- Sugar Ray Leonard met Roberto Duran in the ring for the first time in May 1980
- Leonard eventually lost the clash with Panamanian boxer in unanimous decision
- It has been revealed that the American’s teeth nearly all fell out after the fight
It has been revealed that Sugar Ray Leonard nearly lost all of his teeth in his first fight against Roberto Duran — and that he considered retirement as a result.
Duran, known as one of the greatest boxers of all time, held world championships in four weight classes during his five decade long career and met Leonard in the ring for the first time in June 1980.
Leonard lost his WBC Welterweight Championship after a unanimous decision in favour of Duran in what is considered to be one of the best encounters in boxing history.
The fight was so tough for Leonard that he admitted in a new documentary, I Am Duran, that he considered quitting the sport as a result.
Speaking about the first encounter with Duran, Leonard said: ‘I said, “I don’t need this anymore. I really contemplated retirement. I said, “I can’t take this. I can’t take this man”.’
Sylvester Stallone added: ‘Duran had given him a beating like he had never received in his life and he told me, “Sly, that night I could move every one of my teeth back and forth.
‘“They literally were hanging in my gums. I thought all of my teeth were going to come out.” That’s how hard he hit.’
The two eventually met again in November of that year, with Duran quitting in the ring in the fifth round in what became known as the No Mas (no more) fight.
Leonard would eventually have his final fight in 1997, 27 years after he considered quitting on the back of the Duran loss.
Mike Tyson has also revealed he had been a huge fan of the Panamanian fighter while watching him during the 1970s and 1980s.
Tyson said: ‘He was X-rated for television at the time. He would give people the finger, he was grabbing his crotch… at the time I thought it was incredible’.
Ricky Hatton also sang the praises of Duran and explained how Duran had inspired him: ‘Most fighters are just, “Take the win, thank you very much” and get out.
‘He was like, “Have it!”. That’s what he was all about. That’s why I loved him.’