I think you have to start with the period right before the fight. I've seen it on film and I remember looking at my face while we were walking toward the ring. I had this numb expression.
I don't know why but I felt a little funny.I could hear that a majority of the people were for Duran.That didn't bother me because I'd fought guys in their hometown. But it surprised me a bit.
They say I lost the first round. I don't see how. We were both feeling each other out in that round. You won't see too many blows landed and I don't think either of us landed anything really clean. I would have called the round even.
He won the second round. That was when he hurt me. It was early in the round. You'll see him back me toward the ropes and throw a right.
That just grazed me. But then he followed the right with a left hook. That was what hurt me. I can remember being hit as hard but I can't remember taking quite so long to recover from a punch. Maybe it was the tension, I don't know.
Even when he hurt me though, I realized I could take it. I shook my head at him after that punch and said, "No way, not good enough."
He won the third round too, I think. He was getting in some pretty good punches. Nothing like the one in the second round, though. I realized after that round that he had won at least two rounds. I sat on the stool just trying to regroup my thoughts, regain my composure.
I decided to start working some combinations, to work the body more. In the fourth round you can see that I'm throwing more punches, going to the body more, taking the fight to him.
They say that he was the aggressor in the fight. You'll hear Howard Cosell saying, "Tremendous punch by Duran," or, "Oh, he nailed him again." Not so, those punches didn't really hurt me. And if you watch closely, you'll see that for every punch he landed, I landed two.
The fourth and fifth rounds I hit him with a lot of uppercuts to the body, a lot of combinations. I think I started to hurt him there. By the sixth round I felt like I was in control of the fight.
The one thing that worried me was his head. It was a weapon. Every time I went inside he tried to butt me. In the 11th round, we really knocked heads and I cut my forehead. It was just like in the Wilfred Benitez fight. I remember thinking about that when it happened.
I think I hurt him worse right at the end of the fourth rounds. I hit him with a left-right combination to the body. He backed off a step just as the bell rang at the end of the round.
By the middle of the fight you'll see that I'm still strong, still standing up a good 20 seconds before the bell in each round.
Rounds seven to 11 we both got some punches in. I threw a lot of body punches but I missed a lot of punches, too. He was elusive with his head. That surprised me. When I looked at the films later, I saw that it was because he didn't duck straight down, but ducked on an angle. Next time, I won't miss like that.
The 11th round, I remember, was the round where I think we reached a certain level of mutual respect. The whole round was toe to toe. We just stood in there and punched one another. I took his shots, he took mine.
But I thought that was the last round he was even in. From the 12th through the 15th, I thought I was in control. I thought that was where I won the fight. I was still landing combinations. I was still getting him in the body.
By the 14th he was almost out of gas. Watch how many punches he threw that round. Not many. He was tired. I went after him, I wanted to take him out.
The 15th, he tried to clown. He was backing off, dropping his hands. He was tired. I think he was trying to psyche the judges out. I got him backed against the ropes for a second and I remember thinking, I can get him now. But I couldn't quite land the punch.
When it was over, I went over to acknowledge him, to tell him, "Good fight." I felt like he was upset because he had lost the fight.
I went back to my corner. I really didn't hear anybody talking to me or anything. I was just kind of looking out into the crowd. I was confident.
Then, after a couple of minutes, I began to feel strange. I thought, "This is taking too long, something's wrong." It was the first time the thought occurred to me that I might not have won. There was no emotion on my face though. Nothing.
Then they announced the decision. First they said Duran 145, Leonard 144 or something like that. Then they said Duran 147. Right then, Don King and all of Duran's people picked him up on their shoulders and started celebrating. Then they said, "Leonard, 147." You can see Duran's people just drop him, right there. They looked worried all of a sudden.
The last judge they announced gave my score first. They said, "Leonard, 145." For a second, I thought I had won. But then they said, "Duran, 146."
That was it. I got this small smile on my face. I wanted to go over to congratulate him but there were too many people. It was crazy.
As we went out I waved to the crowd to show them I wasn't in shock or anything. I went back to the dressing room and lay down. I was numb, just like before the fight. Next time people watch me fight Duran, though, they'll see a diferent fight than the one they'll see Saturday.