Morton was furious. "That's why I always resent it when someone is in the room when we are preparing for a fight, because we're working on their timetable," he said later. "As it was, the delay could have cost us the fight. When Ray warmed up the first time his timing was perfect. Then they changed the start and his timing was off. We tried to warm up again, but then they said they were ready and we had to quit."
"I feel cold," Leonard informed his concerned cornermen, Morton and Angelo Dundee. "Run," was the consensus order they gave him. "Run until you feel ready."
With Leonard circling at a quick pace, Finch, who was equally annoyed by the delay, went right after him. When Finch triggers a punch it is more like a stiff push, jarring but not damaging. Midway through the round the challenger caught Leonard in flight with a solid right to the body. The champion's bored expression never changed. "I didn't feel like I was in a fight," Leonard marveled afterward. "The whole atmosphere was real slow, low-key like."
More from habit than intent, Leonard hit Finch with a good overhand right near the end of the round. As he rested between rounds, he was told to step up the pace. Morton and Dundee didn't tell him he was behind on points; Finch had won the first round on all three cards.
After a slow first minute in the second round, Leonard lured Finch into the trenches. He wanted him inside, where his short snapping punches are devastating. He slowed his dance, and Finch, responding to the bait, stepped in and thrust a right to the champion's head. It was a terrible mistake.
"He didn't hurt me," Leonard said, "but he woke me up. I said, 'Wow, this is for real.' It was like the first Duran fight, the same atmosphere. Then Duran hit me, and I said. 'Hey, I better fight. This guy is for real.' "
The right hand drove Leonard into a neutral corner, and there he stayed and fought. Moving in, Finch was met by a volley to the body. Looking ponderous as he took Leonard's lightning strikes, Finch tried to 20 to the head. And Leonard hit him with a vicious hook to the body, almost sawing him in half.
As Finch bent from the blow, Leonard fired two more hooks, the second a blast to the head that sent the challenger reeling. A hard right to the head dropped him on his back.
"Oh, no," Sugar Ray thought. He remembered the dream and the words of his brother. "It was a strange feeling," he said later. Instead of going to a neutral corner, he walked forward, staring down at Finch, who was moving.
Leonard wanted him to stay down. "I played a mind game," Sugar Ray said afterward. "I wanted to give him the incentive not to get up. So I went over to my own corner. It didn't work. He had come to fight."