Sugar Ray Leonard: “Losses made Hearns, Hagler, Duran and myself better fighters”

  • February 17th, 2012
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By Scoop Malinowski

The great Sugar Ray Leonard recently did an interview with Athletes Quarterly magazine and made some interesting points.

Speaking with the Editor-in-chief and Publisher of AQ Michael Dolan, Leonard talked about what boxing needs to do to change it’s direction:

Leonard: “In our sport, we don’t work together. Other sports – the NBA, the NFL, they have problems. But they fix them. They come to a compromise and they fix them. Boxing doesn’t. The sport can generate so much money in one night, especially when people work together.”

Leonard on how he would like to be remembered: “I want to be be remembered as someone who wasn’t just a fighter, but was special and understood what I brought to the table every time I stepped to the ring. I gave my heart, blood, sweat and tears. And also, I want people to remember me for being honest. I told it straight in the book (Leonard’s acclaimed 2011 autobiography, “The Big Fight”). Tommy Hearns should have won our fight. I also believe I beat Marvin Hagler. It’s all out there. I never thought in a million years I would open up my life to the world. It was really hard to do, but every day it feels better and better. Not easier, but better.”

Leonard on why the big fights happened in his era but today the biggest fight in boxing history (Pacqiuao-Mayweather) may never happen: “That’s because a manager or promoter – their guy is 25-0 or 21-0 – they think that means something. It doesn’t mean anything. It’s okay to have two or three losses. It’s what kind of fighter you are that people respect. I have a few losses on my record, but that doesn’t justify who I am. Hearns had losses. Duran had losses. Hagler had losses. That made us better fighters. After my first fight with Duran, which took me to the brink physically, I came back and fought five months later. These days, that second fight may never happen.”

Note: Sugar Ray Leonard’s final ring record was 36-3-1 (25 KO’s). In his career, Leonard had victories against Marvin Hagler, Roberto Duran, Thomas Hearns, Wilfred Benitez, Donny Lalonde, Ayub Kalule, Pete Ranzany, Davey Green, Larry Bonds and Floyd Mayweather Sr. His thee losses were to Roberto Duran, Terry Norris (while at age 34) and Hector Camacho (age 40).

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