Sugar Ray Leonard, for the first time, held out the possibility yesterday of a third fight with Roberto Duran.
"Let him try to knock out Aaron Pryor or Maurice Hope, then, hey, something might happen," Leonard said by telephone from Hartford, Conn., where he fought an exhibition match last night with his cousin, Odell Leonard.
Of the prospect of a third bout, Leonard first said yesterday, "I'd say no, because it wouldn't be in the best interest of boxing. People would say we were just setting up a third bout with the ending of the second bout. He didn't have cramps. I didn't come down hard on him right after the second bout because I felt sorry for him, because he ahd been a legend.
"Who can investigate cramps? If he wants to fight again, let him fight for charity, as he said he was going to do after the fight in New Orleans (the second fight). Let him give his purse back. He didn't earn it.
"Let his build a reputation. It won't be easy. Tonight, I'd rather be fighting Duran than my cousin, Odell. Odell's tougher. Against Duran, I wouldn't go past eight rounds."
Leoanrd also was asked to comment on Duran's remarks in a recent New York Daily News story that he (Leonard) "is a coward for trying to run from me. He's also a pollo, a chicken. Leonard owes me a rematch, and I'm going to get it."
"I'd like to fight Marvin Hagler (undisputed world middleweight champion); I'd like to win two more titles, against him (Hagler) and Ayub Kalule (WBC junior middleweight champion whom Leonard challenges this spring). But, first, I'd like to end the little doubt about the VALIDITY OF MY (WBC) title with (Tommy) Hearns (the world Boxing Association welterweight champion).
"Hearns feels intimidated by my notoriety. No matter who he fights, Sugar Ray is always in his way. "I'd like to fight him when he reaches the status of Roberto Duran. Hearns is in the future. Beyond that, I can only look as high as Marvin Hagler."