against '79-'80 Roberto Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard. Manassa recently ran a thread about Gavilan versus brawling welters. I picked Duran....but after consideration...I'm not so sure.
Recently read a review of the second Robinson/Gavilan fight from Time magazine, it stated that Robinson elected not to engage with the 'Keed'... choosing instead to counterpunch his way to victory. Rocky Marciano commented during Gavilan/Hairston 2, That Ray 'outsmarted' Gavilan....and that Gavilan resembled Henry Armstrong with his style of fighting.
On boxrec, in the little synopsis, Robinson stated that Gavilan made him 'nervous', to fight his normal fight. After watching Gavilan in action on film, I can see why SRR decided to go that route (boxing) for the win.
Gavilan is truly an iron man of the ring, a foe with incredible stamina, speed, all time great chin, and fighting spirit. Would he overwhelm Duran with his relentlessness? Gavilan in full charge was something to behold...What gives me difficulty in picking a winner here is that Duran absolutely excelled against fighters that would come to him...On the inside fighting, during the '79-'80 time frame, Duran was so technically superb...I think it may be safe to assume judging by the fights I've seen, that Duran is defensively superior to Gavilan....On the inside and perhaps the outside range as well. Duran was also physically strong at welter...I feel that Gavilan would choose to battle Duran on the inside for the duration of the fight... I feel that a prime Roberto Duran is a genuine threat to a lot of great welterweights. He proved it by beating Sugar Ray Leonard, in what I feel was a performance for the ages. It's a tough call...(for me anyway
Would Leonard be able to hurt Gavilan? Not a chance. Is he faster than Gavilan? Yes, it appears so....but Gavilan is also very fast handed. Would Ray be able to use his footwork to stay away from Gavilan? Only for a small portion of the fight (if that), Gavilan is very fleet afoot and can cut off the ring very well. It would look like Gavilan was running him out of the ring. Ray would soon realize this, and have to go to 'plan B'.
What would that honestly be? Leonard might not be able to dictate like SRR, because Robinson did hit harder. I don't think that Leonard could box him like he did against Benitez... Gavilan's activity wouldn't permit it. In order not to lose a decision outright, Leonard may be inclined to stand toe to toe. Leonard could possibly win this way but it would not be easy.
I'd like everyone's opinions about these two great fights