Ray Leonard, The Thread.

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by George Crowcroft, Jan 23, 2020.


Who Beats him?

  1. Sugar Ray Robinson

    84.4%
  2. Mickey Walker

    15.6%
  3. Charlie Burley

    25.0%
  4. Kid Gavalin

    15.6%
  5. José Napoles

    12.5%
  6. Luis Rodriguez

    9.4%
  7. Emile Griffith

    12.5%
  8. Floyd Mayweather Jr

    3.1%
  9. None

    9.4%
  10. Other

    18.8%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. George Crowcroft

    George Crowcroft The Cobra Will Always Bite Back... Full Member

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    Ray Leonard 36(25)-3(1)-1
    A top 15 P4P staple imo. Yeah, he was that good. But then again, you already knew that. Look over his résumé, you'll see wins over:

    Wilfred Benitez
    Roberto Durán 2*
    Tommy Hearns
    Ayub Kalule
    Marvin Hagler
    Donny Lalonde

    Not to much depth to it, but WOW! Look at those names! Decent longevity, but taking breaks from the sport isn't good for anybody. Also a five weight champion, I mean, the way he went about it was a bit ****ty, but 5 weights he conquered and I'll get onto that later.

    Leonard was a beautiful boxer, and very well rounded. His strengths started at his feet, and those feet were brilliant. He glided in and out at will and turned the angle, changed directions with his lateral movement, stuttered his movement and pivoted around fighters who got too close. He know what he was doing when it came to moving around the ring, but what about moving forward? He was awesome at that too. He moved lineally well, and was very very quick at getting in and out with combos or single shots. He'd also set attacks up(without throwing anything) by moving in and out and getting opponents used to patterns he'd break.

    His masterful ring IQ oversaw his success imo, his ability to adapt is what made him so good. Take the Hearns fight for example, he engaged in a boxing match with him, and started losing to the Motor City Cobra's jab, and instead of making minor adjustments and trying to outbox Hearns at length, he told himself to win via the other method. KO. So he started to time Hearns instead of boxing him and hurt Tommy, then actively hunted a KO instead of staying away from Hearns' power.

    Not to mention his knowledge of the ring, his adaptations to make slight changes such as the Hagler fight, the Kalule fight & his seemingly endless bag of tricks. His tactics of timing the rounds to flurry at the end, masterful feints, stutters, versatility and ability to control his opponents prove that Leonard was a genius inside the ropes.

    His shots were very well structured, and he had a very wide repertoire of punches. He made the most of his speed and power by throwing all of his weight into shorter punches, and got full extension at range. He didn't really have a best punch, he just had 4/5 that were very good. His left hook was wicked, threw nice and tight as a counter and the minimalistic arc on the one that took Green out was as textbook as you can get. His overhand right was similarly excellent as was his bolo punch. His jab was his best punch however imo, although I'm slightly contradicting myself, I think it's his best punch because he used it more than the others. It was textbook, and he used it how he was supposed to, he controlled guys coming in and lined up shots on offence.

    Leonard's defence is very overrated imo. Like straight up, he ain't on a level with guys like Floyd, Pea, Locche, Pep ect ect; I I'll never understand why you'd put him there either. He was pretty hittable really, especially with straight shots. I'm not saying he had a bad defence, but it was almost completely dependent on his reflexes and management of range, which means he had to be switched on and actively thinking about not getting hit, I see the same issue with guys like Canelo and Usyk today. Imo, Leonard's offence was much smoother and better.

    Leonard's offence was so really fun, very very fluid. It's brilliant to watch, his combos were ferocious with pin point accuracy. Leonard's offence saw him stop Benitez and Hearns, destroy Green and Santore whilst being brilliantly entertaining. His jab took control of most fights, and obviously set up his power shots. He loved his circular shots at strange angles, like the bolo punch and overhand. The route of Leonard's offence imo came from his feints. He set up everything with them, whether it was getting people used to the patterns of his footwork and getting them to over react to his movement, or whether it was the him flicking his hands then striking with the other.

    Leonard has unnatural physical skill. His all round speed and reflexes were out of this world, and he had an excellent set of whiskers. His co-ordination saw most of his success, and his range judgement, accuracy and balance made him the beast he was. Leonard had very very underrated power at 147, he damn near took Green heads off, and had Hearns drooling. The left hook he nailed Lalonde with was awesome as well. Leonard had hella heart too, he was a tough mutha****er. No quit in him during his peak, he also was a pretty tough guy mentally, despite falling for Durán's traps. His chin is certified iron, Durán, Hearns and Hagler landed on him, not one stopped him.

    He showed how he'd deal with a southpaw in the Kabule fight (obviously he did with Hagler too) and to be honest, he struggled, but I think he struggled more with Kalule's jab & movement more than anything. He proved how he'd deal with them when he boxed on his toes and peppered right hands on him. Obviously, he struggled in the Hagler fight, but who didn't struggle against Hagler? As I said above, his jab was key to control in most fights and obviously was a major issue when he couldn't outjab his opponent, see the Hearns fight. A slick stylist with a cute defence would always give Leonard headaches if he couldn't tee off on him, an elusive target like Benitez proved this, although Leonard did win easily, Benitez showed he could give Ray issues. He also showed how he'd deal with a swarmer, obviously in Durán. Montréal was a close fight, I can't see Leonard winning it, but it was highly competitive, Leonard's inside work and boxing was almost as awesome as Durán's. Leonard in the rematch showed how his feet and flurries off the ropes were key to beating a swarmer.

