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Nothing but Lumps
William Nack
October 31, 1988
For Donny Lalonde, who will meet Sugar Ray Leonard in Las Vegas on Nov. 7, life has been anything but sweet
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October 31, 1988

Nothing But Lumps

For Donny Lalonde, who will meet Sugar Ray Leonard in Las Vegas on Nov. 7, life has been anything but sweet

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Before that fight, all of Lalonde's old doubts about his worth came back to haunt him. "It was a strange time for me," he says. "I had a hard time deciding if I was worthy of being world champion. This really dug up a lot of old stuff. Again I thought I was something, but then again, no. I'm not. Am I for real? Do I want this? It was a horrible personal dilemma." Wolf shored up Lalonde's psyche by telling him, "You deserve it. That's why you're here. You're going to destroy this guy!"

Lalonde had other incentives going into that fight. On the eve of it, his real father, Raymond, showed up to watch his son—they hadn't seen much of each other over the years—and Donny overheard Raymond say to a spectator, "This is incredible. Look at what this kid has accomplished!" Lalonde said to Wolf. "All my life, that's what I've wanted to hear my father say."

That was one old ghost laid to rest. Another year passed before he sat down to lunch with his stepfather in Canada. "I confronted him on the abuse." Lalonde says. "I asked him, 'What happened? What did I do?' There were a lot of tears shed by both of us. He explained how he was an abused child. He said he feels remorse every day. I feel sorry for him. We need programs for the abusers, too."

Having come to terms with the men who wounded him, perhaps irreparably, Lalonde has set his mind to dealing with Leonard. He has been working hard on developing his left, which he intends to stick in Leonard's face, and claims it has improved considerably over the months. "He'll never have a great left hand, but it's not completely useless, as the papers say." says Clancy. "I think Lalonde has a shot." A puncher's shot. "The question is how Ray will respond if he's hit hard a couple of times," says Clancy.

"I want to fight Ray," Lalonde says. "I want to stay within range. I'll cut off the ring, but I'm not going to follow him around like a puppet on a string, as Marvin Hagler did. Ray's going to have to fight the fight of his life. Only one of us is going to be on his feet at the end, and I don't think he's big enough to knock me off mine. I'm fighting a small old man—a welterweight. It will be too fast-paced a fight for him. I'll wear him down."

Or something like that. No matter which way it goes, remember, this fight is really just fun and games for Lalonde. The real one comes later, and it's for the kids.

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