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Old 05-30-2012, 11:33 AM   #1
Mr Valleyboy
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Default Could Sugar Ray Leonard have been even greater than he was?

OK First thread - Here goes......

I have just finished reading the Sugar Ray Leonard Autobiography 'The Big Fight' and what a good read it was. I highly reccomend it (for what thats worth haha)

Anyway two questions came to mind on more than one occassion whilst reading the book;

If SRL had not had his problems with drink and drugs, would he have had an even better record? (maybe an obvious answer to that really I know but its more a discussion point than a question I guess)

and

Did his numerous retirements help or hinder him in terms of his record? i.e. did the breaks he took help keep him in better condition due to not being in as many bouts and taking as many punches as he would have, or did the ring rust he no doubt experienced let him down in bouts he would have otherwise won?

Your thoughts......

Cheers
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Old 05-30-2012, 11:39 AM   #2
Stevie G
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Default Re: Could Sugar Ray Leonard have been even greater than he was?

Welcome to the forum,Mr Valleyboy


From what I gather,Ray's problems with drink and drugs were limited to out of training hours. When he went into camp,he layed off them.

He's one of the all time greats,definitely but if he'd carried on through 1983-86 he'd probably have had even more scalps. On the other hand,he may have lost in a Hearns rematch at 154 lbs. I'm split 50/50 on that one.
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Old 05-30-2012, 11:45 AM   #3
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Default Re: Could Sugar Ray Leonard have been even greater than he was?

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Welcome to the forum,Mr Valleyboy


From what I gather,Ray's problems with drink and drugs were limited to out of training hours. When he went into camp,he layed off them.

He's one of the all time greats,definitely but if he'd carried on through 1983-86 he'd probably have had even more scalps. On the other hand,he may have lost in a Hearns rematch at 154 lbs. I'm split 50/50 on that one.
Thanks Stevie

Yeah thats pretty much what he says himself in the book. Although he did indulge his vices a lot, he was always relieved to get back into training where he didnt even think of them let alone need them (except for the women, but hey nobody is perfect by any means)

Talking of the Hearns rematch - he actually states in his book that he believes Tommy was robbed in that bout and deserved the decision over him.
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Old 05-30-2012, 11:51 AM   #4
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Default Re: Could Sugar Ray Leonard have been even greater than he was?

He might have been.

He might've picked up a loss here ad there.

Essentially he'd have a completely different career. I'm not certain he's beating McCallum, peak Hagler, Curry if he fights 'em in a year or so. I'm not certain that he'd beat Kalambay or Nunn if he fought them after he beat Hagler, especially if he's having series' with that lot!

I'm also not certain they'd beat him either

Maybe he could, maybe he couldn't, he's one of the greatest anyway so really all we're robbed of is more interesting fights to watch. I'm happy how that era lined up, wouldn't like to change it.
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Old 05-30-2012, 11:57 AM   #5
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Default Re: Could Sugar Ray Leonard have been even greater than he was?

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He might have been.

He might've picked up a loss here ad there.

Essentially he'd have a completely different career. I'm not certain he's beating McCallum, peak Hagler, Curry if he fights 'em in a year or so. I'm not certain that he'd beat Kalambay or Nunn if he fought them after he beat Hagler, especially if he's having series' with that lot!

I'm also not certain they'd beat him either

Maybe he could, maybe he couldn't, he's one of the greatest anyway so really all we're robbed of is more interesting fights to watch. I'm happy how that era lined up, wouldn't like to change it.

Couldnt have put it better myself there! I think you just ended my thread haha
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Old 05-30-2012, 12:01 PM   #6
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Default Re: Could Sugar Ray Leonard have been even greater than he was?

I want to jump in and shout Absolutely, but had he stuck around through the mid-1980s there is an incredibly tall order in front of him. Then again, he was in the midst if his peak around the time of his first professional retirement and I wouldn't put it past his talents and abilities to beat all of them. The risk and reward are equal parts enormous, though he'd fall to nothing short of a great fighter.
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Old 05-30-2012, 12:04 PM   #7
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Default Re: Could Sugar Ray Leonard have been even greater than he was?

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Originally Posted by Flea Man View Post
He might have been.

He might've picked up a loss here ad there.

Essentially he'd have a completely different career. I'm not certain he's beating McCallum, peak Hagler, Curry if he fights 'em in a year or so. I'm not certain that he'd beat Kalambay or Nunn if he fought them after he beat Hagler, especially if he's having series' with that lot!

I'm also not certain they'd beat him either

Maybe he could, maybe he couldn't, he's one of the greatest anyway so really all we're robbed of is more interesting fights to watch. I'm happy how that era lined up, wouldn't like to change it.

I agree about not wanting to change the era,Fleaman. My two favourite eras were the seventies for heavies and the eighties for welters/middles. Unique.
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Old 05-30-2012, 12:10 PM   #8
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Default Re: Could Sugar Ray Leonard have been even greater than he was?

Yeah you could argue that the lay offs in fact did him some good and if he hadnt had the short retirements he would have been in more bouts, taken more punishment and as a result, may have lost later bouts - eg Hagler, Hearns II

I gotta say too that I think the alcohol and drugs would have dulled his wits, reflexes and skills in general. To what extent we'll never know but I think its safe to assume that without those vices he would have been even more spectacular and for a longer period.
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Old 05-30-2012, 12:14 PM   #9
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Default Re: Could Sugar Ray Leonard have been even greater than he was?

