History

On This Day – Sugar Ray Leonard savagely finishes Donny Lalonde in the ninth round

Donny Lalonde
Heinz Kluetmeier
Sugar Ray Leonard and Donny Lalonde engage in underrated barnburner

SUGAR RAY LEONARD w rsf 9 DONNY LALONDE
November 7, 1988; Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, NV

WHEN one looks back on the career of Sugar Ray Leonard, this victory over Donny Lalonde is rarely mentioned as one of his best nights. Perhaps it’s because it lacked the jaw-dropping brilliance showcased in the victory over Marvin Hagler 17 months before or maybe it’s simply because Leonard was starting to show signs of age. Now, though, it’s easier to look back on this bout and truly appreciate what was a genuine thriller. After overcoming a difficult start, Ray showcased his often underrated finishing instincts to get Lalonde out of there in the ninth.

DID YOU KNOW? It was reported that Leonard, who thanks to the wisdom of the WBC won both the super-middle and light-heavyweight green belts in one fight, made in the region of $15m. At the time, that was the biggest purse in the history of the 175lb weight division. Lalonde, meanwhile, almost lost a substatial portion of his pay after refusing to endorse beer company Coors on his shorts in favour of a message against child abuse.

WATCH OUT FOR: The truly savage finish.

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