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.
"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.