30
Oct
2020

Floyd Mayweather, Sugar Ray Leonard and four super-fights we never saw

Floyd Mayweather

Naoki Fukuda

World Boxing News offers four massive fights that just never made it over the line, including Floyd Mayweather and Sugar Ray Leonard facing rivals.

Floyd Mayweather vs. Antonio Margarito

In the early 2000s, Mayweather was starting to come to prominence. Mayweather had chalked up some impressive victories, leading many people to believe that he would take on then-WBO welterweight champion Antonio Margarito. It was just talking.

Had they met, Margarito could have ended Floyd Mayweather’s dominance before it had even begun. The Californian native had a similar style to Jose Luis Castillo, who had profusely troubled Mayweather in the two fights the two had in 2002 and was entering the prime of his career.

In the years of 2005-06, Margarito was a machine. A deadly punching machine with the strength of an ox.

Despite tabling a then record-high payday of $9 million to Floyd Mayweather, “Money” opted to face Carlos Baldomir for the WBC title.

In reflection, the majority believe that Mayweather’s ring general-ship and boxing acumen would have been able to thwart the more dangerous but less refined Margarito. That said, it still would have been enthralling to see the slick Mayweather trying to deal with the uncompromising power and pressure that the Tijuana Tornado possessed.

Riddick Bowe WBC belt bin

Riddick Bowe vs. Lennox Lewis

Okay, these two did fight, but at the 1988 Olympics at Seoul for the Gold Medal. On that occasion, Lennox Lewis came out on top and won via a second-round TKO.
Fast forward to 1992, Riddick Bowe is the undisputed heavyweight champion after beating Evander Holyfield, while his old Olympic rival Lewis had just knocked out Donovan “Razor” Ruddock in two rounds to become the WBC’s number one contender.

What happened from here can only be described as absurd. Bowe’s eccentric manager Rock Newman started to make unreasonable demands for Bowe to take the Lewis fight. One of which was requesting that purse be split 90/10 in Boye’s favor.

If that was bad, it was nowhere near as despicable as Bowe’s last actions. He threw his WBC championship belt into a bin as a way of avoiding a meeting with Lewis. The WBC, who had rightly threatened to strip Bowe of the title if he did not fight the mandatory fighter, had no choice but to take the strap off Bowe and award it to Lewis.

You have to feel for Lewis. He wanted his first title to come from a knock-out punch, not a default. Despite having a stellar boxing career, Bowe is still remembered by some British fans for ducking Lewis.


Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Aaron Pryor

Similarly to Floyd Mayweather, there are very few fighters comparable to Sugar Ray Leonard. The pace and movement that he possessed inside the squared-circle were incomprehensible.

As much as Leonard was a rarity, so was Aaron Pryor, who could catch you from just about anywhere to devastating effect.

The two knew each other from their days with the 1976 Olympic Team. Both were competing at the 140lb catchweight, but Pryor eventually moved down a weight. A decision he regrets to this day – even back then, he thought he had “Sugar” Ray’s number.

Many in the 1980s believed that Leonard was ducking Pryor, while the stories of the pair trying to destroy one another in sparring sessions also received a large amount of coverage. But, still, there was no fight.

Talk of Leonard ducking Pryor is more than likely ill-founded. Leonard fought Roberto Duran, Marvin Hagler, and Tommy Hearns, proving that he would not duck anyone.

Some suggest that Pryor and Leonard had agreed to fight in 1982. Leonard, however, retired after detaching his retina while fighting Bruce Finch.

Well documented that Leonard’s retirement was only temporary, but upon his return, Pryor started his downwards descent into the dark world of drug dependency.

Juan Manuel Marquez
Zanfer

Erik Morales vs. Juan Manuel Marquez

The generation of Erik Morales, Juan Manuel Marquez, and Marco Antonio Barrera was one of the most decorated of all time and the most decisive. To this day, there is no exact number one. While Barrera has taken to the ring against both men – he had three wars with Morales, two of which he won, he lost to Marquez – Morales and Marquez have never thrown down.

The two explosive boxers have 76 knockouts between them and have won major titles in four weight categories. It doesn’t take too much of an imagination to picture the organized chaos these two would bring to the ring. It wouldn’t be a fight, and it would be a war.

Talks have taken place between the parties on countless occasions. But nothing has been agreed by the two parties every time.

Although both are still going, they are past their prime. If we had been treated to this fight five years ago, it would have been a blood-filled frenzy – a match of epic proportions. Sadly we were not and will never know who the greatest boxer of this Mexican triumvirate is.

All four of these had the potential to be great fights. Especially the last one.