GREATNESS is a word that is thrown around a lot in sports these days but ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard is one of the fighters that truly lived up to it.
A lot of fighters/athletes have a dose of greatness and a lot of them have a dose of special. It can come out at certain times more than others. That glow that surrounds them, when even the lighter guys become a giant for a moment in time.
Ray Leonard was a fighter who possessed that champion’s quality in spades.
He achieved the title of “great” by doing ambitious things with his champion qualities and putting them to good use.
On the 20th of June 1970, he faced down the fearsome ‘Wolfman’ with ‘Hands of Stone’, Roberto Duran. In his pursuit of being the best, he fought the best, fighters like Duran.
As Bona said: “Brave men go forward not expecting to return.”
Leonard was soundly beaten by the Panamanian but he dug deep in a tough 15 rounder, managing to turn it on in the later rounds, displaying flashes of brilliance.
Despite the tough battle, he asked for a rematch and 5 months later, he defeated Duran, making him quit in the centre of the ring.
Leonard’s championship mentality is an example to live by.