Sugar Ray Leonard came along at a brilliant era in boxing: he had rivalries, and great fights, with Thomas “Hit Man” Hearns, Marvin Hagler and, perhaps most of all, Robert Duran.
Duran was known as “Hands of Stone” for a reason: the guy could really hit.
In their first fight, in Montreal in 1980, Leonard fought Duran on his ground and in his style. It was a macho mistake that he would not repeat.
In the rematch, just five months later, Leonard pressed his own advantages: he was more mobile than Duran and, as it turns out, smarter.
First he pushed for a quick rematch because he knew that Duran had a reputation for living large. He figured he would be out of shape and try to get into shape quickly - which was exactly right, as Duran gained 50 lbs. after the first fight.
And Leonard kept moving, forcing Duran, a long way from his peak, to keep moving.
Then in the seventh round, Leonard remembered that his brother had said he should mock Duran.
Which he did.
Leonard stuck his chin out and ridiculed Duran. This culminated in Leonard winding up a bolo punch with his right hand before hitting Durant with his left.
The seventh round was pretty amazing but in the eighth, Duran just...quit.
He told the referee No Mas and walked away.
It was one of the most bizarre moments in sports history.
Duran, who had long been a hero in his native Panama, was now shunned and Leonard became immensely popular.
They had one more rematch, in 1989, but Duran had lost his edge and had also aged. He got to Leonard and hurt him, but Leonard won that fight too.
Calling this fight: the inimitable Howard Cosell.