Sugar Ray Leonard, June 20 1980, Olympic Stadium, Montreal
“The Brawl in Montreal,” will go down as perhaps Duran’s greatest victory. In 1980 Sugar Ray Leonard was the darling of the boxing world. An Olympic gold medal winner, undefeated professionally with an Ali-esque style in the ring and Madison Avenue smile outside of it. From 7-Up soda commercials along side his son to cameos on Bob Hope specials. Leonard was America’s sweetheart. Duran, was the antithesis of this. A fighter with an unapologetic scowl, who made his bones one fight, one grind at a time. During the lead up to the fight Duran wore the proverbial black hat and showed Leonard nor his family any respect. Leonard would admit years later that Duran had beat him psychologically before the bell even rang. After the bell, Duran out-dueled Leonard over 15 rounds. Aside from the smaller man coming up to challenge and beat the bigger one, what made this perhaps Duran’s greatest victory was that he carried his country on his back. It was a victory for Panama and all of Latino America.