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Tuesday, April 3, 2007
Sugar Ray Leonard career timeline

By Bert Randolph Sugar
Boxing Historian

  • Born Ray Charles Leonard, May 17, 1956, Wilmington, South Carolina
  • Named for musician, Ray Charles
  • Amateur record:
    Won U. S. National Amateur title, 1974-'75
    American Games, 1975
    Olympic Games, 1976
    (all in light welterweight class)
  • First pro bout, on national TV, February 5, 1977, six-round win over Luis "The Bull" Vega
  • Won first 25 bouts, 16 by knockout, 1977-'79
  • In only third year as pro, stopped Wilfred Benitez in fifteenth round to win welterweight title, November 30, 1979
  • Defended title against Davey "Boy" Green, March 31, 1980, KO 3
  • Lost title in 15-round decision to Roberto Duran, June 20, 1980
  • Regained the title in rematch when Duran refused to continue in eighth round, November 25, 1980
  • Successfully defended title against Larry Bonds, March 28, 1981, KO 10
  • Won WBA world junior middleweight title by ninth-round knockout over Ayub Kalule, June 25, 1981
  • Stopped WBA welterweight champion Thomas Hearns in fourteenth round to unify welterweight title, September 16, 1981
  • Defended title successfully against Bruce Finch. KO 3, February 15, 1982
  • Scheduled defense against Roger Stafford, May 1982, canceled after Leonard underwent surgery to repair detached retina, May 9 , 1982
  • Announced retirement at special gala, Baltimore, November 9, 1982
  • Comeback versus Kevin Howard, May 11, 1984. Stopped Howard in nine, but floored for first time in career and retired again immediately after bout
  • Came out of retirement again to face Marvelous Marvin Hagler and win middleweight title, April 6, 1987
  • Beat Donny Lalonde to win both super middleweight and light heavyweight titles (WBC). November 7. 1988, with ninth-round TKO
  • Drew with Tommy Hearns in controversial decision, June 12, 1989
  • Beat Roberto Duran in rubber match, December 7, 1989
  • Made two unsuccessful comebacks, losing to Terry Norris in 12 rounds, February 9. 1991, and stopped by Hector Camacho in five. March 1, 1997
  • Elected to International Boxing Hall of Fame, 1997
  • Complete career records: 40 bouts, 36 wins, 3 losses, one draw, 25 knockouts

    From "Boxing's Greatest Fighters"
    copyright Lyons Press