Sugar Ray Leonard vs Dicky Eklund (Welterweight CLASSIC)

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July 18th, 1978. 22 year old Sugar Ray Leonard takes on Dicky Eklund aka “The Pride of Lowell” in his 13th pro fight. This is Eklund’s most notable fight but he would later became better known for his battles with drug addiction. He would eventually become a trainer for his half brother “Irish” Micky Ward who fought an epic trilogy with the late Arturo Gatti.

Prefight records; Leonard 12(8)-0, Eklund 11(0)-3.

Eklund was a very good amateur with a record of 194-6 and was 3x Golden Gloves Champion. After losing his pro debut in August 1978, he racked up 10 straight wins before losing for the 2nd time in his 1st fight outside of the United States.

He went 1-1 in January and March of 1978 respectively before facing future Welterweight Legend and P4P Great “Sugar” Ray Leonard in July of the same year.

Ray Leonard was a stellar amateur who racked up a record of 145-5 with the following accomplishments:

1) National Golden Gloves Lightweight Champion (1973)
2) National AAU Light Welterweight Championship runner up (1973)
3) National Golden Gloves Light Welterweight Champion (1974)
4) National AAU Light Welterweight Champion (1974)
5) North American Championships Gold Medalist (1974)
6) National AAU Light Welterweight Champion (1975)
7) North American Championships Gold Medalist (1975)
8) Pan American Games Light Welterweight Gold Medalist (1975)
9) Olympic Light Welterweight Gold Medalist (1976)

After a tremendously successful amateur stint he made his pro debut in February 1977 and since then, he won 12 bouts consecutively before facing Eklund.

For 10 rounds, Eklund’s unorthodox style with his quick feet and sneaky defense frustrated Leonard and made him missed occasionally. But as a whole, Ray did the more consistently effective work throughout. While Eklund had his moments, he definitely did not do enough despite his continuous showboating.

In the 6th frame, Eklund was decked for the 1st time in his career. He was floored again in the 9th.

In total, Eklund went down 4 times. He was wrestled to the canvas in the 2nd, knocked down in rounds 6 and 9. In the 10th and final stanza, Eklund was legitimately floored (as seen in replay) for the 3rd time but referee Tommy Rawson incorrectly ruled it a slip.

Leonard also hit the canvas once in the 9th round; he was shoved by Eklund and tripped over his foot. Eklund walked over Leonard which created the illusion that he legitimately decked him, and for many years he boasted about knocking down the future Welterweight legend.

However, in later years he would admit the truth.

After 10 competitive rounds, Leonard won via scores of 100-90, 100-89 & 99-89.

After this loss, Eklund’s life and career went on a downward spiral largely to due his battles with drug addiction as well as troubles with the law.

A documentary entitled “High on Crack Street: Lost Lives in Lowell” which can be found on YouTube, depicts his fall from grace due to his cocaine addiction as well as his long prison sentences due to crimes committed to support his lifestyle.

His story as well as Micky Ward’s was depicted in the movie “The Fighter” (2010) where he was portrayed by English-American actor Christian Bale.

As for Leonard, he continued his winning ways going 12(8)-0 over a period of 1 year (from September 1978 to September 1979). In November 1979, he became the WBC World Welterweight Champion via TKO15 over Puerto Rican defensive legend Wilfredo Benitez.

From that moment on, Leonard went on to embark on a legendary career to become one of the Greatest Welterweights of All Time as well as one of the Best Pound for Pound Fighters in history.

In Leonard’s pro career of 40 bouts, he had beaten notable oppositions such as Dave Boy Green, Andy Price, Pete Ranzany, Floyd Mayweather Sr, Kevin Howard, Bruce Finch, Johnny Gant, Armando Muniz, Adolfo Viruet, Ayub Kalule,Tony Chiaverini, Randy Shields, Donny Lalonde, Wilfred Benitez, Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns & Roberto Duran (2x).

Enjoy this highlights video of a 1978 classic, and be sure to subscribe for more boxing awesomeness!

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