EPISODE: Episode 26
Sugar Ray Leonard | The Scoop with Bola Ray | Talkin Fight
Legendary professional boxer and Olympic champ Sugar Ray Leonard is featured on this episode, which closes out our series this week called The Fab Four. Watch The Scoop from Monday to Friday featuring Canadian heavyweight champ Bola Ray, who lends his vast experience in the sport and provides his comments boxing – its history and future – on YouTube and TalkinFight.com/live. #boxinghistory
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Hello there talking fight fans thanks for joining us tonight on the scoop we have a very special week lined up.
It started off with a bit of sad news with leon, spinks sphinx, passing away there, but uh we’ve been doing a show.
I shouldn’t say we.
I should say he has been doing the show on the fab four and that tonight uh, the fourth of those four will be highlighted.
Uh, i won’t steal your thunder.
Go for a champ, well hello! There um today we’re going to talk about a number of that iconic 1976 montreal olympic summer games team um as a member as a as an amateur.
He took home gold medals in both the 76 summer games and the 75 pan american games.
As a pro he’s.
One of the members of the fab four and was deemed the boxer of the 80s he’s also the first fighter to earn over a hundred million dollars in purse money.
That’S incredible alone.
My name is bala raymond oligwali.
This is a scoop born may 17, 1956 in wilmington.
North dakota was one raymond, charles leonard being the fifth of seven kids uh in the family.
His early delay up beginnings were one of a quiet shy child who loved comic books and playing with his dog race started boxing, while emulating his older brother, roger, who had started boxing just a short while prior to him and roger, would come home with these trophies, Which every child wants right, um ray suffered his first loss in 1972, uh on at the national american olympic or american athletic union games at the quarterfinals in featherweight now uh his next loss came later on that same year at the uh.
What’S called the eastern olympic trials now this was sort of interesting um to fight internationally.
Actually, still to this day, um you have to be 17 years of age.
Ray was 16.
, so he lied.
Imagine that and was able to participate now he got as far as the semi-finals um before a controversial loss where his opponent, who won the contest the night before about the day before, could not just could not compete the next day from the battering he got from Ray the day before, but never boxed again, there was the assistant coach of the national team that told race coach, a quote: um race, coach, being uh dave jacobs.
Excuse me says your kid is sweet like sugar and hence the nickname stuck in 1975 for the record.
He won the pan american gold medal, so there you have it now fast forward to 1976.
Raise on that, like i said that iconic team and ray was on a tear.
He had fought five guys going into the gold medal match against cuban all five guys.
He had beaten by a score of five to zero.
Not one fighter scored a point against him.
He’S up against the cuban the cuban his last five opponents he has knocked out.
This is gon na be a war.
This is gon na, be this good.
A puncher versus boxer boxers should always win.
Remember that and this story played right into that ray beated and batted that boy and once again, ray won a gold medal via five to zero decision.
Post fight, uh interview, ray announces that um well he’s accomplished.
Everything he’s wanted to accomplish so uh yeah.
He is going to drop out of boxing and furthers education.
He had already gotten a scholarship to university of maryland and he was going to be studying business, administration and communications and then well, more importantly, post the gold medal.
He was a golden boy, he was, he was america’s sweetheart.
The endorsements were flooding in, like no other, like more so than every other gold medalist on that iconic team and then well, juanita wilkinson rey’s high school girlfriend.
What most people didn’t know because they kept it quiet, was in 1973.
Rey had had a child with juanita raymond, charles leonard jr, and this was kept quiet.
Raymond, charles leonard jr, lived with his mother and grandmother, and everything was going to be okay until the olympics.
Well, while rey was in the olympic games in the olympic games, not before not after in the games, we need to decide that she is going to go after ray for child support and at which point in time ray didn’t find out about this.
Until he returned back from the olympics and read in the washington star headlines, sugar ray leonard named in welfare department, paternity suit yeah, he became a sociological pariah and his endorsement contracts went the way of the dodo like rats from a sinking ship.
They s they just dried up yeah to make matters even worse.
His dad had been stricken with meningitis and his mom.
A heart attack, so ray then had to curb his educational endeavors and take up professional boxing so as to support the family.
Now his pro career is pro crusade.
Uh started as expected, um a long string of victories that had such names as floyd mayweather senior um randy shields uh dick eklut were all victims that met that he met on route to seeing the great wilford anitas november.
1979 ray steps into the into the ring to face off against the great one, wilford benitez for his wbc welt weight strap.
Now this was an epic fight um from a purist um.
