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Sugar Ray Leonard: His Ten Biggest Ring Victories

Updated on May 20, 2015

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Tommy Hearns (First Bout)

1981- Las Vegas, Nevada

Sugar Ray Leonard had the WBC title and The Hitman had the WBA belt. Hearns was 32-0 and a devastating knockout puncher with a long, stiff jab. The bout turned out to be " The Fight of the Year". Tommy used his height and reach to out box Leonard and he even closed Leonard's eye with his jabs and long right hands. After 12 rounds Sugar Ray was losing and appeared to be on the way out. Somehow Leonard mounted an amazing comeback by hurting the tiring Hearns in the 13th and finishing him off in the 14th with Hearns out on his feet against the ropes.

Sugar Ray Leonard K.O. 14 Thomas Hearns

Sugar Ray Leonard unified the welterweight championships by knocking out Tommy "The Hitman" Hearns.
Sugar Ray Leonard unified the welterweight championships by knocking out Tommy "The Hitman" Hearns. | Source

Sugar Ray Leonard's Championship Weights

Welterweight
Jr. Middleweight
Middleweight
Super Middleweight
Light Heavyweight
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
These are the five weight classes that Sugar Ray Leonard won his world titles.

Marvin Hagler

1987- Las Vegas, NV

Leonard had been retired for nearly three years and this was his first bout back and it was against the middleweight and pound for pound champion. Hagler was making the 13th defense of his title and Leonard was a heavy underdog. The bout was close throughout with Hagler boxing right handed for much of the match. (Hagler is a southpaw) Leonard would flurry with 30-40 seconds remaining in the majority of the rounds attempting to steal the close heats. It worked in some cases when Leonard's edge in hand speed apparent in exchanges. Although the match was close and could have gone either way it is still impressive that Leonard did what he did against this legend especially after such a long retirement.


Sugar Ray Leonard W12 Marvelous Marvin Hagler

Sugar Ray Leonard beat Marvelous Marvin Hagler in 1987 to win the middleweight world title.
Sugar Ray Leonard beat Marvelous Marvin Hagler in 1987 to win the middleweight world title. | Source

Roberto Duran (Second Bout)

1980- New Orleans, Louisiana

"Hands of Stone" already beat Sugar Ray once taking his welterweight belt and giving him his only defeat. Duran possessed a record of 72-1 and looked unbeatable. Leonard avenged his only defeat and he regained the 147 pound laurels by frustrating Roberto Duran from round one. Sugar Ray taunted Duran as he landed shots and danced away. Leonard would wind up his right arm and then land two hard jabs in the face. Ultimately Duran was losing a close bout when he quit in the eight round. The speed was the difference. When the two fought up close Duran had a slight edge but when Leonard got going with footwork and reflexes he had a huge edge. Nuff said.

Sugar Ray Leonard K.O. 8 Roberto Duran 2

Sugar Ray Leonard beat Roberto Duran to avenge a defeat and regain the welterweight title.
Sugar Ray Leonard beat Roberto Duran to avenge a defeat and regain the welterweight title. | Source

Wilfred Benitez

1979- Las Vegas, NV

Wilfred Benitez was the youngest champion in boxing history having won the jr. welterweight title at just 17. Now as welterweight champion he was 32-0 and his reflexes and speed were similar to that of Leonard. Leonard was also undefeated and this was his first title shot. The bout was very close in the early and middle rounds with both men using feints and master boxing at ring center. Sugar Ray seemed to get better as the bout progressed and by the 15th round and spent Benitez slowed just enough for Leonard to pounce. And pounce he did as Leonard landed several huge punches to a lifeless Benitez who was frozen against the ropes.

