Sugar Ray Leonard stopped short of predicting a Floyd Mayweather victory but hinted that way in a teleconference during which he offered his views on Saturday’s Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao bout.
“They say it’s five years too late. I don’t necessarily agree with that,” Leonard said Monday.
Mayweather (47-0, 26 KOs) is about a 2-to-1 favorite to defeat Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 KOs) in the welterweight showdown at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
“I think there could be dominance, whether it’s Pacquiao, but moreso leaning toward Mayweather to be dominant,” Leonard said. “It’ll take a few rounds for either fighter to figure the other one out and know what the other one has. They’ve seen each other fight but being in the ring is totally different.”
Leonard said Mayweather and Floyd Mayweather Sr. are “like twins” in fighting style, except the younger Mayweather punches harder. Leonard defeated Mayweather Sr. via 10th-round technical knockout in 1978.
Leonard said he met the younger Mayweather almost 20 years years ago.
“I met him through Oscar De La Hoya,” Leonard said. “And I’d seen this young man fight a couple times and I said to him, ‘You know, you’re going to be special, young man.’ I don’t think Mayweather remembers that. But I said to him, ‘You’re going to be special,’ because there was something in him, something that I saw in his eyes, that revealed that.”
Leonard said he still likes watching Mayweather fight and considers him an all-time great.
“I appreciate artistry, I appreciate technique, I appreciate strategy, tactics,” Leonard said. “When I look at Floyd and watch him fight, no matter who it is, I see how he breaks down his opponent, he breaks down his opposition, whether it’s body shots with the jab, countering, making the guy stop punching, mesmerized, because the bigger the fight, the better it is for Mayweather, because he’s used to that. He’s used to that curtain, that stage.
“I felt that myself, and (Muhammad) Ali felt that himself, also. So does Mayweather.”
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