Sugar Ray Leonard vs Wilfred Benitez | ON THIS DAY FREE FIGHT | Leonard Becomes Champ

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Look back #onthisday free fight on this day in 1979 when #SugarRayLeonard beat #WilfredBenitez to becoming Welterweight Champion.

Next Up for Top Rank Boxing on ESPN, one of the leaders of boxing’s electric youth movement, Shakur Stevenson, is set to close out 2020 in grand fashion. Stevenson, the undefeated former featherweight world champion from Newark, N.J., will fight Toka Kahn Clary in the 10-round junior lightweight main event Saturday, Dec. 12, from MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

The 10-round co-feature will showcase Puerto Rican lightweight star Felix “El Diamante” Verdejo against Japanese contender Masayoshi Nakatani. In the ESPN-televised opener, super middleweight wrecking ball Edgar “The Chosen One” Berlanga, 15-0 with 15 first-round knockouts, will fight an opponent to be named in an eight-rounder.

Stevenson-Kahn Clary, Verdejo-Nakatani and Berlanga will headline a special telecast LIVE on ESPN and ESPN Deportes beginning at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

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The Struggle Continues

21 thoughts on “Sugar Ray Leonard vs Wilfred Benitez | ON THIS DAY FREE FIGHT | Leonard Becomes Champ”

  1. Leonard gets a reputation as an outfighter/boxer because of the 2nd Duran fight, but in general that was very uncharacteristic of him, and he didn't actually succeed that well (Duran ended up quitting due to many factors, but it's not like Leonard was ever a young Ali in that fight). He tends to prefer to punch, using his fantastic punch mechanics and natural speed and power. He was a boxer-puncher, with a lot more puncher than boxer.

    Here, Benitez is the boxer, Leonard is just trying to find openings to punch a hole in him (and eventually, it's exactly that which wins him the fight). In the 2nd Hearns fight, he is also unsure of what to do and kinda just follows Hearns around and drops round after round, and the two times he hurt Hearns and eventually knocked him out was yet again, him deciding 'fuck it I'm just going to punch the fuck out of this dude' and throws a 20 punch combo.

    Fighters show their true character when under duress, and although it's often said that Leonard fought wrongly in the first Duran fight, I don't think that's true. First of all, Dundee and team were trying to push Duran back because Duran had never shown himself to be a good outfighter. It ended up not working because Duran was able to force Leonard against the ropes by tying him up and not letting him punch like he is doing here against Benitez (and also Duran's slick counterpunching). Under that immense duress, Leonard did what he does, and tries to punch a hole through Duran, he just fails because Duran is the greatest infighter ever. In the 2nd fight, he basically avoids being trapped on the ropes effectively, but it's not like he was utterly lighting him up.

    This Benitez fight, in my opinion, proves that. Leonard isn't dancing out the outside and popping him with jab and counters, he's trying to find the distance and timing to throw hard, KO punches. Benitez is the one being slick, and he almost succeeds.

  2. This fight was stopped a tad too soon. Benitez was not out on his feet. The ref was not comfortable with the blood flowing from his forehead. Benitez was just a bit tired, and so was Ray. Good technical fight. One of the best I've ever seen.

  3. Fighting grown mans since 14 becoming champ at 16 wow Benitez was really something else very underrated fighter because it got shadow by sugar and the rest but he beat twice Duran and fought sugar and also the hit man

  4. Leonard had it all….that win over hagler at middleweight is still underappreciated in my opinion….hagler was such a beast maybe the greatest middleweight of all time and Leonard after a lay off and the smaller man just took him to school….he's in my top 5 fighters of all time no question

  5. This when boxing was boxing the best fought the best in there prime…Do anyone believe that if Floyd fought when Leonard came along that he would be undefeated. Leonard fought Benitez, Hearns, Duran and Hagler….A lot of his fan's believe he is the greatest because of a 50 and 0 record….But the only fighter he fought that came close to the fighter that Leonard fought that was Manny and they didn't fight until after Manny got knocked out….

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