    Leonard gets a lot of ****e of people for a few things, and I agree with their points. He won titles at two weights, whilst fighting at 1, due to a catchweight. What the ****? How is that allowed? His biggest knock though is people's opinions on the Hearns rematch(which is really the minor issue here), but more importantly the Hagler fight. Now, I don't think this is corruption, more an A-side bias, which every A-side in history has gained from.

    All that aside, he was one helluva fighter. There's only 1 person at WW I'd pick to beat the No Mas version of him, and it's Sugar Ray Robinson. Burley and Walker have chances, Hearns as well but less so. Who do you think beats him at his peak?
     
  2. The Morlocks

    The Morlocks Boxing Addict booted Full Member

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    Ray Leonard, while a great fighter, was the biggest phony baloney I ever saw in boxing. Every smile rehearsed. A fighter afraid to fight w/out advantages (basically Mayweather and canelos daddy) who i always thought was trying to look smart to avoid people re a lizing that away from boxing he was a shallow, vacuous dumbasss.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2020
  3. roughdiamond

    roughdiamond Ridin' the rails Full Member

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    Same. I love his Boxing, but he is such a plastic character that I could never root for him.
     
  4. roughdiamond

    roughdiamond Ridin' the rails Full Member

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    My votes for who (could) beat him.
    • SRR would definitively beat him IMO (by definitively, I mean a best of 3 is not needed).
    • Walker wins at least 1 of 3. He was a monster and I think his style and physicality bothers Leonard.
    • Burley gives him hell, but is too conservative a fighter to take the win.
    • Gavilan would be there all night long, and is one of the few who can exchange repeatedly and keep up with Leonards speed. Leonard however, is favourite. Wins 1 of 3.
    • Napoles would be a great offensive fight, and he would show Leonard flaws in his Boxing, but he is outgunned in physicality.
    • Rodriguez, however, doesn't suffer in size and is a consummate ring technician, with one of the best ring IQs ever and great footwork alongside that jab. Wins at least 1, however I still favour Leonard.
    • Emile Griffith is a similar all round proposition, and is mightily strong with it. However, I favour Leonard more as I don't see Emile being aggressive enough, though he troubles Leonard with his Boxing prowess.
    • Floyd Mayweather is simply too small and out of his depth against a WW Leonard. He offers nothing here offensively and at the most would make it to a survival decision. Likely stopped late.
     
  5. The Funny Man 7

    The Funny Man 7 Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    His knockout over Dave 'Boy' Green is on my Mt. Rushmore of knockouts. Gorgeous sequence to set it up, then a left hook executed like a machete swing. It was the perfect combination of beauty and brutality, unfortunately for poor Green, who had previously suffered a hideous knockout loss to Palomino.
     
  6. BoxingDialogue

    BoxingDialogue Active Member Full Member

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    The Duran that fought him in the first fight whoops his ass any day of the week.
     
  7. Skins

    Skins Well-Known Member Full Member

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    Always thought Ray was the best fighter of my lifetime. Still do
     
  8. PernellSweetPea

    PernellSweetPea Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    I think the opposite. I think Ray after the first fight beats him everytime winning almost every round easier and easier each time. I would think the 2nd and 3rd fights and the Benitez fight would demonstrate something.
     
  9. salsanchezfan

    salsanchezfan Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    I still say what I said before, that Duran needed to reach deep down to previously untapped reserves and pull out a performance for the ages that he hadn't been able to do before (considering the quality of opposition in front of him that night) and would never be able to summon again in order to beat Leonard. It was truly his opus. And it was still a pretty close fight at the end of the day. In order to beat Duran, however, all Leonard needed to do was to be Leonard and fight his fight.
     
  10. Jel

    Jel Boxing Addict Full Member

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    Great post and pretty much agree with everything here. I only picked Robinson to beat Leonard with any degree of confidence. At welterweight, Leonard was that good that in a one-off, he'd probably win against all those listed but then he'd also win the negotiations before the fights too. And there probably wouldn't be a series against any of these fighters unless he lost the first fight because he wouldn't give any of them a rematch if he won.
     
  11. Jel

    Jel Boxing Addict Full Member

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    Superb post, George! You've summed up Leonard really nicely as a fighter. Leonard has his detractors but, similar to Mayweather, most of that is based around his behaviour out of the ring. Inside the ring, he was beautiful to watch - one of the best movers in ring history. I was watching the early rounds against Hearns in the first fight the other night and thinking that the way he was moving was almost like ballet - so graceful on his feet.

    And yes, you're right, he wasn't a great defensive fighter but when he fought a guy who was just as quick as him and better defensively (Benitez) he still found a way to outbox him. Leonard was a great fighter with many great assets but still managed to be greater than the sum of his parts - the complete package really.

    I may have grown to dislike some of the things he did, but between 1979 and 1982 inside the ring where greatness is defined, he was unquestionably one of the very best fighters that ever lived.
     
  12. JohnThomas1

    JohnThomas1 Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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  13. Reinhardt

    Reinhardt Boxing Addict Full Member

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    The second fight was more about what went wrong with Duran than what improvements Leonard made
     
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  14. IntentionalButt

    IntentionalButt Tyler went away. Tyler's gone. Staff Member

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    Gotta respect the man, even if you're Team Marvelous as I am. :thumbsup:

    My one (admittedly somewaht nitpicky) critique, Padawan Crowcroft, to an otherwise fantastic thread: why not multiple choice in the poll? :thinking:
     
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  15. IntentionalButt

    IntentionalButt Tyler went away. Tyler's gone. Staff Member

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    ^ actually you can still change it (go to "edit" by the poll) so that multiple selections can be made, as many or as few as you deem fit. :thumbsup:

    (or I can do it for you if you can't be arsed...or if you specifically intended for people to pick the one guy they feel has the best chance to beat him, kindly tell me to STFU & MMOB :sisi1)
     
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