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Gordon Freeman

The early rounds belonged to the challenger. Known in years past as "Sin City" and "Babylon on the St. Lawrence", it saw more than its share of ring legends over the decades. With 30 seconds remaining in the round Leonard a left uppercut sent Benítez down on his knees. Benitez had won the title earlier in the year, becoming a 2-division champion at only 21 years old, whilst Leonard had won all 27 of his fights after turning pro following an Olympic gold medal in 1976 and had emerged as a top contender for the welterweight title and one of boxing's most popular fighters. Instead the youngest world champion of all-time would become one of boxing’s saddest stories, while Leonard went on to become one of its brightest stars. Who knows what Benitez might have accomplished had he possessed more than a modicum of self-discipline and truly dedicated himself to his craft. Perhaps few people at the time realized it, but the title match between Wilfred “Radar” Benitez and Sugar Ray Leonard at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas constituted an extremely rare phenomena: a contest between truly gifted ring sophisticates. The fight was already a classic, but round 15 proved an especially thrilling finale. A prime Federer made it seem as if the tennis ball slowed down for him, allowing extra time to direct his shots. Gregorio would later admit that he had wrote the article to motivate his son for the fight. It was in the late going that Leonard finally opened up a sizable lead. Benitez had won the title earlier in the year, becoming a 2-division champion at only 21 years old, whilst Leonard had won all 27 of his fights after turning pro following an Olympic gold medal in 1976 and had emerged as … In late 1979 Top Rank promoter Bob Arum would organize a two-city boxing event (with one card apiece taking place in Nevada's Caesars Palace and New Orleans' Superdome) headlined by an anticipated bout between reigning WBC welterweight champion Wilfred Benítez and "Sugar" Ray Leonard. Benitez vs Leonard represented a dream match for those enthralled by boxing guile, the cerebral side of the sport, the use of the rapier that is defense and precision counter-punching, feinting and footwork, as opposed to the blunt hammer that is mere raw aggression and punching power. Benitez, only 21 but looked like a master of the ring. Montreal is The Fight City. In the sixth they clashed heads, opening a cut on Wilfred’s forehead. He had been guided brilliantly by Angelo Dundee; instead of a series of no-hope stiffs, his record comprised wins over such capable pugilists as Adolfo Viruet, Fernand Marcotte, Floyd Mayweather and Pete Ranzany. “You can’t stand in front of him and hit him with a right hand. It is a city of fights and fighters, of hockey and heroes, of broken dreams and immortal glory, a city unlike any other. This was Leonard’s first attempt at a world title and the eyes of the nation were watching, the fight broadcast live on ABC in primetime, with Howard Cosell providing the ringside commentary. He wasn’t a runner; he stood his ground, using upper body movement to make his opponents miss before countering with precision. Earlier the same day, Thomas Hearns had decisioned tough Mike Colbert, knocking him down three times. Sadly, the space-time continuum means a contest between Joe Gans and Benny Leonard, or Willie Pep and Pernell Whitaker, can never take place. [3], In a close, tactical fight, Leonard would ultimately score a technical knockout with only six seconds remaining in the 15th and final round. Montreal is The Fight City. Moments later the referee stopped the fight and Howard Cosell rejoiced: Sugar Ray Leonard had claimed his first world championship. Within months, both Hagler and Hearns would capture world titles, while Roberto Duran would defeat Leonard to win his second world title. Benitez vs Leonard represented a dream match for those enthralled by boxing guile, the cerebral side of the sport, the use of the rapier that is defense and precision counter-punching, feinting and footwork, as opposed to the blunt hammer that is mere raw aggression and punching power. Like prodigies in other sports — say, Federer in tennis or Jordan in basketball — Benitez and Leonard possessed such command over their bodies and reflexes that they performed as if under a different set of constraints. Wilfred Benítez vs. Sugar Ray Leonard was a professional boxing match contested on November 30, 1979 for the WBC, The Ring and lineal welterweight titles. In the fourth he found the range for his right hand while making the challenger miss. “El Radar’s” greatest triumph: dominating Duran in 1982. In the opening stanza Ray rocked Benitez with a left hook, and in the third a flush jab put the champ on the seat of his pants. If he wanted to, he could fight at a distance behind the jab, but he wasn’t afraid to trade on the inside, where he would flurry with abandon. Benitez, sensing he needed a knockout to win, took the fight to Ray, attacking with a series of left hooks.

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