Boxing's Fab Four Part Ten: Uno Mas

Updated: Aug 11, 2019

07th December 1989, Mirage Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas

WBC Super-Middleweight Title

Ray Leonard Vs Roberto Duran

Thomas Hearns' trainer, Emanuel Steward, expected Leonard-Hearns III to go ahead in the November at Caesars Palace, to settle the impasse produced from their second meeting. "We are tentatively set to go into training for that bout on 01st September," Steward was quoted as saying on 07th July 1989 in the New York Times. "But this time Thomas will have parity in the purses paid to the fighters."

However, team Hearns were left disappointed as on 16th July 1989 a press conference was held at the famous Roseland Ballroom in Manhattan, New York to officially announce Ray Leonard vs Roberto Duran III. "Everybody who has a Thoams Hearns fight signed and sealed for the 02nd November at Caesars Palace is way ahead of the game," claimed Mike Trainer. "This is a better deal for Ray, because Hearns was seeking parity. He wanted as much money as Ray."

The announcement came exactly a month after Duran's thirty-eighth birthday and his advanced years was brought into debate. The ageing Panamanian laughed off the suggestions. "Age doesn't count. Personal fitness is what matters, being well prepared on the day of the fight. I have waited nine years for this fight, so I intend to do it right." Duran then passed comment on Leonard's performance against Hearns. "It was obvious in his last fight that Leonard was too slow. He's sure to try to correct this against me, but I intend to be faster too. I shall be ready to take him on his terms, whatever tactics he tries to employ in the fight."

This contest had a real 'Clash of the Titans' about it, which was even more attractive than 'The War' in Leonard's last outing. The publicity moguls labelled the bout as 'Uno Mas' (One More) in jest to the infamous 'No Mas' (No More) when he turned his back on Leonard and refused to carry on in their last meeting in New Orleans in November 1980.

It was announced that the fight would be set at 162 pounds (73.48 KG) and the decision caught Duran unawares and he openly questioned why the limit was six pounds (2.72 KG) inside the super-middleweight limit.

Leonard was set to bank $20 million with Duran receiving $8 million. Unfortunately for the Panamanian he owes millions of dollars to the IRS, who would be getting the lion's share of his purse, plus his handlers who made the fight possible.

Leonard Vs Duran 3 was expected to be an exciting affair

Duran, who didn't box at all in 1985 after getting blown out by Thomas Hearns in two rounds in June 1984. He won his next two in January and April 1986, losing a ten rounder to Robbie Sims in the June. He won his next six, which included a twelve round split decision victory to claim Iran Barkley's WBC middleweight title in February 1989.

The press were told that no date or venue had been agreed and there were three possibilities; Caesars Palace, Las Vegas on 02nd November, Atlantic City's Trump Plaza on 30th November and The Mirage Hotel in the first week of December.

It was announced on 31st July that the rubber match would take place at The Mirage, Las Vegas' newly built hotel and casino in fifteen years. Steve Wynn, the hotel's owner, planned to open the new building on 26th December, but moved the date forward to 22nd November once he bagged the fight. "The money was about the same (both The Mirage and Trump Plaza offered site fees in excess of $8 million). It came down to intangibles," said Mike Trainer, co-promoter with Top Tank. "Ray liked the idea of opening this new hotel."

Leonard and Duran live in direct contrast to each other. Duran is the undisciplined fat guy between fights and is a man who has never taken care of his financial affairs Keeping up to date with his taxes are testament to that and he is nearly broke for it.

Leonard, the polar opposite, heads his multi-million dollar corporation, Sugar Ray Leonard Inc. He admits that he's motivated by money. Some could argue he's motivated by greed due to banking over $100 million from the ring alone, but he makes a good point: "With the risk involved I should get paid well for my services."

He also gets driven to his morning roadwork when he's training, where he initially scans the business pages. Leonard intensely peruses the news, seldom looking at the sports pages. He also monitors the Stock Market closely and his interests include many important social issues that affect the American youth. Drug abu