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Sugar Ray Leonard

Titles: World welterweight champion 1979-1980 and 1981-1982, WBA jr middleweight 
champion 1981, WBC middleweight champion 1987, WBC super middleweight champion 1988-
1990, WBC light heavyweight champion 1988. 

Record: 36-3-1 

Born: May 17, 1956 in Wilmington, South Carolina, USA

Years active: 1911-1932

Nickname:  Sugar 

Ray Leonard was the pioneer for many a American fighter. He was the first to really 
use the Gold Medal that he won in the Olympics as a launching pad to the pros. He 
signed deals to endorse products like 7-UP and McGregor athletic wear and most 
importantly he demanded to be in charge of his career. Only his trainer Angelo 
Dundee was let into decision making when it came to who Ray would fight. It was 
Sugar Ray's way or now way.... boxers like Roy Jones and Oscar DeLaHoya owe Ray 
Leonard a lot for destroying the way the boxer was only thought of as the product 
who had no say in his future. In the ring Ray Leonard was spectacular with his 
controlled aggression and knack for timely flurries. It is the sudden flurry of 
punches that the fans came to know Leonard for as he would patiently look for a 
opening, not to land one punch but 3 or 4 in a row before moving on to set the trap 
again. Speedy and imaginative fists took Leonard to the top where he would fight
and defeat the best of his time and indeed anytime. Outside of the ring some say 
Leonard was arrogant, manipulative towards the media and that he did not want to 
fight seemingly deserving contenders instead insisting that he would want to fight 
"big name" opponents. Thus in a way dismissing them as inferior not to mention 
having them sign unfavorable contracts in order to fight him. Still even his most 
ardent critics must accept and respect his genius in the ring, winning titles at 
5 weights is almost unheard of. Ray Leonard will never be thought of as popular 
as the original Sugar Ray but in terms of talent it is a close call. Maybe the 
best summation of Leonard was given by English writer Harry Mullan who said "His 
ego matched his genius". Ray Leonard (Named after famed R&B singer Ray Charles) 
was one of 7 children who followed his older brother to a gym at the age of 14 
and found his calling. In a remarkable amateur career he only lost 5 fights and 
culminated his amateur career with a Gold Medal in the 1976 Montreal Olympic 
games. After he won that Gold Medal Ray Leonard announced to the world that he 
would retire from the sport.......... it would not be the last time. He changed 
his mind when his father became ill to help pay mounting bills. Showing the first 
signs of his outside of the ring skills he formed Sugar Ray Leonard Inc. to help 
in business dealing and sought the guidance of famed trainer Angelo Dundee in the 
ring. Leonard had earned many fans during the Olympics and was featured on national 
T.V for his first pro performance and earned more in his first pro fight than any 
fighter had ever received for his pro debut. His career progressed smoothly taking 
on the usual journeyman before stepping up in competition, it was obvious no one 
at that level could deal with his fast hands. On his way to a title shot he defeated 
well regarded Floyd Mayweather, Randy Shields, Armando Muniz, Adolfo Viruet and 
Pete Ranzany all very competent pros who could not match Leonard in any way. Ray 
Leonard was the first non-heavyweight to be paid 1 millions dollars to challenge 
for a title when he faced another boxing prodigy in Wilfred Benitez. The fight was 
a near classic and did feature some great exchanges, Leonard set the pace early
and floored Benitez in the 3rd round. It was the bursts of punches to the body which 
slowly sapped the energy of Benitez that would enable Leonard to stop him in the 
last round. They battled evenly through the middle rounds before Leonard began to 
pull away. It was in the 15th that Leonard floored Benitez again to seal a victory 
before the referee stopped the fight with seconds remaining. Benitez and Leonard 
had done the impossible..... they made a chess match of a fight look exciting. The 
bout proved Leonard could go the distance against anyone in a fast paced bout. The 
first defense of his title against Davy "Boy" Green of England was only notable 
for the stunning left hook knock out which Leonard called the most vicious punch 
he ever landed. It might have gave him to much confidence as his next fight would 
be his first loss in a epic battle against Roberto Duran where he thought he could 
out punch the Panamanian legend. In the fight Leonard tried to counter punch the 
almost maniacal advances of Duran but he could not stop Duran from getting on the 
inside and ripping shots to his body and head. It was by no means one sided as both
men threw punches in bunches, yet it seemed as it was always Duran who was coming 
forward and it impressed the judges to give him a points win. The fight is a classic 
by any measure, Ray proved he had the heart and chin to take as well as he could 