Sugar Ray Leonard K.O. 12 Wilfred Benitez

Sugar Ray Leonard knocked out Wilfred Benitez in the final round to win his first title which was the welterweight championship.
Sugar Ray Leonard knocked out Wilfred Benitez in the final round to win his first title which was the welterweight championship. | Source

Donny Lalonde

1988- Las Vegas, NV

Lalonde was the 175 pound king and it was Leonard's first match in this division. Lalonde actually used his weight advantage and heavy hands to put Leonard on the canvas. Big mistake because it lit a fire under Sugar Ray who became an attacking machine. Leonard put Donny down and out in the 9th and Lalonde was hurt badly at the time of the stoppage. It took Leonard several rounds to adjust but once he did the difference in class was obvious. Lalonde had heart but Leonard used his own heart, will and skills to end the night and win two titles in the process.

Sugar Ray Leonard K.O. 9 Donny Lalonde

Sugar Ray knocked out Donny Lalonde to win the super middleweight and light heavyweight world titles.
Sugar Ray knocked out Donny Lalonde to win the super middleweight and light heavyweight world titles. | Source

Sugar Ray Leonard's Highlights

Ayub Kalule

1981- Houston, Texas

Kalule was the jr. middleweight champion and he had an outstanding 36-0 record coming into the bout. Leonard was trying for another title in a bigger weight division. The match had some competitive rounds but after four Leonard took over with superior footwork, reflexes and even power. Ayub Kalule was game but far too slow and flatfooted to match Leonard. In the 9th Leonard began landing hard combinations solidly enough to where the bout was stopped. On the outside or in the trenches it did not matter. Leonard had advantages all the way around and he used them all night.

Leonard vs. Marvelous Marvin Hagler Highlights (Video)

Birthplace of Sugar Ray Leonard (Wilmington, NC)

Roberto Duran (Third Bout)

1989- Las Vegas, NV

Both men were past their primes and the bout took place at super middleweight. This was Suar Ray's last top performance. Leonard schooled the slower Duran for a near shut out 12 round decision victory. Duran gave his all but Leonard was in great shape and it showed as he danced and landed fast flurries all fight long. Leonard never got hit with more than one shot at a time and won almost every heat during this rubber match of old legends destined for the Hall of Fame.

Sugar Ray Leonard (Five Division Champion)

Sugar Ray Leonard won titles as a welterweight, jr. middleweight, middleweight, super middleweight and light heavyweight.
Sugar Ray Leonard won titles as a welterweight, jr. middleweight, middleweight, super middleweight and light heavyweight. | Source

Boxer Rating

Cast your vote for Floyd Mayweather, Jr.

Floyd Mayweather

1978- Providence, Rhode Island

Leonard was 13-0 and on the rise after winning Olympic gold. His first test as a professional came against Floyd Mayweather senior. A defensive master with a 15-1 record at the time. After 5 rounds the bout was close but Sugar Ray started figuring out the shoulder roll and landing left hooks and body shots. Leonard dropped Mayweather hard in the 8th round two times. The fight was stopped in the 10th after Leonard landed almost at will during the stanza. Leonard faced an odd style and overcame it by changing strategies mid fight.

Dave Boy Green

1980- Landover, Maryland

Davey Boy Green was 33-2 and a solid welterweight contender. Leonard was the undefeated welterweight champion and he was in his absolute prime. Green got off a few good jabs but otherwise a mismatch occurred. Ray Leonard out landed his opponent at least 4-1 and he constantly snapped Green's head back at will. Green came forward with little to no head movement while Leonard stepped side to side landing to the head and body with every punch in the book from all angles.

Sugar Ray Leonard K.O. 4 Davey Boy Green

Sugar Ray Leonard made the first defense of his welterweight championship by flattening Green in four heats.
Sugar Ray Leonard made the first defense of his welterweight championship by flattening Green in four heats. | Source

Pete Ranzany

1979- Las Vegas, NV

Leonard was 23-0 and on his way to fighting for the welterweight championship of the world. Ranzany was a 45-3 veteran with power and above average skills. Leonard got tagged a few times in the first although he won the round. In the second and third heats Leonard landed uppercuts, hooks and straight rights down the middle every time he tossed them it seemed. In the 4th round Leonard dropped his foe twice the second time for the count.

Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Floyd Mayweather (Fight Video)

© 2015 Buster Johnson

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