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Duran Duran
ABC Sports Online


In a fast-paced battle, Roberto Duran dethroned Sugar Ray Leonard with a unanimous 15-round decision. Leonard regained the title when Duran quit in the eighth round of their rematch. In an excerpt from an interview conducted for the Wide World of Sports 40th Anniversary Leonard reflects the famous "no mas" fight with Duran.

ABC Sports
When did you come up with this new approach to fight Duran for the second fight? When did you know how you were going to be successful?

Sugar Ray Leonard
I knew that if I boxed Duran it would be a different story, I knew that I could outmaneuver Duran. But my brother Roger was the one who came up with those tactics, as far as sticking my chin out, the bolo punch with the left hand, tying him up, pushing his head down and making him mad. My brother Roger came up with that fight plan and those tactics.
Sugar Ray Leonard changed his fight strategy to regain his title from Roberto Duran.

ABC Sports
Did you consider that Duran was a bully and this was the way to beat a bully?

Leonard
Duran was like Marvin Hagler, they created an aggression. They wanted to be ferocious and nasty. They didn't like you and they didn't want to like their opponents. Deep down inside there was respect that Duran had for me but there's also a bully mentality too. That comes into play because if you challenge that guy, if you stand your ground, he'll show respect. That was indeed the case.

"I think that the media put more emphasis on why Duran quit as opposed to, whether I made him quit. That bothered me. I guess even to this day it bothers me, not like it has prevented me from sleeping but, you know, it does bother me a little bit."
Sugar Ray Leonard

ABC Sports
When you went into that fight, you were dressed in black with those funky gold-black shoes on. Where did this wardrobe and those black shoes come from?

Leonard
I always designed my robes and how I would present myself at every fight. But this particular time we were going back to the basics, we were going back to the drawing board. Black shoes, black socks, black trunks, black robe. Everything was just basic. No being cute, I'm a fighter. And I meant that, and I went back in there with that mindset, to just be basic to be Sugar Ray Leonard, and that's it.

What people don't realize, and I don't say this to many people, but what also reassured me that I would beat Duran, was when Ray Charles sang the national anthem. My name is Ray Charles Leonard. My mother named me after Ray Charles. I had never met him. But I when I met him the night of my fight, my rematch with Duran, that was like, [CLAPS HANDS] this is my show, this is my thing. Because when Ray Charles sang the national anthem, it was incredible, awesome. I mean, people started crying. It was so beautiful.

ABC Sports
You're standing there right next to Ray Charles as he's singing and you're practically hugging him while he's singing, and there was this glow around you.

Leonard
Yes. It was a glow, I had a glow because he was singing, I was bouncing up and down and I was becoming energized, just pumped up. I said this is America, man and you're in the wrong place now, big guy. I looked over at Duran's corner, and he was not all there. He was saying something, oh, I'm in trouble now. I saw it in his face. Fighters display two things. They display confidence or they display a look that says, "I'm not sure". And he had on his face, I'm not sure.

ABC Sports
The outcome of that fight stunned everyone. No one had an idea of what was happening. What was your reaction, when he turned his back on you and walked back to his corner?

Leonard
I was just as befuddled as everyone else and shocked. But I thought it was a trick. I thought Duran was trying to get me closer. You know, trying to walk away and say, "Ah, no," then punch me. In fact the referee had no idea what was going on. And then Duran said, "No mas, no mas," and then the referee ended the fight so I walked away. And then, the referee kind of said, "Let's fight, let's fight, come on back, come on back, come on back." Duran kept saying "No mas, no mas, that's it, that's it, that's it". I had no idea, but I heard my brother yell, "Ray, he quit, he quit!" In fact, if you watch the tape, my brother Roger jumps into the ring and runs towards Duran, to punch Duran. Because the first fight, my brother was in the ring, Duran punched my brother in the nose. Nailed him. So my brother was coming back to, uh, repay him. And you'll notice Duran jumped back to protect himself.

ABC Sports
When things settled down in the ring, was that a difficult thing for you to accept that he actually quit?

Leonard
I don't know. I just felt that I did my job, I felt that it all paid off. But also if you go back and review the tape, when my guys pick me up to celebrate, I kept saying, "Put me down, put me down." I wanted to see whether or not Duran was going to be a jerk. So when they put me down, I went right to his corner to see his reaction and he embraced me. The thing about boxers, is that, there's respect there. You beat me and I may not like it, but you know what, deep down inside, I respect you. And that's the code of honor.

ABC Sports
Do you think in any way, his quitting that fight tarnished your victory?

Leonard
I think that the media put more emphasis on why Duran quit as opposed to whether I made him quit. That bothered me. I guess even to this day it bothers me, not like it has prevented me from sleeping but it does bother me a little bit. I think that given the fact that Roberto Duran had proven himself time and time again, and he's a true champion in every sense of the word. That was a fight that he threw his hands up through frustration, through humiliation that people were actually laughing at Roberto Duran. And to really put things in perspective, he just said, "This is it, I don't need this." Without realizing the repercussions that he would have, or suffer from that fight. People remember Duran, not because of his great fights with Hagler, Davy Moore, me, or Benitez. They remember, "No mas, no mas", you hear it all the time, "no mas".

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