By Mitch Abramson
Sugar Ray Leonard has always been a showman, capable of entertaining the masses. Even though he's retired from boxing that doesn’t mean he’s stopped trying to produce must-see boxing. Now, he's at it again: Leonard is in the middle of putting together a world tour involving some of the legendary fighters he faced- Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns and Roberto Duran- in a concert hall format that would showcase all four fighters discussing their great fights together sometime next year.
If it happens, and Leonard is confident it will, it would come on the heels of Mike Tyson’s solo performance on Broadway this summer with this four-man production.
Leonard said the tour is still a work in progress, but that he’s looking to start perhaps in March or April.
“I’ve been in communications with Tommy Hearns, Hagler and Duran,” Leonard said. “I’m putting pieces together. [It would be] the four of us together, just talking about how [each of us] felt in our fights, this and that, the ‘No Mas’ fight, the real truth [behind it]. Why Tommy Hearns didn’t clinch me in the 12th or 13th round of our fight. Why did Hagler fight me right-handed for a few rounds? You know- that kind of thing. It could be- it has legs to it.”
Leonard said the tour would start in Las Vegas, where most of their big fights took place and then possibly go to New York and London. Leonard said he thought of the idea during a recent trip to Europe. From 1980-1989 the fighters, known as the “Fabulous Four,” fought 10 times between them, engaging in some of the greatest fights in boxing while elevating the sport.
Duran’s plea of “No Mas” to the referee in his 1980 fight with Leonard in New Orleans at the Louisiana Superdome propelled Leonard to the top of his sport while nearly ruining Duran’s career. Hagler strangely turned right-handed, allowing Leonard to gain an early advantage and win a split decision in their 1987 bout. Six years before that fight in a bout that was billed as the “Showdown,” Leonard endured a swollen left eye to stop an undefeated Hearns in the 14th round. Hagler and Hearns nearly killed each other in their 1985 masterpiece, regarded as one of the best, pure action fights ever.
Leonard has already reached out to all three fighters to weigh their interest.
“They’re all on board,” he said. “I just have to put the pieces together. This is so fresh and so new. I’m still talking to people right now, in terms of sponsors and what have you. I need to come to New York to see who can document it.”
Mitch Abramson covers boxing for the New York Daily News and BoxingScene.com.