Sugar Ray Leonard's greatest win as a boxer came in the 1976 Olympics

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Sugar Ray Leonard
    Sugar Ray Leonard
    American boxer

Heading into the light welterweight gold-medal bout in the 1976 Olympics, Cuba's Andres Aldama and his vicious left-handed hook had been a savage wrecking ball knocking down everything in his path. Four fights, four stoppages before a second round ever came to an end. That included a first-round, one-punch knockout in the semifinals of Bulgaria's Vladimir Kolev, who had to be carried off on a stretcher.

So it was no wonder Howard Cossell expressed so much trepidation as Sugar Ray Leonard walked to the ring to face the theretofore impenetrable Aldama.

[Related: Vote for your most memorable Summer Olympic moments]

"If Leonard can escape [the left hand] … Leonard can win a gold medal," Cossell told his ABC audience. "I don't know if he can."

Not only did Leonard escape the left hand by incorporating a brilliant tactical strategy that called for almost constant clockwise movement, but he unleashed a relentless punishment of his own that by the end of the third and final round left Aldama on wobbly legs.

Leonard won the fight 5-0, just as he had his previous five bouts, and the world was introduced to its next great fighter. For anyone who could handle Aldama with the ease that Leonard did was destined for greatness.

Other Summer Olympics Memorable Moments on Yahoo! Sports:
Usain Bolt's wow moment
Raised fists
The Munich massacre