I study boxing.
I i love boxing, but i study it um.
This was the quintessential this.
This could have been used to teach classes as to what would happen if, if a counter puncher is to meet up with a counterpuncher, it was wilford.
Benitez was nothing shy of a specimen like in every which way, shape or form you can imagine he was ripped.
He was strong.
He was fast, fast hands, quick reflexes.
Incredibly good with the with the slipping of punches ray was wilfred 2.
0, they looked identical except ray.
Was just a little bit faster, a little bit taller and a little bit longer longer reach the first couple rounds came out and wilford was not doing great.
He was trying a lot of counter attacks and counter punches and stuff like that, or at least attempts rey was countering his counters and and landing um at first ray said that he felt that this was going too easy in the in the first couple rounds and Then the third round comes along and ray actually caught him with a stiff, jab and dropped him.
Now it was a flash knock down.
Wilford gets up, all is well, he brushes himself off.
He goes on and uh survives the round.
Fourth and fifth round pretty much the same, but then also in the sixth round, something changed, wilfred started.
First and foremost, he increased the punch, punch, combinations, increased his punch output, but then he was also increasing his jabs and this proved to be complicated to ray ray.
Didn’T all of a sudden did not know how to to get by his jab, and this proved positive for wilfred for the next three rounds.
Only to then, for what reasons i don’t know, um just sort of abandoned that scenario.
Maybe it was fatigue, i don’t know it could have been, it could have been exhausting but then ray started.
Picking up the scenario they had had uh clashed heads in the eighth round and when i was watching i was like.
Is this going to play a factor which um he wilfred’s corner did an amazing job in stopping the bleeding, so it didn’t really affect much until it reopened up in the 14th round um in the 14th round.
Sorry in the 15th round, uh final round, benitez touches canvas again with 30 seconds left in the fight he touches, canvas gets knocked down and it’s he’s hurt he’s not out, but he’s hurt and he gets up makes a count.
There’S 20 seconds left ray jumps.
Him starts swinging for the fence.
Yes, ray was tagging him, but nine seconds left in the fight.
The ref stops the fight.
Personally, i think it was a a bit premature.
He earned the right to finish on his feet.
He put on a spectacular show and i didn’t think he was that hurt, but that’s me from the outside.
Looking in uh ray got a 15th round knockout on his record against the great wilford benitez.
So, okay, after making short work of dave boy green, the stage was set for a matchup june 20th.
The day i turned 10.
, he is up against the mega machismo roberto duran.
This was an epic epic fight, um one for the history books for to say the least.
I am going to do an episode on this next week, so stay tuned, um ray lost that contest with the 15th round decision, but immediately he enacts his rematch rematch clause and five months later, he’s staring across the ring and again won roberto duran uh, another epic Fight which i’m doing a show on next week, hence i’ll, discuss it later ray then went on to defend um his title: uh [, Music ] another three times, and shortly thereafter he runs into the man himself.
Tommy the man hurts june.
Sorry wrong september 15, 16 1981.
They square off.
This was re, was uh deemed fight of the year by ring it was not just historic.
It was an epic fight, um unbeaten, tommy, hearns, wba, champion unification, fight against ray leonard ubc champion.
I’M doing another episode on this fight next week, we’ll discuss it then, but for the record ray won that fight now 1982 ray uh defends his belt against one um, bruce finch, uh february 15, 1982.
and wins way of knockout, then out of inactivity.
He has his belts dropped like he gets.
He gets stripped of his uh titles, but he goes back into the ring.
Uh may 11 1984 to face off against one uh kevin howard.
Now he won that fight via knockout, but then post fight.
He does the unimaginable the boxing world had been talking about and wanting the fight ray versus, hagler and ray kept, saying, yeah sure love to do it, but yeah this that this that and the next thing and then some and all of a sudden.
He decides to make an announcement he’s done with boxing and he’s retiring.
This would have been an epic payday.
For mr hagler ray is the golden boy.
He make it.
He so pretty.
He just shows up and money falls from the heavens, so be it.
Three years later, ray is singing sitting at ringside as hagler is fighting uh john mugambi.
Now he sitting beside michael j fox.
He not just michael j fox says i can beat him speaking about marvin now for the life of me.
I’Ve studied this fight, probably 15 times in the past year and a half um.
I have no idea what he saw that was so detrimental or how hagler was decreasing.
There’S no there’s talk of hagler wasn’t as eprevescent um with his footwork and whatnot, which is nonsense.
