This Day in Boxing

Sugar Ray Leonard Beats Adolfo Viruet This Day April 21, 1979


Sugar Ray Leonard Beats Adolfo Viruet This Day April 21, 1979



  • Sugar Ray Leonard 144½ lbs
  • Adolfo Viruet 147¼ lbs
  • UD in round 10 of 10
  • Location: Dunes Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
  • Referee: Richard Greene
  • Judge: Duane Ford 47-42
  • Judge: Hal Miller 48-42
  • Judge: Art Lurie 47-44
  • Leonard Decisions Viruet in 10


Leonard, the former 139-pound Olympic gold medalist at Montreal and 21-0 as a pro, spent the early rounds solving Viruet’s unorthodox style before taking command of the fight. Giving up three inches in reach and three pounds, Leonard used his swarming offense to build a big lead in the 10-round battle.

Leonard floored the 27-year-old Viruet for an eight-count in the fourth round but couldn’t put him away. “I knew he was hurt. He was still dazed. Experience pulled him through,” said Leonard.

Leonard, who weighed 144½, earned $200,000 for the victory while Viruet, who had never been off his feet in 20 previous pro fights, got $40,000.

Viruet rallied to win the ninth round and weathered the 10th when Leonard tried desperately for the knockout. The closest judge’s card was Art Lurie’s, who had it 47-44. Hal Miller scored it 48-42 and Dwayne Ford had it 47-42.

Viruet, now 17-4, was warned twice for low blows and once each for holding and elbowing.

During the ninth, Leonard slipped during a flurry of punches by Viruet.

Afterwards, Viruet complained of a possible fractured right hand suffered during the fourth round.

The hand was to be x-rayed.

Leonard was confused at times by Viruet’s awkward style but scored with flurries to build up a big lead. Leonard, ranked sixth by the World Boxing Association, is to fight Marcos Geraldo May 20 in New Orleans.

It was Leonard’s 61st consecutive victory, dating back to his days as a three-time national Golden Gloves champion.

Viruet’s trainer, Joe Dimaria, turned up in the corner three days after suffering a heart attack.

A standing-room-only crowd of 2,100 at the Dune’s Crown Jewel Room applauded Viruet’s game performance after the decision was announced.

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