Irresistible Dream Fight: Sugar Ray Robinson Vs. Sugar Ray Leonard

By James Slater - 05/12/2023 - Comments

How would you title a Dream Fight – perhaps THE biggest, most fascinating, most debatable Dream Fight imaginable – between the two Sugars, Robinson, and Leonard?

There is no doubt, during their respective ring careers, Robinson and Leonard elevated the sport, and with it the expectations fans had when it came to what they could expect to see when the two masters were in action. Both Sugars were wizard-like. Both Sugars were as beautiful as they were brutal. Both Robinson and Leonard were super-special.

For years, we fans have dreamt of, well, of Dream Fights (and yeah, plenty of you have long since grown weary of the idea). For many, a Sugar Vs. Sugar battle is the one, the most fascinating Dream Fight of them all.

At their peak, both men looked, for a time, to be untouchable, and both Robinson and Leonard also managed to do the impossible in terms of launching odds-defying comebacks. The original Sugar Ray came back to become a five-time middleweight king! This after retiring after suffering a nasty, heat-prostrate induced KO to Joey Maxim.

Leonard, having been floored and made to look anything like sweet by Kevin Howard, came back to shock the all-devouring Marvelous Marvin Hagler (and right there we have ourselves another dynamite Dream Fight: Robinson Vs. Hagler!)

Yeah, on a given night, Sugar and Sugar gave us stupefying stuff.

So who would have won had these two titans met when both were operating at their dazzling prime?

It’s as tough a question as can be asked in boxing. Pretty much like: what would have happened if there had been no long count in the Tunney-Dempsey rematch? What would have happened if the Marciano-Walcott fight had been scheduled for 12 rounds, not 15? What would have happened if Muhammad Ali had not been forced into exile in 1967? What would have happened if Leonard-Hearns had been scheduled for 12 rounds, not for 15? And so on……

Would Robinson the welterweight king have dominated Leonard, would he maybe have even knocked him out (this no man managed to do to a prime Leonard)? Or would Leonard have used all of his own particular brilliance to box, punch, trick and puzzle his namesake into a close and controversial decision loss? All three scenarios are possible.

But this one, more so than most Dream Fights, comes down to personal opinion and nothing more. In fact, some may say the very notion of matching Robinson and Leonard together is nothing short of sacrilege.

It’s up to you.

My pick: Robinson would have been forced to work hard, to dig deep, to use his fine boxing brain to its full extent, in winning a close but unanimous decision victory.