History | Sep 16 2019

On This Day: Sugar Ray Leonard defeated Thomas Hearns in epic welterweight war

Sugar Ray Leonard and the story of one of the greatest fights of all-time
Sugar Ray Leonard
Joshua Dahl/USA Today Sports

SUGAR RAY LEONARD unified the welterweight division in style, stopping the unbeaten Thomas “The Hitman” Hearns, at Caesars palace, Nevada.

Leonard, a much decorated amateur, racking up multiples honours including an Olympic gold medal, quickly demonstrated his pedigree in the pro game, claiming the welterweight crown within two years.

In 1979, Sugar Ray succeeded in his first assault on a world title, against New York-Puerto Rican great, Wilfred Benitez. The man born in the Bronx, who is the youngest ever world champion, winning the WBA lightweight strap, at age 17, was dispatched in the 15th.