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I agree about not wanting to change the era,Fleaman. My two favourite eras were the seventies for heavies and the eighties for welters/middles. Unique.
From your point of view as an SRL head, I can see why.

Nothing lost from my perspective had he fought Curry, Hearns at 154, prime Hagler and McCallum. There are some potentially crushing defeats in that group... But, what if he'd ****ing Won?! People would be spazzing out like the kid from The Shining.
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Old 05-30-2012, 12:18 PM   #10
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Default Re: Could Sugar Ray Leonard have been even greater than he was?

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Originally Posted by Hands of Iron View Post
From your point of view as an SRL head, I can see why.

Nothing lost from my perspective had he fought Curry, Hearns at 154, prime Hagler and McCallum. There are some potentially crushing defeats in that group... But, what if he'd ****ing Won?! People would be spazzing out like the kid from The Shining.

Haha

Yeah thats kinda what I was trying to get at - the 'what ifs'

Thanks for the responses by the way
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Old 05-30-2012, 12:44 PM   #11
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Default Re: Could Sugar Ray Leonard have been even greater than he was?

If he decided to attempt to clean house at 160 after beating Hagler and cleaned house he'd have a legit claim to be no1 of all time.

Imagine adding the following to his already great resume from 87-90: Hagler rematch, McCallum, Nunn, Benn, Kalambay, Graham, Barkley, Hearns, Eubank. Personally I don't think he does it and he really lose to Hearns anyway but he has a shot at it

Also if he came back earlier and didn't go away he could have a much deeper resume and maybe beat Hagler earlier, I think he could have done that, but then maybe Hagler would be dismissed as a none great middleweight, you can never win with boxing historians
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Old 05-30-2012, 12:47 PM   #12
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Default Re: Could Sugar Ray Leonard have been even greater than he was?

What was effected was his longevity because of the eye injury .. Ray post Hearns only had a fight or two and then called it quits ... at least for the first time .. up to that point his accomplishments were exceptional ... no one fought and defeated a better assortment of prime all time great welter weights ( Benitez/Duran/Hearns ) in so short an order than Leonard did ... when he retired he was just entering his own physical prime and had years to go ... we simply never got to see the best Ray Leonard ... He was an exceptional fighter, an all time great without question ...
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Old 05-30-2012, 01:00 PM   #13
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Default Re: Could Sugar Ray Leonard have been even greater than he was?

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If he decided to attempt to clean house at 160 after beating Hagler and cleaned house he'd have a legit claim to be no1 of all time.

Imagine adding the following to his already great resume from 87-90: Hagler rematch, McCallum, Nunn, Benn, Kalambay, Graham, Barkley, Hearns, Eubank. Personally I don't think he does it and he really lose to Hearns anyway but he has a shot at it

Also if he came back earlier and didn't go away he could have a much deeper resume and maybe beat Hagler earlier, I think he could have done that, but then maybe Hagler would be dismissed as a none great middleweight, you can never win with boxing historians


So damn true. Hagler is the 160 King who ruled '80-86 with a vice grip on his division's throne. He's the guy Leonard didn't fight in '82. So, what if Leonard had beaten and dethroned him in his prime in '82? Hagler was extremely insecure about his public perception and didn't get the acclaim he sought all the way up to the Hearns fight near the end. This however seems to be around the time where W-L ratios really became a more conscious thing. Perhaps though, he'd take the rematch or simply win the vacated title back, continue on and still go down as a top five middle.

I view the '87 win Leonard took as hefty and significant accomplishment, nonetheless.
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Old 05-30-2012, 01:41 PM   #14
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Default Re: Could Sugar Ray Leonard have been even greater than he was?

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What was effected was his longevity because of the eye injury .. Ray post Hearns only had a fight or two and then called it quits ... at least for the first time .. up to that point his accomplishments were exceptional ... no one fought and defeated a better assortment of prime all time great welter weights ( Benitez/Duran/Hearns ) in so short an order than Leonard did ... when he retired he was just entering his own physical prime and had years to go ... we simply never got to see the best Ray Leonard ... He was an exceptional fighter, an all time great without question ...
I should've thought to include the eye injury Of course that impacted Definitely an all time great but si many what ifs Similar to Ali in a way seeing as we missed his best years
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Old 05-30-2012, 01:44 PM   #15
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Default Re: Could Sugar Ray Leonard have been even greater than he was?

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If he decided to attempt to clean house at 160 after beating Hagler and cleaned house he'd have a legit claim to be no1 of all time.

Imagine adding the following to his already great resume from 87-90: Hagler rematch, McCallum, Nunn, Benn, Kalambay, Graham, Barkley, Hearns, Eubank. Personally I don't think he does it and he really lose to Hearns anyway but he has a shot at it

Also if he came back earlier and didn't go away he could have a much deeper resume and maybe beat Hagler earlier, I think he could have done that, but then maybe Hagler would be dismissed as a none great middleweight, you can never win with boxing historians
What a resume that would have been, even if he did register some losses among those names you mentioned.....I think had he met Hagler earlier he would have lost Marvin was an animal with a good brain Another ATG (and one of my personal alltime faves)
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