Roberto Duran says NO MAS to Sugar Ray Leonard November 25, 1980
- Sugar Ray Leonard 146 lbs
- Roberto Duran 146 lbs
- RTD at 2:44 in round 8 of 15
- Location: Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
- Referee: Octavio Meyran
- Judge: Mike Jacobs 68-66
- Judge: Jean Deswert 68-66
- Judge: James Brimmell 67-66
- Unofficial UPI scorecard: 69-65 Leonard
- WBC Welterweight Championship (1st defense by Duran)
The fight was shown live on closed circuit television at 345 locations in the United States and Canada. The fight was also televised in about 60 foreign countries.
The fight was shown in prime time by ABC on December 19. ABC paid more than $2.5 million for the rights, which was the highest fee ever paid for a delayed telecast.
Tickets at the Superdome were priced between $40 and $1,000.
Duran was guaranteed $8 million, and Leonard was guaranteed $7 million.
After losing to Duran, Leonard had a falling-out with Dave Jacobs, his trainer since his amateur days. Jacobs had wanted Leonard to take a couple of tune-up fights before he met Duran again, but Leonard insisted on the rematch immediately. So Jacobs quit.
Duran put on a lot of weight after his victory against Leonard. Carlos Eleta, Duran’s long-time manager, said he weighed as much as 183 pounds before he started training for the rematch with Leonard. In New Orleans, before the fight, Luis Henriquez, Duran’s interpreter, had put the top figure at 168½. And Freddie Brown, Duran’s co-trainer, said he went into training camp in September at 173 and still weighed 160 as late as the first week of November.
Carlos Eleta said Duran used diuretic medication to help him lose weight three days before the fight. Duran and his personal physician, Dr. Orlando Nunez, denied the claim.
On the morning of the fight, Duran weighed 148 pounds, and he spent the hours before the weigh-in drying out. He came in at 146. Immediately afterward, he drank a large thermos of consommé and half a thermos of hot tea. He then wolfed down an orange as big as a grapefruit. At 1:00 p.m., Duran ate lunch: two large T bone steaks, French fries, four large glasses of orange juice, two glasses of water, and a cup of tea. At 5:00 p.m. Duran ate half a steak and drank tea.
Leonard, who also came in at 146, had a large breakfast on the day of the fight: two eggs and grits, two pieces of toast, peaches, and Kool-Aid. For dinner, at 4:00 p.m., Leonard had fried chicken, green peas, a glass of water, and Kool-Aid.
A crowd of 25,038 at the Superdome produced a gate of $3 million. When all the closed circuit receipts were counted, the fight generated $38 million.
Leonard was a 6 to 5 favorite.
When Leonard fought, he usually wore red, white, and blue trunks and had tassels on his shoes, but for the rematch with Duran, Leonard wore black trunks and black shoes with no tassels. Before leaving his dressing room, Leonard asked his attorney, Mike Trainer, “How do I look?” Trainer smiled and said, “You look like a mix of the Grim Reaper and an assassin,” Leonard replied, “Good.”
Ray Charles sang “America the Beautiful” in the ring before the fight. When he finished, he gave his namesake, Ray Charles Leonard, a hug and a kiss on the cheek. Leonard’s trainer, Angelo Dundee, later said, “When Ray Charles started singing, we were in like Flynn.”
Leonard seized the issue in the first round and never yielded it. Near mid-round, after the two men had cautiously felt one another out, Duran lunged into Leonard and bulled him to the ropes, just as he had done so effectively last June. But now Leonard spun away and landed a right hand . . . The pace quickened in the second round, and Leonard’s effectiveness became more pronounced. He banged two rights to Duran’s head, snapping it back, and then he circled and jabbed. Duran seemed puzzled . . . While Duran scored well in the third and fifth rounds—he won the third on all three cards, the fifth on two—he was never able to take over the fight as he had in June. He stalked his man, but Leonard repeatedly escaped, feinting to keep Duran off balance, walking away, dancing. Leonard had made a weapon of his jab, which he had not done in Montreal, and as the fight went on, he was countering well with his hook when Duran tried to move inside … Neither man was ever hurt, but Leonard could sense Duran’s increasing frustration as the rounds went by. . . . Late in the seventh, Leonard threw the most memorable punch of the night. Winding up his right hand, as if to throw a bolo, he suddenly snapped out a left jab that caught Duran flush on the face . . . Having made a fool of him, Leonard continued taunting Duran mercilessly. He stuck out his chin, inviting Duran to hit him. Duran hesitated. Leonard kept it up, moving, stopping, mugging. Leonard scored again with a hook and two right hands. At the bell, Duran seemed to smile as he walked back to his corner. Three minutes later the fight was over.
Leonard averaged 29 thrown punches per round and 17 connects, while Duran averaged 43 thrown punches and 8 connects.
In the ESPN documentary No Mas, Duran said he didn’t say “No Mas.” He said Howard Cosell “made that up.” However, referee Octavio Meyran said Duran did say those now infamous words. “I said, ‘Fight!’ in Spanish,” Meyran stated in the documentary. “He said, ‘No more.’ I ask again to continue boxing so I can assure myself and not commit an error. And Duran said, ‘No more.’ ”
Following Duran’s surrender, there was great confusion. A report went around ringside that Duran had not quit but had merely misunderstood the referee about something. Minutes after the fight, WBC president Jose Sulaiman said, “Roberto told me that when he threw a right hand in that round, something happened to his shoulder.” Duran, however, told the media he quit because of stomach cramps.
“I ate too much. I was eating hot food and drinking cold juice. That’s what caused the cramps. That’s why I quit the fight,” Duran said in an interview with journalist Bill Brubaker, which appeared in the June 1981 issue of International Boxing. “I actually wanted to stop the fight in the fifth round because my whole body was feeling paralyzed because I had these stomach cramps. . . . I felt slow and tired and I wasn’t sweating. And I wasn’t breathing enough. In the eighth round, I felt I could have feinted if I continued.”
William Nack reported: “Carlos Eleta, Duran’s manager, shrugged at the suggestion that Duran had overeaten. The stomach of stone, Eleta insists, always ate that way before a fight.”
Carlos Eleta told Bill Brubaker: “Duran exploded at that moment, not realizing what he was doing. He was so angry . . . because Sugar Ray was making fun of him. So, at that instance, in the eighth round, he said, ‘To hell with this fellow. He’s making fun of me and I’m not going to fight anymore.’ Stomach Cramps? Maybe that’s true, maybe it’s not. But Duran didn’t quit because of stomach cramps. He quit because he was embarrassed. I know this. Roberto was crying after the fight when I took him to the hospital for a checkup. In the car, he said to me, ‘I’m ashamed of myself. I never should have done that. That’s not me. I am not proud of myself.’ ”
Fabio Matos, who was a ringside guest of Duran’s at the fight, told Bill Brubaker: “Maybe I shouldn’t say this because Roberto is my friend, but after the fight, Duran told me in his hotel room that the story about the cramps was false . . . He said he had to tell that story because he knows people want an explanation.” When asked why Duran quit, Matos said, “Roberto couldn’t do anything with Leonard . . . Duran was being humiliated. Aware that he was being humiliated, he quit.”
Duran’s purse was withheld by the athletic commission. The day after the fight, Duran was fined $7,500 for his “non-performance” and the rest of his purse was released.