Sugar Ray Leonard and World Boxing Council light heavyweight champion Don Lalonde are expected to announce Thursday they will fight for Lalonde's title and the WBC's new 168-pound super middleweight title.
Both camps had earlier said negotiations were centering on a bout as early as November."Unless there are some changes, an announcement of a fight is expected," Lalonde's manager, Dave Wolf, said Tuesday night. Wolf would not release any details of the bout.
Leonard's attorney, Mike Trainer, remained in Los Angeles Tuesday in final stages of contract negotiations with Norm Kaplan, Lalonde's attorney, Trainer's office said.
Leonard, 32, a natural welterweight who last fought in April 1987 when he ended a three-year retirement and stunned Marvelous Marvin Hagler for the undisputed middleweight title, would be coming out of retirement a third time.
Leonard, who has held the world welterweight, junior middleweight and middleweight crowns, would simultaneously capture his fourth and fifth titles if he defeats Lalonde, a hard-hitting 28-year-old Canadian who is 31-2 with 26 knockouts.
Lalonde also will risk his World Boxing Council light heavyweight title (175 pounds) as part of the agreement to fight for the WBC's newly formed 168-pound super middleweight division, Wolf said last month.
"I've considered fighting a number of people from welterweights to lightheavy," Leonard said this week in an interview with a Washington television station. "As to say why I want to do it, because I still can and I want to. I'm in a situation now to challenge the light heavyweight champion of the world, which I never thought I could do, because I thought I was too small."
On July 19, the WBC executive committee in Mexico City approved a possible fight between Leonard and Lalonde for the new weight class. Boxing's other two sanctioning bodies, the World Boxing Association and the International Boxing Federation, already have super middleweight divisions.
Leonard, 34-1, of Potomac, Md., who won a gold medal for the United States in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, has fought only twice since he initially retired from boxing in November 1982 as undisputed world welterweight (147-pound) and junior middleweight (154-pound) champion.
His first retirement came after undergoing surgery for a detached retina in his left eye. Leonard fought in May 1984, but immediately retired again after an uninspired victory over unheralded Kevin Howard. He came out of retirement to fight Hagler, then retired again.
Lalonde, from Winnipeg, Manitoba, captured the WBC light heavyweight crown last November and has defended it once.
The only boxer to gain titles in four weight classes is Thomas Hearns.