Sugar Ray Leonard gave Fernand Marcotte such a bloody beating today that the victim looked like something out of a Sam Peckinpah movie.
Leonard's relentless left jabs and uppercuts brought rivulets of blood from a cut near the Canadian's right eye through the sixth, seventh and eighth rounds.
Leonard finally decked his opponent and ended the scheduled 10-rounder at Miami Beach Convention Hall with a right hook at 2:33 of the eighth round.
"I was picking my spots and waiting for the right opportunity when he'd bring his chin close to me," the 22-year-old from Palmer Park, Md., said. "I landed a left uppercut that raised his chin so it would cooperate with my right hand."
The victory was Leonard's 19th in a row as a professional, but this was the first time he had stepped out of the welterweight division to fight as a middleweight.
He was outweighed by Marcotte, 155 1/2 pounds to 149 1/2, and he had intended to offset this disadvantage by moving from side to side and "not letting him lean on me."
For a round or two Leonard used that strategy, circling, dancing, flicking his jab. Marcotte seemed unperturbed. "I like this, I like this," he said to Leonard.
Leonard fired another hard left and inquired, "How do you like THIS?"
Marcotte was not landing many blows in retaliation.His arms were too short, and his hardest punches were missing.
"I saw hooks coming by like jet planes," Leonard said.
As he realized Marcotte's advantage in weight was not proving much of an advantage at all, Leonard gradually became the aggressor. He moved straight ahead and pummeled Marcotte's face with his left. The damage began to show graphically in the sixth round.
The cut near the right eye of the Canadian middleweight champion was bleeding so badly that referee Jay Edson called time so Fernand Marcotte Sr., the fighter's father and trainer, could examine it.
The cut wasn't too deep and, Edson said later, "Even though Marcotte was bleeding profusely he was still hitting with both hands and landing a couple punches."
Indeed every time he had been hurt, Marcotte came back gamely by throwing a flurry of punches. But by the end of the seventh round the only response he could muster was a blind, bull-like lunge at his tormentor. The end was near and Leonard knew it.
Having won the first seven rounds on the scorecards of the referee and both judges, Leonard came out in the eighth obviously looking for the kill. He connected with several powerful combinations until one put his opponent to the canvas.
Marcotte managed to struggle to his feet at the count of eight, but his father rushed into the ring to stop the fight. Had he not, the referee would have.
"He'd never been on the deck before," said the elder Marcotte, whose son lost his ninth of 47 professional fights. "I never thought Leonard could put the kid out. He reminds me of Sugar Ray Robinson. He's smart and fast, and by the end of the year he's going to be the champion of the world."