Originally Posted by natonic
I'll grant you that there was the media darling side to Leonard. But to only see that and deny that the guy could actually fight is misguided. Benitez, Duran, Hearns, Hagler. Did he fight courageously in Montreal? Against Hearns? Not too many have a greater list of wins in history. Leonard imitated Ali who imitated Robinson and others to an extent. De La Hoya was far worse than Leonard in the context that you mention because unlike Oscar, Leonard was actually a great fighter. Greed got boxing where it is now. Leonard was just one of the vehicles, he wasn't driving the bus. There's a $40 pay per view fight coming up featuring JuanMa and the Cuban featherweight prospect (can't even remember his name right now which is kind of the point). They should be heading up ESPN cards. That's not Leonard fault. It's the greed of the promoters and the fans fault who buy that crap.
The trouble I have with Duran is the selective memory of his supporters. I rate him higher than Leonard, though not by much. Montreal is the greatest single performance I can think of. But New Orleans is completely dismissed because he quit. If he wouldn't have quit he would've been dominated if not stopped. Leonard - Duran III is completely dismissed but he gets massive credit for beating a very crude Barkley. And sorry, Hagler - Duran really wasn't that close although I do give him a lot of credit for psyching Hagler.
Leonard was the fighter of the 1980s, I do not doubt or deny him that.
But he thought himself above the sport, he was never prepared to become one of us, he was aloof, he was false
(my one word description of him).
And what is worse is that other fighters have seen his success and copied his out off ring style which has help ruin the sport from its last peak in the 1980s, to arguably, today, where the sport is in as big a crisis as it has been in since the 1880's.