Today marks the 57th birthday of “Sugar” Ray Leonard, one of the biggest sports personalities of the eighties. After winning a gold medal at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal Leonard began a quest to becoming an entire brand onto himself.
Whilst so many boxers are content of playing the role of dumb brute, or attacked and ridiculed for presenting a different personality than the stereotypical one, Leonard was very astute when it came to creating a persona around himself. Well spoken and immaculately dressed, he presented a different type of fighter.
Roberto Duran was not that cat AT ALL. A warrior who grew up in a slum nicknamed La Casa di Piedra (The House of Stone) Duran wasn’t big on social graces. Instead he was an incredibly skilled brawler able to mix it up with all types of fighters.
In this matchup he needed it. He was going against one of the quickest fighters of all time, a man who moved around the ring with a grace not seen since the heights of Muhammad Ali’s career. They say styles make fights. This is a perfect example. Brawler versus technician. It proved to be just as exciting as everyone hoped.
It might be questioned why we feature a fight in which Leonard lost on his birthday. It’s simple really. It’s far too easy to simply rejoice with one of his notable victories. Instead we decided to celebrate the spirit of the warrior, who sees defeat not as the end of it all but rather the chance to recuperate and come back stronger than ever. If you’ve never lost you’ve never realized how sweet victory really is.