The following sports figures were asked what they expect in Tuesday's Sugar Ray Leonard - Roberto Duran championship fight .
Muhammad Ali -- If Leonard uses his reach and speed and keeps his distance, he'll win easily. If he stands toe to toe, like he did the first time, he'll lose. He's got to stay away amd move side to side. He can't afford to get close, because that's where Duran is best. All he has to do is maintain the right distance and use his speed and his jab.
Don Dunphy, fight announcer -- Duran will win again. I thought he won convincingly last time. All other things being equal, there's no reason it should be different.Sugar Ray may want to fight him differently but he won't be able to. You can't stand off and jab him, because he's too much of a tiger and he comes in too fast. Leonard's going to be thinking about those hard punches he took the first time. I think it will go the limit, but a lot depends on the officials.
Ferdie Pacheco, physician and TV commentator -- I'm too close to both guys to pick one. It comes down to one word -- execution. Sugar Ray knows how to beat Duran and Duran knows how th beat Ray. If Duran can do what he wants, Ray has no chance. If Leonard can do what he and Angelo (Dundee) are planning, he has a hell of a chance. But planning it is one thing. Doing it is another. If Leonard can't do it, the fight will all be fought on Duran's territory, which is the back alley behind the house.
Abe Pollin, owner of the Bullets, Caps and Capital Centre -- Sugar Ray's going to win. He's going to fight much more intelligently this time. He'll use his speed, quickness and moves. He's not going to stand there and let Duran hit him like he did last time. He tried to beat Duran at Duran's strength rather than his own. This time he's going to beat Duran using his strength, which is speed and punching ability.
Barney Nagler, boxing writer for The Daily Racing Form -- I said Duran would win last time, and I see no reason to change my mind this time. He's rugged, determined, relentless and nasty. Leonard can't cope with a fighter who won't give him room. I think it will go 15 rounds, but a knockout would not surprise me. Duran is a brawler, a fighter, and he has to have an edge in a fight like this.
Harold Bell, host of a sports talk show on WYCB-AM radio -- I'm picking Duran because Sugar is not mentally and physically prepared. He's got to many distractions. I think he will be knocked out within 10 rounds. I'd like to see him win because he's a home-town boy. But he doesn't need the fight this year, so soon. He's not being given good direction.
Thomas Hearns, WBA welter-weight champion -- I think Leonard will lose again. I think he hass all the tools and ability and skills a person needs to win the fight, but he doesn't have the heart. He hasn't proved it to me and he hasn't proved it to others. He showed it in the first fight. He hung in there but he was fighting scared. I'd like to see Leonard regain his title. I have nothing against him. I'm just speaking the truth. Duran has showed what he can do.
Cus d'Amato, former trainer of champions Floyd Patterson and Jose Torres -- The last time I picked Duran to win. This time I'm leaning to Leonard. In the last fight, Duran put on a supreme effort. I don't think he's capable of duplicating that kind of effort. Emotionally, I don't think he can do it twice. On the other hand, Leonard still retains that ambition and drive. He realizes that had he been more consistent, he could have won the last fight. He didn't have the same effectiveness at the beginning as he did at the end.
Sugar Ray Robinson, former champion in three weight classes -- I never saw Duran fight. Or Leonard. I just go on what I've heard. I can't give my opinion on who will win. I've heard that Duran is very agressive and ambitious and they tell me Leonard is a pretty good boxer. I saw him box one round and he is. He is a pretty good boxer.
Wilfred Benitez, former welter-weight champ, loser to Leonard for title -- I saw Leonard in Canada (before the first Duran fight) and I told him to move and grab, hit first and grab. He told me he was gonna knock him out and fight with him. I told him he was wrong. He didn't do what I told him. But I think that this time he's going to win because he learned a lesson like I learned a lesson with him.Duran hasn't got a knockout punch anymore and Leonard, he has a knockout punch. In any round Leonard can kayo him. I don't think Duran has a chance with a strong fighter who can box. Duran's gonna be finished. This is the last fight he's gonna make. He's gonna lose bad.