1. Sugar Ray Leonard
In full flow, Leonard was breathtaking. Part of the standout US Olympic team who ran riot at the 1976 Games in Montreal, Ray won gold and turned pro to significant fanfare and a lot of pressure.
He took it all in his graceful stride and, with a smile on his face, dazzled and destroyed in equal measure. He stopped the brilliant Wilfred Benitez to win his first world title, the WBC welterweight crown, in 1979 and would conquer another four weight classes during his career.
Duran bullied Leonard in their first fight but the American learned from it, took stock and came back a better fighter. A mix of sublime skill and showboating embarrassed Duran, who downed tools in the eighth and wanted no more of it.
Ray stepped up and won the WBA super-welter crown from Ayub Kalule a year later before moving back to welter to unify the WBC and WBA titles against Tommy Hearns. It was another classic and Leonard, behind on the cards, produced an incredible 14th round stoppage.
A couple of retirements followed but then Leonard confirmed he would jump up and fight Hagler in 1987. Despite the controversial scoring, Leonard had achieved a phenomenal feat, but he wasn’t satisfied. He jumped in weight again and stopped Donny Lalonde to win the WBC light-heavyweight and super-middleweight titles, before drawing with Hearns in a rematch many felt Tommy won.
Duran was beaten in a lacklustre rubber match before consecutive losses to Terry Norris and Hector Camacho – six years apart – convinced Ray to retire.