Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran had their first confrontation today since Montreal and it touched off further speculation that a rematch is all but set for Nov. 25.
Duran, the World Boxing Council welterweight champion, appeared at the weigh-ins of Larry Holmes and Muhammad Ali. Duran was introduced from the podium and was booed as he hugged Jose Sulaiman, president of the WBC.
Leonard was in the audience, here to report on the heavyweight bout for WDVM-TV-9 in Washington. While Leonard was being interviewed, Duran came down among the audience, walked behind Leonard and shouted, "Nov. 25 . . .Nov. 25."
"Did you hear that?" an interviewer asked Leonard and the former champion said, "Yes, that's music to my ear; I like to hear that."
Leonard was asked how he felt about seeing Duran for the first time since the Panamanian decisioned him for the title on June 20 in Montreal. "After I see him it makes me want to do it again," he replied. "I really am waiting for the finalization of the rematch. I guess it's just a matter of time now; I think it's close."
Leonard was asked if Nov. 25 was "a bit too early."
"Not really," he said, "it's a perfect time. Basically, I need only a month to a month and a half of hard traiing.I weigh 146 now (the division limit is 147). I've been training . . . running two or three days a week, waiting for someone to say, 'We've shot off the gun -- it's time to go now.'"
Sulaiman once more said the two managements are shooting for Nov. 25. He said voting by his organization on approval of the bout will be finished within the week.
Bob Haloran of Caesars Palace quoted both fighters as saying they want the bout here in Las Vegas but he thinks a Nov. 25 date would be difficult. He wondered about holding the event in the same week as Thanksgiving. He reported that the fighters would receive the same purses as Ali and Holmes are getting for Thursday's bout here.