boxing promotional company was dissolved in 2004…..as he had a falling out with partner Bjorn Rebney….whom he called “a cancer in my company.” Speaking of his promotional company, Leonard said, “We did some great shows with evenly matched fights. I took great pride in it. But the TV show came about and made my decision a lot easier. I already had it in the back of my mind to dissolve the company. The working environment was not healthy.”
Boxing – 2012 – John Madden’s Journey Featuring Sugar Ray Seals + Sugar Ray Leonard In “The Tale Of Two Sugars”
Leonard competed on season 12 of Dancing with the Stars, which premiered on Monday, March 21, 2011, on ABC…..when his partner was Anna Trebunskaya…..as he was voted off in Week 4 of the show. During his appearance on The Colbert Report in 2011, Leonard was defeated by host Stephen Colbert in a thumb wrestling contest. He appeared as a guest at the chef’s table, along with Tito Ortiz, during the 10th season of Hell’s Kitchen…..and he is the celebrity spokesperson for the Atlanta law firm John Foy and Associates, PC. Leonard was also the subject of a Seinfeld episode (season 6, episode 21) where George tries to flatter his boss by saying he looks like Sugar Ray Leonard. The real Leonard (a Seinfeld fan) mentioned that he was told about the episode by friends and family….but had never seen it for himself until a friend gave him the DVD set for a gift.
News – 2011 – ABC Special Interview – 2011 – Sugar Ray Leonard & Anna Trebunskaya – After Getting Voted Off Of “Dancing With The Stars”
After posting this story about one of the most talented men to ever enter the boxing ring….I must admit that there has never been a boxer who retired and returned to the ring more often than Sugar Ray Leonard….and many boxing fans got tired of that….while driving them away from being “rabid Sugar Ray Leonard fans”….but they didn’t understand that in addition to his talent in the ring….which was exceptional by any standard…..while his talent as a financial genius outside of the ring has never been publicly reported….but if you really think about the timing of his retirements throughout his career….while then giving value to how much demand he created for his comebacks….I mean, he didn’t even have to have any pre-fights or warm-up fights before he fought for the title….so, he was able to have less fights in his career than his “super popular peers” that he fought (Thomas Hearns 67 fights / Wilfredo Benitez 63 fights / Roberto Duran 116 fights / Marvin Hagler 67 fights and Sugar Ray Leonard 40 fights)….and fighting an average of 38 less fights than Benitez, Hearns, Duran and Hagler….while earning more money in the ring ($161,000, 000) than the other four combined ($120,000,000)….as this shows how smart Ray Leonard was in managing his career…..cuz not only did he make at least 4 times more money than any of his rivals….when his body didn’t have to endure the damage delivered through 30 more fights life his rivals did. Simply put, Sugar Ray Leonard was with the best of the best in and out of the ring….and ImaSportsphile is proud of our incredible amount of video footage of the boxer who “put a little Sugar on it and made the Hands of Stone say NO MAS NO MASS”…..and folks, that is pure greatness.
Boxing – 1977 To 1997 – Special – Sugar Ray Leonard – “The Most Retiring Champion Of All Time”