dish out. It was a close but unanimous decision win for Roberto. Five months later 
in the rematch it was not even close as Ray Leonard humiliated the great Duran into 
quitting with his footwork that would not allow him to be trapped anywhere in the 
ring. Leonard stayed at distance with a crisp jab and moved smoothly around the 
charges of Duran this time having learned his lesson from the last encounter. Duran 
was simply left swinging at the air. Next Leonard scored a very impressive win over 
southpaw Ayub Kalule with a 9th round kayo win, Kalule is underrated in the annals 
of boxing in my opinion and Leonard's domination of him was complete. Now Leonard 
concentrated on his greatest foe Thomas "The Hitman" Hearns in another super 
showdown! The bout was incredible, a classic that will live forever be retold when 
boxing fans gather to talk of the all time greatest fights. Everyone was surprised 
when Leonard became the stalker of a moving and boxing Hearns, their roles had 
become reversed and Hearns was winning the bout......but tiring. Leonard moved his 
head well to slip the long armed punches of Hearns as he worked his way in to get 
off shots to Hearns side and face. It took it's toll as Leonard's eye began to 
swell badly limiting his sight. In the 13th round first signs of Leonard's work 
became apparent when he rocked Hearns for a standing eight count. In the 14th round 
Leonard was sure of the victory as he stalked Hearns looking to land only big power 
shots, he had finally caught up to Hearns who had taken a lead on the scorecards 
with his precision punches. Leonard punished a wobbly Hearns along the ropes with 
a flurry of punches which forced the referee to halt the fight and giving Leonard a 
incredible come from behind victory. Leonard made one defense of this title against 
Bruce Finch before a detached retina was found on his left eye and he retired. 
It took 2 years before Leonard made his comeback after corrective eye surgery to 
face Kevin Howard. It was not pretty as Leonard won but did not look his usual self 
and was even knocked down before he won the fight with a 9th round stoppage. Ray 
Leonard retired again until 2 years later he challenged legendary middleweight 
Marvin Hagler. In what is one of the most disputed outcomes of all time Leonard
was awarded a close decision win. It was a very good fight and difficult to score 
as Hagler landed more punches but Leonard landed the more noticeable punches almost
always towards the end of each round. It was a great performance by Leonard however 
as almost no one thought he could win in the first place, it was a return to the 
dancing Ray we saw in the Benitez bout. Once again Ray announced his retirement 
after the bout. A year and half later Ray returned to the ring and once again won 
as he defeated Donny LaLonde in a good bout that saw the hand speed of Leonard 
frustrate the slower LaLonde into making mistakes. LaLonde was not able to with-
stand the fast pace set by Leonard and wilted in the mid rounds before being 
stopped in the 9th round. A rematch with Thomas Hearns was a fight Leonard could 
not turn down..... perhaps he should have. The two aging warriors fought a good 
fight but it could of course not compare to their first battle. Leonard was floored 
twice in the bout and a late rally in the last round reminiscent of their first 
bout almost pulled out a victory for Ray Leonard. The decision was a roundly booed 
draw......most everyone thinks Hearns won this bout. Another regrettable rematch 
with Roberto Duran was made, it was as dissappointing as their first match was 
great. Both fighters posed to much and hit to little, it was Duran who was the 
lazier of the two losing a 12 round decision. The only action came in the form 
of frequent headbutts. Two more years would go by before Leonard would again make 
a comeback, this time however he did not challenge one of his older companions 
but a young Terry Norris. It was one of the few miscalculations of Ray's career 
as the younger and more importantly faster Terry Norris battered Leonard for 12 
one sided rounds. The fight only proved that Leonard could take a beating, get 
knocked down and not quit when the going got tough. Still it was not over yet for 
Leonard as he was goaded out of retirement by Hector Camacho the way Leonard could 
not goat Marvin Hagler out of retirement. Leonard was now 40 years old and it 
showed as he could not take the normally weak punches of Camacho and slouched to 
a 5th round TKO loss. Writers commented that he looked like a 6 round novice..... 
how the mighty had fallen. But outside of the ring Leonard never lost as he amassed 
a small fortune from his ring earnings and invested it wisely. Like Ali who Leonard 
has been compared to he made to many comeback fights but those losses could never 
take away those shining moments early and indeed late in his career. When all is 
said Leonard should be considered one of the greatest men to ever lace up the 
gloves and a role model for boxers to follow outside of the ring. 


