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La Jornada – Without discussion, Muhammad Ali is boxing’s greatest

If Muhammad Ali is the undisputed king of boxing, Sugar Ray Leonard is at least a prince. He was an esthete and a warrior, a fighter who retaliat


If Muhammad Ali is the undisputed king of boxing, Sugar Ray Leonard is at least a prince. He was an esthete and a warrior, a fighter who retaliated every penny paid for his fights with superb displays of fearlessness and passion. In his time it was not easy, there were others who were among the elite of the best boxing of the late 70s and early 80s.

Sugar beat them all. A bell tolling suspended time and space was reduced to a few meters where he forged historical moments before his rivals. He lost the first time he faced Roberto Stone hand Duran, but he defeated him in the next two; he submitted to Marvin Hagler and Thomas Hearns, three names, plus Ray’s, who formed a parnassus of unrepeatable fighters.

Even so, Sugar he resists being considered the best of an age. Of course, he does not dare to grant such a title to anyone; it seems to him that it may be offensive.

“The only one who can be said, without equivocation and without offending anyone, that he is the best of all time is Muhammad Ali,” says Ray Leonard at the 59th convention of the World Boxing Council in Mexico City; “What he did in the ring and outside is really historic. I think there is no discussion with him: he is the greatest ”.

Leonard is not in favor of igniting controversy with statements. He does not even criticize the figures emerged from social networks that today are tested in boxing. For Sugar It is a phenomenon that times change and boxing is no stranger.

“Maybe there are too many belts,” he says; How many can a boxer win? That dilutes the value of a security; There should only be one that proves the importance of who has won it ”.

It is said by someone who left and returned to boxing in the early ’80s. It wasn’t money that got him back in the ring. It was something more powerful and difficult to describe, Leonard explains, a kind of magnetic force that he couldn’t resist. He says he missed boxing just like that; also beat everyone.

“Boxing is something so strong and so noble,” he evokes. Sugar; “It helped me get off drugs and alcohol, especially to overcome the pain of having been a victim of sexual abuse as a child. It allowed me to express myself in a way that I couldn’t otherwise. I owe him everything ”.

From the pain of the soul to the pain of the body, Leonard also recalled that when he received his first defeat he suffered the first real torment in the ring. He does not remember any blow that hurts more than those inflicted by Roberto Durán.

“Not only did his blows hurt me, but it was my first loss and that hurt even more,” he recalls.

Roberto Durán suddenly appeared among the guests to confirm his respect and both were merged in an embrace of old comrades.

“It has been a long time since we fought,” Durán told him, moved; “There is no rancor; I respect and admire you because you were a great boxer, but above all because you are a great human being ”.