Boxing's Fab Four Part Three: Sweet Revenge

Updated: Aug 7, 2019

25th November 1980, Superdrome, New Orleans, Louisiana

WBC Welterweight Title

Roberto Duran Vs Ray Leonard

The new champion partied hard after his victory over Ray Leonard. Duran ate, drank and partied some more. In late September the new king of boxing received a call from his manager Carlos Eleta, telling him that the rematch would be in November. "Are you fucking crazy?" Duran shouted. "I weigh nearly two-hundred-pounds (90.72 KG). I can't drop all that weight in a month."

The reason for a quick rematch was duly down to the amount of money Don King, who promoted the fight and Carlos Eleta would make. Duran however, knew he would lose as he was so drained making the one-hundred-forty-seven-pounds (66.68 KG) limit that he was suffering from stomach cramps. Three days before the contest Eleta claimed that his fighter had used diuretic medication to get his weight off, but this was refuted by Duran and his personal physician Dr. Orlando Nunez.

This time Leonard was effective  fighting off the ropes

On the morning of the fight Duran was a pound (0.45 KG) over the welterweight limit and spent the hours before the weigh-in drying out. Both boxers weighed one-hundred-and-forty-six-pounds (66.22 KG). Straight after Duran got off the scales he drank a large thermos of consommé, a type of clear soup made from stock and a half thermos of hot tea. He then ate an orange the size of a grapefruit before wolfing down a large lunch which included two T-bone steaks and french fries. Four hours later at 17.00 he ate half a steak and drank some more tea.

Leonard on the other hand, who didn't struggle to make weight had a large breakfast of two eggs and grits, a food made from corn, two pieces of toast, peaches and Kool-Aid, a powdered drink. He had an early dinner at 16.00, which consisted of fried chicken, green peas, a glass of water and some more Kool-Aid.

The challenger had lost Dave Jacobs, his trainer from his amateur days after a falling out. Jacobs wanted his man to have a few tune-up fights before getting in with Duran again, but Leonard insisted on an immediate rematch, leaving Jacobs no option but to quit.

Again the contest was shown live on closed circuit television at three-hundred-and-forty-five different locations in the United States and Canada, with sixty foreign countries also televising the event. ABC also shelled out $2.5 million to show the bout on 19th December that year, making it the highest fee ever paid for a delayed prime time telecast.

25,038 fans paid for tickets ranging between $40 to $1,000 to produce a gate of $3 million, but the receipts from the closed circuit broadcast made $38 million, which gave Duran a pure of $8 million, whilst Leonard received a million dollars less.

Leonard even had the better of the exchanges

Leonard, who ditched his usual attire of red, white and blue trunks with tassels on his boots for a pair of black trunks and tassel-less shoes. "How do I look?" He asked Mike Trainer as he left his dressing room.

"You look like a mix of the Grim Reaper and an assassin," came the reply.