He fought beautifully, he outclassed a juggernaut, a counterpunching juggernaut, he outboxed him senseless and people are going off and seeing some kind of flaw in his game.
So he so then the fight was on.
The fight was on april 6, 1987.
ray is, sitting are standing and staring across the ring from marvin hagler the fight of the decade.
I will be doing a show on that next week, but just so, as you know, it was arguably the most controversial fight in boxing history.
People still talk about it today as to who really won that fight ray was given the 12-round decision, and it’s what most people don’t realize is the back story.
It’S the back story that really sells the show and the backstory in this one.
I still don’t understand what hagler was thinking, because he pretty much gave ray everything.
He just won that fight he just he just wanted that fight.
You then fight our ray, then fights another six more fights in his career and he goes up against a couple.
Well, pretty much everyone that he fights is actually rather notable in the way of um, the canadian kid um, the golden boy, uh donnie, lalonde, um, terry norris, terrible terry norris, but june 12 1989.
The long-awaited rematch between him and tommy hearns occurs.
Now i did a show already on that fight um, i put it as one of what’s in my series of boxing’s greatest robberies: ray got knocked down twice: don tommy dominated that fight um for the majority of the fight and then knocked him down twice in 12 Rounds there was no way there is no way ray was anywhere remotely close to having a draw or a win, and even the one judge that gave the fight to tommy saw it at some ridiculously slivered win like 2.
two round win, which was nonsense.
It just didn’t nothing made sense that whole night, that was the three blind mice they like hagler, says you got ta, take them out of the equation um, and it was called a draw now with that being said during tommy’s induction into the nevada sports hall of Fame ray was presenting him with his uh, his inductee trophy, and during this uh presentation he actually makes mention that tommy won that second fight.
He won the first one.
Vianaco tommy won the second one.
Now, while doing color commentary um for a fight in uh june june, 22nd, 1996 ray was doing, call commentary for a fight between roberto duran and hector macho camacho.
Oh the testosterone in that ring must have been epic.
Oh my word and uh.
Well, hector won the fight and then does what macho time does and start talking and trash talking ray and said, come on in, let’s have some fun and called ray on ray points up to him and says you got a gift all right.
Well, four fights later rey decides to get in the ring march 1st 1996 to face off against hector michael camacho.
To deal with that whole gift-giving thing ray did prove to be unsuccessful with that scenario and uh retired for good this time, so it was, it wasn’t meant to be that’s it.
That’S all, but ray retired, with a record of 36 wins three losses in a draw.
So 40 fights and yet made over 100 million dollars.
He was loved, he was marketable and he was loved, uh, so much giving to boxing history in such a short career by comparison to his counterparts in the fab.
He is by far the least weathered had the least amount of fights.
What can i say um.
Thank you for the memory, sir.
Thank you for your contribution to boxing history.
Uh enjoy your retirement and with that, that’s the scoop.
So if you like this episode, please hit the like button.
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The notification is your boy baller, that’s a scoop quality over quantity genuinely genuinely! I didn’t realize that he had that little.
Well, not it’s not minuscule, but he did exceptionally well.
He did exceptionally well and his boxing career span professional career spent 20 years.
Out of curiosity, did he ever? Did he ever stay with juanita and and raise that kid or no? He did help raise a kid, but he wasn’t he’s not with her he’d been divorced, divorced, married and i think he’s still made to a second one, yeah.
Well, a great story he’s he was certainly legendary and – and certainly i watched a lot of his fights uh in them after the olympics cause.
I was 16 and 76 and so followed his trajectory up there through the early 80s.
He was a really great fighter.
Oh he he finished the olympics and uh became acquainted with muhammad ali and angelo dundee.
Angela dundee ended up coaching him after the olympic games um, and they took care of.
They gave him brilliant, brilliant uh business advice in that he didn’t sign on with any major network, so he just fought on all whatever he did and in that day apparently, like i guess, networks were really tight-knit jurisdictions, so with very little overlap.
So what ends up happening is ray was seen on all platforms, hence why his popularity went through the roof and he was able to get the big person, whereas everybody else was assigned to a specific label bombing network, and it was a big fish and small pond Scenario: yeah: oh great story, thanks for bringing it up and uh a great episode called the fab four that we’ve enjoyed this week and yeah yeah.
That’S i’m looking forward to hearing about all these bloodbaths that ensued.
Uh next week, it’s gon na be a good week.
Coming up as well, thank you.
It’S going to be a great week, yeah cheers and have yourself a good weekend.
You too, and all of you right there thanks very much for tuning in appreciate it.