Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran in iconic TV ad (Video)Written by
Type: TV Commercial
Aired: U.S.A. (circa 1980-82)
Sugar Ray Leonard
WBC Weltwrweight Champion
Former Undisputed Lightweight Champion
Roberto Duran Jr (circa age 5)
Ray Jr ( circa age 5)
Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran, the Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao of 1980, did several things today's two most popular fighters haven't:
1) Fought twice within a 5 month period (3x total) and
2) participated in what would be one of the more iconic TV commercials of the 1980s in the U.S.
Leonard vs Duran
- A rivalry was brewing in 1980 between former undisputed lightweight champion Roberto Duran, already a fight legend at 29, and rising sensation and 1976 Olympics darling, Sugar Ray Leonard - the welterweight champion.
- Duran's supporters, in the U.S and especially overseas, viewed Leonard as a creation of the media and a pretty boy who was more style than substance.
- "Let him fight me and he won't be so pretty," said Duran.
- In March 1980, it was announced Leonard would face Duran in June. The Superfight was dubbed 'The Brawl in Montreal.'
- To add fuel to Duran's rage, his purse would be 20 percent of Leonard's despite his status as an all-time great and his amazing record of 71-1, 55 KOs record. Leonard, 24, was 27-0.
- "I hate him," Duran said. "I'm going to beat the living s*** out of him."
- Just prior or soon after Leonard vs Duran was announced, 7-UP decided to feature the rivals in a TV commercial. Of course, its star was Leonard.
- For the commercial, Leonard was believed to have earned $1 Million USD; Even Ray Jr pocketed $250.
- According to Ray, prior to shooting, he warned Duran and 7-UP executives he'd walk out if Roberto disrespected him while Ray Jr was present. To the surprise of Ray, and according to the former Olympic gold medalist, Duran was a gentleman during the shoot.
- The ad helped propel Leonard's popularity to new levels.