Reprinted from yesterday's late editions
Sugar Ray Leonard continued his climb up the welterweight ladder Friday night, breezing to a unanimous 10-round decision over hopelessly outclassed Bernardo Prada.
It was the 16th victory for the unbeaten Leonard, who turned pro after winning an Olympic gold medal at Montreal two years ago.
Prada, from Bogota, Columbia, suffered his fourth loss to go with 24 wins and two draws.
Leonard, a 146-pound native of Palmer Park, Md., turned the fight in his favor late in the second round when a hard overhand right, combined with a second right, forced Prada to cover. Until then, Prada had matched jabs with the stylish Leonard and even had connected with several good rights.
Leonard had Prada in trouble from the third round on, but was not able to knock him down. Prada's nose was bloodied by a severe Leonard onslaught in the eighth, the only cut of the fight.
It appeared that Leonard would be awarded a technical knockout midway through the sixth round when Prada slumped to the canvas in his corner, apparently downed by a low blow. But the referee gave the Columbian at least two minutes to recover, then allowed the bout to proceed.
Leonard charged his opponent for the remaining minute of the round, but agin failed to put him away.
The final three rounds were very similar: Leonard moving, jabbing, stalking his prey from one corner of the ring to the other. But the final punch never came.
Pressing for a knockout to please the 6,000-plus crowd at the Cumberland County Civic Center and a national Home Box Office cable television audience, Leonard rushed across the ring in the final round and unleashed every punch in his vast arsenal.
But Prada, although no match for Leonard as a boxer, is rugged. Staggered several times, he always managed to clinch or work himself away on the ropes.
Leonard's best punches were rights, both hooks and overhands. Prada had little except an occasional left jab and failed to land any combination in the final eight rounds.
In one of the preliminary fights, Warren Fortune, 146 3/4 pounds, Palmer Park, Md., scored a split decision over Charlie Benjamin, 144, of Hartford, Conn.