FightSaga

Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran in iconic 7-Up commercial (Video)

By Leroy Cleveland - July 13, 2022

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

Actors:
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 Terence Crawford and Errol Spence of 1980, did several things today’s two most popular fighters haven’t:

1) Fought each other 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 hype than fight.

“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 at the time.

“I hate him,” Duran said. “I’m going to beat the living s*** out of him.”

Just prior to 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; And even Ray Jr is believed to have pocketed $250.

According to Ray, prior to the shooting, he warned Duran and 7-UP executives he’d walk out if Roberto acted inappropriately 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 Crawford and Spence together in the same commercial?

Tags: commercials, roberto duran, sugar ray leonard