Christian Bale won an Oscar last night for his portrayal in "The Fighter" of Dicky Eklund, the former New England welterweight champion who got hooked on crack, went to prison then resurrected himself as a trainer, most notably for his brother Micky Ward. During his acceptance speech, Bale ordered viewers to go to Dicky Eklund's website. I obeyed. On it, I found some footage of Eklund's most famous fight — against Sugar Ray Leonard in 1978 at Boston's Hynes Auditorium.
When Eklund met Sugar Ray, he was in his prime: a rangy, rubbery fighter and a handful for anyone in his weight class. It was Leonard's thirteenth fight as a young pro and you can already see the lethal, elegant style he'd later be famous for as a world champion. He beat Eklund decisively, knocking him down three times. But Eklund also scored a knockdown, a controversial one that looked more like a judo sweep.
The video, with Don Dunphy and Larry Merchant commentating, has been cherrypicked to show some of Eklund's best moments but remains, as Dunphy puts is, "a classic example of the manly art of self defense." Check out Eklund's tube socks, his right lead and his sweet Ali shuffle (3:07).
And here's some bonus footage of the original item shuffling on British TV:
MORE: If you'd like to watch "High on Crack Street," the documentary made about the plight of Eklund and other addicts in Lowell, Mass., you can do so at snagfilms.