Originally Posted by ETM
Duran winning the Lightweight Title in dominating fashion against a respected champion and then defending it 12 times, 11 by Knockout over a 6 year period carries alot of weight.
Leonard didnt accomplish that. He lost his title early in his reign and got it back and had the eye injury. He had the ability to do it but I cant give him credit for what he mightve done.
He did have some high profile wins. The Hearns win was about as good as it gets in quality. Leonard didnt give Hearns the rematch the way Duran gave him one until 8 years later.
We dont know what wouldve happened had Tommy gotten a crack at Leonard in `82 when it shouldve happened. Hearns may have had some adjustments in the rematch the way Leonard adjusted to Duran in New Orleans.
My point is the consistant domination even in his prime wasnt there from Ray Leonard. He had less than 40 fights in his entire career. I think Duran had that many 2 or 3 years in.
I see your point. 40 fights in a whole career is not that many, although Delahoya has about 40 himself doesn't he? Duran's lightweight competition was not that great, if it was defenses which matter Virgil Hill should be the greatest ever or Larry Holmes. Virgil had something like 25 title defenses on 4 title reigns. He didn't knock out everyone but he fought decent guys also, but not many greats, and the ones he fought (Hearns and Jones) he lost to.
Well I agree with you, Ray knew he slipped by Hearns when Tommy was a little green and the rematch might have been different. He tried to say he would give Tommy a rematch if Tommy admitted the fight was stopped at the right time, which Tommy said he could have continued.. But a fight with Hearns and Leonard in a rematch in 1982 could have been much better for Hearns, and I think Ray was burned out by the 2 Duran fights, Benitez and Hearns and other defenses. He had a bruising 2 and a half years. And they talked about him fighting Pryor, although Pryor did not get big until he beat Arguello in late 1982.
Maybe it is just me, but I rate greatness in how many greats you fought and beat. Fighting them does help a guys ranking and Duran fought them all, but beating them all is rare. Hearns or Duran or Hagler did not beat all 4 and Ray did, so he has to rank in my mind over all of them.. Leonard is 5-1-1 against Benitez,Hearns,Duran, Hagler, Hearns is 2-2-1 Hagler is 1-2 and Duran is 1-5. I cannot say a guy who lost to the best guys he ever fought is better than the guy who beat all those guys. Regardless of excuses or that Duran had 115 fights and fought for 35 years. Had Duran beaten Arguello that would have been a nice win, and also so he beat Arguello at lightweight and Cervantes and Pryor at 140.. He wouldn't need to beat Hearns,Benitez,Leonard,Hagler, but he didn;t beat those guys to beat the greats. Leonard did.