Terry Norris vs. Sugar Ray Leonard

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1991-02-09 : Terry Norris 152½ lbs beat Sugar Ray Leonard 154 lbs by UD in round 12 of 12


Notes

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  • Leonard was fighting for the first time in fourteen months.
  • Leonard, who had been fighting at middleweight and super middleweight, was moving down in weight. This was his first fight at junior middleweight since defeating Kevin Howard in 1984.
  • Norris was eleven years younger than Leonard.
  • The fight was promoted by Victory Promotions, the company of Mike Trainer, Leonard's attorney.
  • The fight was televised live on Showtime.
  • HBO released Leonard from his broadcasting contract because the cable network was not given an opportunity to bid on the televised rights to Leonard's fight with Norris. Leonard had been a ringside commentator for HBO since 1978. HBO Sports Executive Producer Ross Greenburg said, "We feel, therefore, if HBO is treated in this fashion, it is inappropriate for Ray to continue as a commentator on World Championship Boxing telecasts." Mike Trainer responded, "There never has been a linkage between his broadcasting and his fighting."
  • Leonard was expected to make more than $4 million, and Norris was expected to get at least $1 million. "The fighters are both on percentages," Mike Trainer said. "When we take in all our receipts -- the gate, the live telecast money from Showtime, foreign sales and so forth -- we'll subtract expenses and split up what's left according to the respective percentages of the fighters."
  • Leonard was a 12 to 5 favorite.
  • A crowd of 7,495 attended the fight at Madison Square Garden.
  • Pat Putnam of Sports Illustrated reported:
Norris, 23 and quicker, knocked Leonard down with a left hook in the second round and with a short, crisp right in the seventh. Leonard was never in danger of not finishing the fight. Only the body had grown older; the will and the heart remained young and strong. "I knew I didn't have it when I entered the ring," said Leonard, who was fighting for the first time since beating Roberto Duran in a super middleweight bout in December 1989. After the second-round knockdown, Leonard, on legs that no longer responded to his commands, was reduced to setting ambushes, none of which were successful against the overly cautious Norris, who might well have knocked out Leonard had he been more aggressive. "He was trying to bait me," said Norris, "but it didn't work."
  • After the decision was announced, Leonard took the ring microphone and announced, "This is my last fight."

Quotes

  • Norris: "It was a sad victory. He's my idol and I beat him badly. I didn't want it to be that way. He's still my idol."
  • Leonard: "He was quick and too smart. He's a young Sugar Ray Leonard. He's going to get better. If he maintains the same focus, he's going to be around a long time."

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