[Criteria: Fighter theoretically enters weight category of choice]
LIGHT-MIDDLEWEIGHT or JUNIOR MIDDLEWEIGHT or SUPER-WELTERWEIGHT 154 lbs: p1 Sugar Ray Leonard p4 Thomas Hearns p6 Canelo Alvarez p8 Mike McCallum p8 Mickey Walker p9 Wilfred Benitez p10 Winky Wright p10 Julian Jackson p11 Terry Norris p11 Felix Trinidad
[9.1] SUGAR RAY LEONARD 40-36(25)-3-1 [Light-Heavyweight & Super-Middleweight & Middleweight & Light-Middleweight & Welterweight]: Sugar Ray Leonard - No Mas TV - Sporting Greats TV - The Telegraph online - The Kings TV -
A fighter never knows when it’s the last bell. He doesn’t want to face that. Sugar Ray Leonard
Boxing is a sport, but it’s also entertainment. I wanted to transcend the sport and be considered just not as a fighter, or a champion, but someone very special. Sugar Ray Leonard
I watched Ali, studied Ali, and I studied Sugar Ray Robinson. I watched them display showmanship. I watched them use pizzazz, personality, and charisma. I took things from them and borrowed things from them because boxing is entertainment. Sugar Ray Leonard
Boxing is the ultimate challenge. There’s nothing that can compare to testing yourself the way you do every time you step in the ring. Sugar Ray Leonard
Boxing is individual, although there’s a team concept because you need a great corner, you need a great trainer, you need a great prep man, you need all of these things, but it’s more of a Mano a Mano; it’s more You versus Me. I miss that time in training camp and Dad and Mom cooking meals. It was one big family. Sugar Ray Leonard
Words cannot describe that feeling – of being a man, of being a gladiator, of being a warrior – it’s irreplaceable. Sugar Ray Leonard
Boxing was not something I truly enjoyed. Like a lot of things in life, when you put the gloves on, it’s better to give than to receive. Sugar Ray Leonard
I was not athletically inclined. I was very quiet, introverted, non-confrontational. My three older brothers were athletes – basketball, football – but I was kind of a momma’s boy. Then one day, my brother Roger encouraged me to go to the boxing gym with him. I tried the gloves on, and it just felt so natural. Sugar Ray Leonard
Boxing should focus on pitting champion versus champion – those are the fights that everyone wants to see. The sport also needs to work on developing new heroes and personalities. I’d like to see more vignettes on fighters, focusing on their lives, goals and stories. Boxers need to be larger than life. Sugar Ray Leonard
I made an instant connection with boxing right away. Boxing became such a part of me. I ate boxing. I slept boxing. I lived boxing. Boxing was a way of expressing myself because I was not that outspoken. Sugar Ray Leonard
Without boxing, because of my neighborhoods, who knows what would have happened to me. It was always about following the leader. And I definitely was not a leader. Boxing gave me discipline; a sense of self. It made me more outspoken. It gave me more confidence. Sugar Ray Leonard
Boxing’s a poor man’s sport. We can’t afford to play golf or tennis. It is what it is. It’s kept so many kids off the street. It kept me off the street. Sugar Ray Leonard
There will always be something about two men in the ring – a mystique because it’s pure man-to-man competition. Because of the history boxing has and the tradition it holds, boxing will always have that mystique. Sugar Ray Leonard
You have to know you can win. You have to think you can win. You have to feel you can win. Sugar Ray Leonard
Before the start of the ’76 Olympics, I’d had 160 amateur fights. I won 155 and lost five. Sugar Ray Leonard
I consider myself blessed. I consider you blessed. We’ve all been blessed with God-given talents. Mine just happens to be beating people up [cf. Muhammad Ali]. Sugar Ray Leonard
In 1980 the world seemed to stop to watch Duran and Leonard. No Mas, ESPN 2013
One of the ultimate rivalries in boxing. ibid.
I think the world wants to know what the hell happened that night in the ring in New Orleans – the No Mas fight. ibid. Leonard
Leonard spearheaded a resurgence of boxing in America … Leonard was a gigantic superstar. ibid. Boxing writer
His brawling style earned him a reputation as the meanest man in boxing. ibid.
The Brawl in Montreal: the richest bout in boxing history. ibid.
What is he [Leonard] doing? That’s not the way he fights. ibid. Bob Arum
It was close to death. ibid. Leonard
He’s just a pitbull with a pretty face. ibid. Mike Tyson, re Leonard
Leonard v Duran II: Ray Leonard was giving him a boxing lesson. ibid. writer
And then it happened: No Mas. ibid.
I think it’s disgraceful. ibid. Emanuel Steward
Hands of stone turned into hands of mush. ibid. Sal Marchiano
At the end of the fifth round I started getting cramps in my stomach and it kept getting worse and worse. ibid. Duran
Did Roberto Duran have a weight problem? ibid. Cosell
The biggest test of his career against Roberto Duran … The rematch arrived five months later. Sporting Greats: Sugar Ray Leonard
That compelling victory for Leonard set up the fight the boxing world had craved: Sugar Ray v Tommy the Hit Man Hearns. ibid.
‘I got involved with drugs and alcohol for a number of years.’ ibid. Leonard
Then in 1987 he announced his second comeback for a fight that nobody saw coming against World Middleweight champion Marvelous Marvin Hagler. ibid.
Only by reading The Big Fight, his uninhibited memoir released this week, can one be prepared for what follows. It was 1971, before Leonard had even coined his own sobriquet out of respect to his idol Sugar Ray Robinson, that his silent nightmare took hold.
He was just 16, but already a dancing virtuoso of a young boxer with designs on competing at the Munich Olympics.
One of his coaches for the Games, a man ‘in his late forties’, accompanied the teenager and another fighter to an amateur event in Utica, New York.
Leonard soon deemed his behaviour inappropriate when they were told to take a hot tub together while he watched from the other side of the bathroom. ‘He was a male authority figure,’ Leonard, now 55, relates. ‘We did not question him.’
Later, he would encounter the same figure in the front of a car outside his local rec centre in Maryland, ostensibly to hear about how significant the Olympics could be to his career.
Instead, the man leaned across and sexually assaulted him. Leonard ran from the car as fast he could, straight back to the family home in suburban Washington, and into his room to cry.
In the first draft of his autobiography, he opted not to recount his hurt in full, but in the published version it runs unexpurgated for four pages – its impact all the more devastating for the fact that it happened again, and that the perpetrator was once more somebody he knew.
We are left to wonder why Leonard, blessed with quicksilver reflexes, did not physically retaliate. ‘Being a boxer and a young man, I could have knocked out both guys,’ he acknowledges.
‘But it’s embarrassment. You think, ‘How did this happen to me?’ You try forgetting about it, pushing it away, whether with cocaine, alcohol, or prescription pills. You try to find a way to mask the emotional trauma.’
Thus does an alternative rationale emerge for his days of excess, when Sugar Ray, newly anointed light welterweight champion after the Montreal Olympics, would succumb to every temptation that a town like Las Vegas could bestow.