Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns anticipate Thurman-Porter showdown

Sugar Ray Leonard (L) in action vs Thomas Hearns during fight at Sports Pavilion of Caesars Palace. Neil Leifer
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Thomas Hearns, right, throws a body punch at Sugar Ray Leonard during their September 1981 fight in Las Vegas/File photo courtesy of Getty Images


Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns were in a few big fights of their own. The first of two they had against one another – in September 1981 outdoors at Caesars Palace – was a classic as Leonard came from behind to stop Hearns in the 14th round of their welterweight title fight.

This Saturday’s welterweight title fight between champion Keith “One Time” Thurman and Shawn Porter at Barclays Center in Brooklyn (on CBS) isn’t as anticipated as Leonard-Hearns, but Leonard and Hearns themselves can’t wait to see it.

“Just the heart of Keith and Shawn,” Leonard said, when asked what excites him most about this fight. “Both of these guys have heart and both have that will. That composure. You can’t teach composure. It’s something that you either have or you don’t. You can’t learn that. That deep, deep composure when your left eye is closed and your liver is busted and you got to get up (off) the canvas.”

Hearns intimated it could be an early exit for someone.

“I know Thurman and Porter have the ability to get each other out of there,” he said. “It’s going to be a matter of who gets to who first. I’m definitely watching. I hope to be there in person.”

Thurman, 27, is 26-0 with 22 knockouts. Porter, 27, is 26-1-1 with 16 knockouts.

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