Leonard - Benitez.

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by JohnThomas1, Aug 1, 2020 at 4:19 AM.


  1. JohnThomas1

    JohnThomas1 Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    I re-watched this the other day.

    I'd forgotten how convincingly Leonard actually beat Benitez. He bossed this fight and as the boss from the very start. In the first 2/3 of the fight (roughly) Benitez actually had more trouble landing decent shots on SRL than vice versa. A LOT more trouble. Leonard landed his share of hard clean blows from both wings on a reasonably consistent basis. His right uppercuts to the ribcage were brutal on close inspection. He wasn't afraid to let his hands go at various times and his speed and elusiveness were dominant. Benitez also had to be wary of his power as Leonard really did hurt Benitez on multiple occasions. His jab, quite often criticized was extremely effective.

    In the later rounds Benitez finally landed some good clean hard punches but the effect on Leonard was basically zilch.

    This was a better/greater performance than i remembered. a lot better. For some reason i remembered it as quite competitive but imo it really wasn't. Benitez showed some great skill sporadically but was beaten convincingly.

    I remember now why so many scribes believed Benitez found his niche weight when he moved to 154. He looked better there than he did at 147 undoubtedly for me.

    I always favored Benitez over Duran at 147 due to style but i now have to rethink that assertion.

     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2020 at 6:40 PM
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  2. Bujia

    Bujia Member Full Member

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    I’ve thought this since the first time I saw it. I never understood how so many had it so close. I was in the minority with this opinion for a while. The only explanation I had was that people’s memories were skewed from having this view reinforced by so many others on these forums over the years. Everyone just needed to rewatch it, goddammit!

    I think the consensus has turned finally.
     
  3. Bokaj

    Bokaj Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    I've always had Leonard widely ahead on the card in the 15th, but the rds being quite competitive except for the first four.
     
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  4. JohnThomas1

    JohnThomas1 Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Yes i think you are right. I've read many times over the years how close it was and how much trouble SRL had hitting him. In reality Benitez was bossed overall.
     
  5. Cobra33

    Cobra33 Boxing Addict Full Member

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    See I remember how disappointed I was- read how competitive it was then saw it and I thought Leonard dominated.
     
  6. RulesMakeItInteresting

    RulesMakeItInteresting Boxing Addict Full Member

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    I had Leonard ahead by four points, but was kind of awed by Benitez' skills (I saw the fight when it happened as a young guy, first time I'd ever seen Benitez, though I was quite familiar with SRL).

    I became of big admirer of Benitez after this fight, and just had to collect VHS tapes of all his fights.

    They both looked like freaky Great fighters in that fight imo.
     
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  7. Flash24

    Flash24 Boxing Addict Full Member

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    Great fight, a showcase of how boxing used to look, and one
    of my favorite fights to re-watch.
    I feel Leonard never received due credit for this prime
    vs prime win, or the reasons why Benitez is the odd man
    out and usually not included in the "Fab Four" group
    which should be the "Fab Five" .
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2020 at 7:47 AM
  8. RulesMakeItInteresting

    RulesMakeItInteresting Boxing Addict Full Member

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    Benitez really was THAT great.
     
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  9. JohnThomas1

    JohnThomas1 Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Benitez isn't in the group because he didn't fight Hagler. The others all fought each other.
     
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  10. Flash24

    Flash24 Boxing Addict Full Member

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    I know that. But it also means Hagler didn't fight Benitez so Why is Hagler included?
    He also performed much better against Leonard, Hearns and Duran, than Duran
    did versus Leonard x 3 ,Benitez and Hearns .
     
  11. JohnThomas1

    JohnThomas1 Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Interesting question and I've never considered that angle. I can only guess it is because Hagler is more highly regarded and in the overall scheme of things had what were the bigger matches. His matches against all of them were also later than Wilfred's and they didn't come up with the label until that latter period. The Benitez matches were done by the end of 82 whilst Hagler fought all three of them after Benitez's last fight against any of them. Hagler finished with them almost 5 years later. Out of mind out of sight for Wilfred as well i reckon.
     
  12. mr. magoo

    mr. magoo Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    It was quite possibly the best performance of Leonard’s career. A match where he dominated a legitimate ATG in his prime.
     
  13. Jel

    Jel Reserving the right to be inconsistent Full Member

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    Cheers John - this post was perfectly timed for me.

    I watched Hagler-Antuofermo the other night and thought I should check out the other fights on the card including Galindez-Johnson (that fight took place in New Orleans) and Benitez-Leonard. Will give it a watch again this weekend and report back.
     
  14. Saintpat

    Saintpat Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    This is one of Benitez’s top three of four performances IMO (along with Maurice Hope, Roberto Duran and Carlos Palomino) and yet Leonard was clearly better at every turn. Says a lot about SRL’s ability and how well he adapted to the big stage first time out.

    I think Leonard missed like 23 right hands in the first round. El Radar ducking under every one (and making the follow hooks miss too almost every time).

    Leonard came back to the stool — this was from I think Sports Illustrated after the fight — and Angelo Dundee told him to forget the right hand and work the left. Leonard said, ‘But he’s RIGHT THERE.’ And still he couldn’t land it.
     
  15. Bujia

    Bujia Member Full Member

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    The most overlooked aspect of the fight is how sensational Ray was defensively. Small, subtle head movements that were just enough to slip most of Benitez’s punches. Little feints all throughout that, when commingled with Leonard’s expertly timed left, had Benitez looking genuinely uncomfortable in there. He was being timed and his counters were being countered.

    Was good to see Benitez essentially go for broke later in the fight and try to turn it into a brawl. He wasn’t gonna give in even though he was clearly in with a better man.
     


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