Sugar Ray Leonard

Career Record: 36 W, 3 L, 1 D, (25 KO's)


                                              1977


     5 Feb   Luis Vega               Las Vegas, NV           W6
     14 May  Willie Rodriguez        Baltimore, MD           W6
     10 Jun  Vinnie DeBarros         Hartford, CT            KO3
     24 Sep  Frank Santore           Baltimore, MD           KO5
     5 Nov   Augustin Estrada        Las Vegas, NV           KO5
     17 Dec  Hector Diaz             Washington, DC          KO2

                                              1978

     4 Feb   Rocky Ramon             Baltimore, MD           W8
     1 Mar   Art McKnight            Dayton, OH              KO7
     19 Mar  Javier Muniz            New Haven, CT           KO1
     13 Apr  Bobby Haymon            Landover, MD            KO3
     13 May  Randy Milton            Utica, NY               KO8
     3 Jun   Rafael Rodriguez        Baltimore, MD           W10
     18 Jul  Dick Eckland            Boston, MA              W10
     9 Sep   Floyd Mayweather        Providence, RI          KO10
     6 Oct   Randy Shields           Baltimore, MD           W10
     3 Nov   Bernardo Prada          Portland, ME            W10
     9 Dec   Armando Muniz           Springfield, IL         KO6

                                              1979

     11 Jan  Johnny Gant             Landover, MD            KO8
     11 Feb  Fernand Marcotte        Miami Beach, FL         KO8
     24 Mar  Daniel Gonzales         Tucson, AZ              KO1
     21 Apr  Adolfo Viruet           Las Vegas, NV           W10
     20 May  Marcos Geraldo          New Orleans, LA         W10
     24 Jun  Tony Chiaverini         Las Vegas, NV           KO4
     12 Aug  Pete Ranzany            Las Vegas, NV           KO4
     28 Sep  Andy Price              Las Vegas, NV           KO1
     30 Nov  Wilfredo Benitez        Las Vegas, NV           KO15
             (Won World & WBC Welterweight Title)


                                              1980


     31 Mar  Dave Green              Landover, MD            KO4
             (Retained World & WBC Welterweight Title)
     20 Jun  Roberto Duran           Montreal, Canada        L15
             (Lost World & WBC Welterweight Title)

     25 Nov  Roberto Duran           New Orleans, LA         KO8
         (Won World & WBC Welterweight Title)

                                              1981

     28 Mar  Larry Bonds             Syracuse, NY            KO10
           (Retained World & WBC Welterweight Title)
     25 Jun  Ayub Kalule             Houston, TX             KO9
            (Won World & WBA Jr. Middleweight Title; vacated 7/91)
     16 Sep  Thomas Hearns           Las Vegas, NV           KO14
             (Won WBA, Retained World & WBC Welterweight Titles)

                                              1982

     15 Feb  Bruce Finch             Reno, NV                KO3
             (Retained World Welterweight Title)

                                              1984

     11 May  Kevin Howard            MA                      KO9

                                              1987

     6 Apr   Marvelous Marvin Hagler Las Vegas, NV           W12
             (Won World & WBC Middleweight Title)

                                              1988

     7 Nov   Don Lalonde             Las Vegas, NV           KO9
             (Won WBC Light Heavyweight and Super Middleweight Titles)

                                              1989

     12 Jun  Thomas Hearns           Las Vegas, NV           D12
             (Retained WBC Super Middleweight Title)

     7 Dec   Roberto Duran           Las Vegas, NV           W12
             (Retained WBC Super Middleweight Title)

                                             1991

     9 Feb   Terry Norris            Las Vegas, NV           L12

                                             1997

     1 Mar Hector "Macho" Camacho               KO by 5