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Wednesday, 11 February 2015 04:00

Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran in iconic TV ad (Video)

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Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran in 7-UP ad

Type: TV Commercial

Brand: 7-UP

Aired: U.S.A. (circa 1980-82)

Debut: 1980

Sugar Ray Leonard
WBC Weltwrweight Champion 

Roberto Duran
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.
Can you imagine Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao together in the same commercial?