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Leonard, Hearns weigh in on Thurman-Porter bout

Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns recently sat down to discuss their past battles and the upcoming Keith Thurman-Shawn Porter bout. Gabriel Olsen/Getty Images

Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns, who fought two memorable battles, are both Hall of Famers and among the greatest welterweights of all time.

Their 1981 title unification fight, in which Leonard was trailing on all three scorecards before rallying for a 14th-round knockout, is one of the biggest fights in boxing history.

Leonard and Hearns both weighed in with their views of the much-anticipated fight between welterweight titleholder Keith Thurman (26-0, 22 KOs) and former titleholder Shawn Porter (26-1-1, 16 KOs), who will meet on Saturday night (CBS, 9 p.m. ET) at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Here is what they each had to say about the Thurman-Porter showdown, courtesy of the Premier Boxing Champions media team:

How do you prepare to face the best man in your division?

Hearns: “It's always hard to get prepared for someone like that because you think about what the outcome is going to be and what are your chances of winning the fight. I never thought about losing, but I thought about what my chances were.

“I knew if I went out and boxed the way I knew I could box, I would beat Ray. Just the thought of fighting Ray brought a lot of questions to my mind. Some I had answers to and some I didn't have. Most other guys I knew I could go out there and knock them out."

What excited you about this matchup?

Leonard: "Just the heart of Keith and Shawn. Both of these guys have heart and both have that will, that composure. You can't teach composure. It's something that you either have or you don't. You can't learn that. That deep, deep composure when your left eye is closed and your liver is busted and you got to get up on the canvas."

Hearns: "I know Thurman and Porter have the ability to get each other out of there. It's going to be a matter of who gets to who first. I'm definitely watching. I hope to be there in person."

How important is the mental aspect of this match?

Hearns: "I know what it's like to go against somebody that people don't think you can beat. You have to prepare for that. It's a mental stage that you go through, how you prepare your mind. If you can control your mind and tell your body what you're going to do, then you can do it. You can't worry about how good the other guy can punch. Just stay out of the way. Keep on laying that stick on him and he won't be able to punch you."

What was your mentality going into Leonard-Hearns I?

Hearns: "I didn't come to go 12 or 15 rounds. I came to whip your butt and go home. I had no desire to go 15 rounds. I trained for it, but I was never going 15 rounds."

Leonard: "I felt that I could beat anyone. My brother Roger didn't think I could beat Tommy. He didn't tell me that until it was over. In training camp, I used to box Roger, and he would land a lot of right hands. He figured if Tommy's right hand landed on me, it would be over. My brother didn't have much confidence in me."