RingTV.com: What are your thoughts on Pacquiao’s last fight with Marquez and why he had such a difficult time in a fight you picked him to win?
Sugar Ray Leonard: Well, you know what? I fought thought Tommy twice, and he knew me and I knew him, although I wasn’t in the right frame of mind because we all thought Tommy was shot the second fight, right? Although I never said that.
But getting back to Pacquiao and Marquez. Marquez, I thought, was going to get wiped clean by Pacquiao because, you know, I looked at Marquez being 38 years old. Marquez had been through a lot of wars. But man, did he put on a fight.
He revealed some things in Pacquiao that we don’t normally see. The fact is that Pacquiao is human, and he can be hit, and he was being hit. The fact that Marquez doesn’t have the punch like Mayweather kind of takes some magic from the situation.
So now, if that fight between Pacquiao and Mayweather does take place, you know, you have to lean toward Mayweather. I mean, it doesn’t take much away from it. But I think that most people are leaning more toward Mayweather winning that fight now.
RingTV.com: Do you agree?
SRL: Well, I think that you just have to. If you look at everything on paper and you look at everything on video, and you look at the three previous fights of bothf ighters, who was more dominant? They were both dominant except for Pacquiao against Marquez.
RingTV.com: What are your thoughts on the constant e-mails I receive asking my opininon as to how Pacquiao and Mayweather would do against guys like yourself, Benitez, Hearns, Duran or Hagler?
SRL: With me or with the other guys?
RingTV.com: How about Mayweather and Pacquiao with each of those guys?
SRL: [Laughs.] Okay, let’s first take, for example…let’s say it’s Tommy Hearns. How could a Pacquiao deal with a Tommy Hearns? I don’t think that he’s ever fought anybody who is 6-foot-2.
I don’t think that he’s ever faced someone with that kind of height and with that power and with that type of speed. With that heart.
So I think that yoou’ve got to lean toward Tommy without question, I mean, and that’s what I would say with both Pacquiao and Maywether.
RingTV.com: Specifically, what about Mayweather against Hearns?
SRL: [Laughs.] Floyd and Tommy? I would go for Tommy. You see, Tommy was a monster. He really was a monster.
RingTV.com: So when you’re talking about Hearns against Mayweather or Pacquiao, are you saying that he would beat them like he did with the second-round knockout of Duran, or are you saying that he would win by a decisionn like he did with Benitez?
SRL: More like a Benitez win.
RingTV.com: So you think that Hearns wins by a decision against both of them?
SRL: [Sighs.] I think Tommy Hearns knocks both of those guys out.
RingTV.com: What about you against Mayweather and Pacquiao?
SRL: I think I knock them out too.
RingTV.com: Why do you ultimately believe that?
SRL: Listen, man, its the artillery that we had and the weapons that we had. Tommy and I could box and we could punch and we did that with both hands.
We could set you up and we could break you down. If I hurt you, you’re out. I mean you’re gone. You are gone.
RingTV.com: Where you and Hearns fought in your prime, why do you feel that that type of mentality is less prevalent today?
SRL: Because fighters are asking how much before they say who? They’re asking. They’re like, “I’m not going to fight Joe Schmo for $5 million. Give me $8 million, or, $10 million.” That’s why these fights are not happening.
RingTV.com: From the fight between yourself and Hearns, what elements of your mutual intensity and force of will and skill-level are absent today?
SRL: You know, you don’t see it because most of the fights that we witness, that fighter or that champion doesn’t have to go there. He doesn’t have to reach down as deep. Some of the fights are tough. Mayweather got hurt against Shane Mosley, and he was hurt.
But he wasn’t hurt for long because all of a sudden, Mosley just died out. I don’t know what the hell happened. He just died. Even with Pacquiao, he got hurt by a body shot against Antonio Margarito, but then, Margarito is nowhere near the level of Many Pacquiao.